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 Daily Globe – Democrat December 24, 1881 page 6



The Secret of Lucas Place Tragedy Out, After Much Persuasion.


An Unknown Man Supplies the Weapon – The Woman Levels and Pulls the Trigger – Scharlot and Campher Relieved of Suspicion – The Description of the Supposed Accomplice.


The secret of the Lucas place tragedy is out at last. The Coroner worried with the problem until he had exhausted all the evidence, and then his astute jurors brought in a verdict that the pistol had been fired by some one unknown. Campher was turned loose and Scharlot would have been but for the old charge of cutting a boy last summer. In the indefinite hope that something might turn up the police decided to retain Kitty in custody another day. Nothing seemingly stood between her and ultimate freedom. Perhaps it was a happy thought on the part of the detectives to take her out to the church and make her go over on the scene the story she had told so often. Then it was, while pointing out positions and rehearsing the events of Sunday night, that she began to weaken. The recollection was too much for her to bravado. She tried one subterfuge and then another. She was taken back to the Four Courts, but the impression had been made and she could not shake it off. Persistent pressing brought out one admission and then another. She had fired the shot which killed Tonkin, having received the pistol from the hand of a man who was with her and whom she did not know. This was the man, she said, who accompanied her to the house of Lou Allen. He told her he was a drummer, and a tolerably accurate description is furnished of his appearance and clothing. The identity of this man is all that remains to be found out.


The Conclusion of the Inquest.

During yesterday the testimony of but three witnesses was heard. These were John Buckley, a red-haired man, M.E. Baccigalupo and Lou Allen. The testimony of the first two was taken at the Four Courts, but the last named being sick, the Coroner had to go down to her house to hear her statement, and, as it concerned the girl Kate Mulcahy, she was taken along and given the privilege of listening to it.

The substance of Buckley’s statement was that he met Billy Scharlot out on Lucas place, and had asked him for and obtained a chew of tobacco. Scharlot had asked him who was that on the steps of the Art Hall, and he had replied that it was Maloney; the name occurred to him because he had heard Scharlot’s name coupled with Maloney’s. This was after dark. The witness knew nothing of the homicide.

Baccigalupo said in his statement to the jury that he kept a saloon at the northeast corner of Sixteenth and Olive streets; that about midnight on Sunday he was standing at the cigar-stand in front of his saloon, when his attention was attracted to a man and a woman. The man was on the outside, and he was under the impression that they walked arm in arm. The woman was short and chunky, with a fat, round face, and wore a shawl of some kind over her shoulders. He could not identify the prisoner as the woman. Soon after the party passed him he heard a call rap, which reminded him that they were walking very fast and suggested the idea that they were fleeing from pursuit.


The testimony of Lou Allen was taken by the Coroner in the presence of a couple of reporters, Detective Eggs and Kitty Mulcahy, who appeared as defendant. Although the statements of the woman also concerned Scharlot, the latter was not present. The witness is suffering from asthma and seems now to be within a few weeks of the grave. She began by saying that the girl Kitty had been living at her house about a month. "Sunday afternoon, at about 4 o’clock, she left the house in company with Billy. She wore a red dress, red hood and black dolman cloak, and returned between 12 and 1 o’clock that night. Belle, one of the girls, let her in. Kitty’s room is just back of mine. I opened her door and saw a nice-looking gentleman sitting there, a drummer apparently. Kitty 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 a paper aloud in Kitty’s presence. When I came to the point in the article where the couple were being watched from behind an old wagon, Kitty said, ‘Why, that was me and Billy! But I thought it was a house the fellow was behind. We separated at the corner of the 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 said, ‘Hello, little one! which way?’ He walked with her some little distance and then she shook him, and then another stepped up and walked with her. Just about this time


which frightened her, and she ran away from the gentleman, and after some distance she met her Billy."

"You are a --- ---- liar!" said the girl, shaking with range and excitement; "I told you nothing of the kind, and you know it. I never said I met Billy again that night."

"I don’t expect to live more than a month, and I would not lie on my deathbed," said the witness. "She said they met again and went to Fred Lark’s saloon, where they separated, she coming home and Billy going to his house."

The defendant denied this statement, and it required the constant attention of the officers to keep her quiet until the witness could speak.

Lou Allen tried to pay no attention to her, and proceeded with the next statement, as follows, which the Coroner hastily jotted down: "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."

To this Kitty replied, "Yes, I did say that, but it was a d--- lie; I did not want to tell him anything of the kind. You keep us girls so close that we have to tell forty different lies to get out. You never will let us out unless we tell you that we are going to get money from some man on the outside."

"She went out," the witness continued, "but came back and said she had not found him, but had told his brother that she wanted to see him on 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 Kitty’s room I can not describe. Kitty 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 lie and you know its a lie. Billy never said anything of the kind," the prisoner again put in.

The witness then took this statement back saying that, lying upon her death bed she would not swear that the girl had said it.

This ended the testimony, and the party returned to the Four Courts. The jury re-assembled, and the Coroner submitted his testimony and the post-mortem examination.


After a few moments deliberation the jury returned the following verdict: 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 hemorrhage 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 about 11:45 p.m., December 18, 1881, at the northwest corner of Seventeenth street and Lucas place.

Thomas Campher was discharged as soon as the verdict was rendered. Scharlot was released upon this charge, but his bondsman surrendered him upon the charge of stabbing a man named Dunn in Missouri Park in August last.

It was agreed to hold Kitty Mulcahy for twenty-four hours longer, the detectives hoping in the meantime to discover by examining her who the real murderer was. Against this additional confinement Kitty protested in the most violent and profane language.

The Girl’s Confession.

Early yesterday morning it was noticed that a decided change was coming over Kitty Mulcahy. Her behavior became more and more suspicious. One moment she would be making the most desperate attempt to be gay, and the next a dark frown would cross her countenance, and she seemed plunged in the darkest melancholy. She was quite hysterical. The statement of Lou Allen, together with the private talk with the detectives, made an evident impression upon her. It was noticed that every time she told the story she would place herself a little closer to the place of the shooting. Sometimes she would say she was one place and sometimes another. Just after the inquest Detective Watkins and Officer Donegan, to whom she made some conflicting statements about the locality, went with her


to get her to point out the places where they were all standing, so far as she knew, when the shooting took place.

While Watkins and Donnegan were walking out in that direction with the girl, and while she was constantly pressed to tell who did the shooting, she said: "I’ll tell you what to do. Get that red-haired fellow; he’s the man that fired the shot."

Arriving at the church, Watkins and Donnegan took her to the entrance of the church and ascended the steps. As she stood there looking about her, she said to Watkins; "If you will talk to me nice, I will tell you all about it." Then she said that the red-headed man was standing east of her and her escort; they were on the steps when the man Tonkin approached, and the red-headed man had fired the shot. She and her escort then ran around the corner in the direction of Washington avenue. In turning the corner she ran against the red-headed man, who gave his pistol to her escort. This man then went down Lucas place to the park, and she and her escort went around by Washington avenue, through Robbin’s lane to St. Charles street and back to the park, where they met this man and went to the restaurant. She clung to the statement that Scharlot and Campher were not there.

On the way back to the Four Courts Watkins asked whether she would tell the red-headed man to his face that he was the man who had killed Tonkin, and she said she would. She was taken into the Calaboose, and


the red-headed man referred to, was brought into her presence.

"Is this the man who fired the shot?" she was asked.

"Yes, that’s him!" she said.

It