Transcribers note: The articles on the Tompkyns/Tonkin murder, change the spelling of names, without notice, for the first two days, Tonkin was spelt Tompkyns in the Post-Dispatch and 1 day in the Globe-Democrat, and then changed to Tonkin with no explanation, several other names are treated the same way. If at any point I have put a word description, or comment, it will be in these sort of parentheses { }. All spellings of words are how they were in the paper. Karen King -


St. Louis Post-Dispatch December 23, 1881 page 1



A New Witness in the Tonkin Murder Case Discovered.

Continually during the progress of the inquest in the Tonkin murder references have been made to the couple on the steps of Art Hall. Molly Maloney was arrested simply because she was believed to be the girl who was sitting there. All that could be learned from this couple would be the substantiation or refutation of Kittie’s story of meeting the deceased in front of the Art Hall. A reporter learned to-day that the couple there at the time of Kittie’s first visit to the Art Hall were Tom Masterson and Nellie Henley, the former a laborer at the pottery on Eighteenth and Clark avenue, and the latter a chambermaid at the Belvidere Flats. Both of these parties were interrogated, but the established conclusively that they left the Art Hall before half past nine Sunday evening. Their own story is corroborated by that of others knowing the hour of their return home. Neither of them met any suspicious looking persons but the girl says she saw a man and two girls standing talking in front of the Art Hall as they were leaving. The three were shabbily dressed, one of the girls having on a red hood and shawl and being full-faced and dark looking. The others she could not see plainly. This harmonizes all the stories for if Kittie had a shawl as well as a red hood she is the woman Mr. Turner saw. The other woman Kittie says seemed to have on an ulster or a circular, but she could not see the other well. She is positive about the shawl and the red hood, saying she looked at them intently.





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The Coroner’s Jury Fails to Answer the Conundrum.


Closing of the Ineffectual Inquest To-Day.


Camper and Scharlow Discharged – Kittie Mulcahy Held for Twenty-Four Hours.


The Tonkin murder case is still in the valley of the shadow. All of the enthusiasm evoked by the arrest of the woman Kittie Mulcahy and the boy Scharlow has about burned itself out and justice is still demanding, who killed Tonkin? with little chance of a certain reply. The case as it stands this morning is even more perplexing than it was yesterday, practically all of the evidence is in, and so far nothing very definite has been proven beyond the fact that Tonkin is dead. No court would hold a prisoner on the testimony elicited against Mulcahy and Scharlow. There is nothing against them but suspicion, and not a very well founded suspicion at its best. To review the case it will be seen that Mr. Turner swears positively that it was the woman who fired the shot, the boy Marx swears just as positively that it was Scharlow who did the shooting. Sharlow, his family, Kittie Mulcahy and Tom Camper all swear to a pretty conclusive alibi for that young man; on the other hand Byarely, the restaurant man, his waiter and Bacigaiupo all locate the ten dollar exchange incident, at which Scharlow was confessedly present, as occurring after midnight, when Scharlow was abed and asleep in the wilds of Kerry Patch, two miles away. Again, it was a physical impossibility for Tonkin to have got from the south side of Lucas place into the church yard and to have remained there five minutes, as Mr. Turner’s evidence says he did, between the times Kittie Mulcahy swore she saw him last and when she heard the shot fired. But then the girl may have been mistaken as to the interval of time. Her identification of the dead man is my no means perfect, and her explanation of the fur cap incident, which she claims Tonkin wanted to give her is rather thin. But, on the other hand, the girl is a coarse, ignorant person, with hardly enough int4eligence to construct as ingenious a story as she tells, simply by induction. That she has contradicted herself several times must be admitted, but she was drunk most of the time Sunday, and with the utmost honesty of intention she might make discrepancies in her story. The girl has only one principle and that is love for Billy, and she would lie with absolutely no hesitation to save him. This may have affected her enough to attempt to bolster up his case with lies, in the hope of bettering it. As concerned, any one who hears her talk or looks at her impudent face would scarcely believe that she would shoot a man for as simple a manner as catching her in the commission of a misdemeanor. She is very passionate, excitable and abusive, and would not hesitate to shoot anybody under proper provocation, but Tonkin’s spying would not be a very strong provocation with her. The questions to be solved even under the present police theory of the case are who were the woman and the man on the steps of Art Hall, and who was the man who certainly came home with Kittie Mulcahy. It is possible that Kittie is telling the truth, and that Tonkin surprised another couple in the church-yard, one of whom was a woman having enough character to save to take the spy’s life to save it.


The Inquest.

The inquest began this morning at 10:15, with little incident worthy of note. Scharlow was brought in handcuffed, and Kittie and Tom Camper also were guided in and ranged in seats by the window, a policeman sitting between Scharlow and the girl. The chief witnesses to be examined were Buckley, Lou Allen and Mrs. Tonkin.


was first put on the stand. He testified that he had met Scharlow and the balance of the party on Lucas place after dark, and had asked Scharlow for a chew of tobacco. Scharlow had asked him who was that on the steps of the Art Hall, and he had replied that it was Maloney. He had said this without knowing it was Maloney; the name occurred to him because he had heard Scharlow’s name coupled with Maloney’s. This was all he knew about the case.


was the next witness sworn. He testified that he kept a saloon on the northeast corner of Sixteenth and Olive streets. About midnight on Sunday he was standing at the cigar stand in the front part of the saloon, when his attention was attracted by a man and a woman. They were apparently shabbily dressed and he thought they came down Sixteenth street from the north, and then they turned the corner and went down Olive street. The man was on the outside, and he thought they had locked arms. The woman wore a shawl, which he could not describe, over her shoulder. She wore what appeared a red dress. A few moments later he heard a call rape, and this brought back to his mind the couple, who were apparently fleeing or were being pursued. The man accompanying the woman he could not describe, but the woman was a short, chunky person with a round face. He could not identify the prisoner, Kitty Mulcahy, as that woman.


This notorious woman being almost on her death-bed with asthma, she was unable to be present at the Coroner’s office, and accordingly Mahomet {Mohammed} went to the mountain. Coroner Frank, Detective Eggs, Kittie Mulcahy and a POST-DISPATCH reporter went down to the woman’s house and ranged themselves around the woman’s bed. She seemed very weak, and Kittie sniffed at her several times as she seated herself. "Kittie has been living in my house about a week," she said. "On last Sunday afternoon at about 4 o’clock she left the house, and returned between 12 and 1 o’clock that night. Belle, one of the girls, let her in. Kittie’s room is just back of mine. I opened her door and saw a nice-looking gentleman sitting there, a drummer apparently. Kittie came into my room and I asked her who the gentleman was. She said it was one she had picked up just a little way from the house. He left in about an hour. On last Tuesday evening I was reading the paper aloud in Kittie’s presence. When I came to the point in the article where the couple were being watched from behind an old wagon, Kittie said, "Why, that was me and Billy! But I thought it was a house the fellow was behind. We separated at the corner of that fence because we were being watched, and he went east and I went to Washington avenue." When I came to the fur cap she said; "I’ll bet that’s the fur cap that another man offered me." Kittie then said that while walking east on Washington avenue a little way, a man caught up with her and cried; "Hello, little one! which way?"

He walked with her some distance and then she check him, and then another stepped up and walked with her. Just about the time she heard a shot which frightened her and she ran away from the gentleman and after going some distance she met her Billy."

"You’re a G-d d--n liar," said the prisoner, in a fit of uncontrollable excitement.

"I told you nothing of the kind. I never met Billy again that night, and I never said I did."

"I don’t expect to live more than a month," said Lou Allen faintly, "and I wouldn’t lie on my deathbed. She said the went together to Fred. Lark’s where they separated, Billy going home and she coming home."

The prisoner again interrupted violently saying she made no such statement and garnishing the assertion with some very recherche curses. "She said," continued Lou Allen paying no attention to her "She said she’d bet her Billy would get into trouble about this, and that she would go up and tell her Billy to skip the town."

"Yes," said Kittie, breaking in, "I did say that, but it was a d--m lie. I didn’t want to tell him anything of the kind. You keep us girls so close to the house that we have to tell forty different lies to get out on the street. You never will let us out, you old bitch, and you know it, unless we tell you we are going to see some man that we can get money from."

"She went out," continued Lou, "but came back and said she had not found him, but had told his brother that she wanted to see him on a very particular business. She also said that if she got into trouble about this she could put it off on to somebody else. The man who was in Kittie’s room I cannot describe."

"Anything else?" asked the Coroner.

"Well, she said that when Billy saw the man who was watching them he said, ‘That is the last watching that fellow will do.’ "

"That’s a G-d d--n lie!" screamed Kittie, and you know it’s a lie, you rotten b---h. I never told you anything of the kind, and Billy never said anything of the kind."

"Well," said Lou, "lying on my death bed, I will not swear that you did. I can’t be sure of it now. I can’t remember what it was you said." With this testimony of the landlady closed, and the procession formed to march back to the Coroner’s quarters. Everybody on the street paused for a second look at Kittie, who cheeked the passers-by unmercifully. At the office the jury reassembled. The post-mortem and Dr. Dean’s testimony was read to them and they went into secret session to consider their verdict.

After long consultation the jury returned the following.


The deceased, Alfred Tonkin, came to his death at about 12:30 a.m. December 20, 1881, at the City Hospital, from the effects of internal hemorrage caused by a penetrating gun-shot wound in the abdomen, produced by a bullet fired from a weapon in the hand or hands of some person unknown to this jury at about 11:45 p.m. December 18, 1881, at the northwest corner of Seventeenth street and Lucas Place.


Tom Camper was discharged as soon as the verdict was rendered. Billy Scharlow was discharged as far as the murder was concerned, but his bond-man in the assault to kill case against him gave him up this morning, and he was accordingly jailed to await trial for his assault on Dunn in the Olive Street Park on August 13 last.

Kittie Mulcahy will be held for twenty-four hours longer to await possible developments. This determination when communicated to her produced the usual flood of profanity. And so the Coroner’s jury has done it’s work, leaving the case, if possible, in a worse state of haze and uncertainty than it found it. The question still is, "Who shot Tonkin?"





(editorial section)

Up to this time the mystery of the Sunday night church-yard crime has not been unraveled. The investigation has revealed a lot of nastiness and low life on the streets after night, but the person who killed TONKIN is still in the background. The parties accused have been turned loose.


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FRED TONKIN – Will be buried from 1733 Orange street. All friends invited to attend. Funeral will take place at two o’clock to-morrow.

{another funeral notice in the next day, he wasn’t buried until December 25, 1881}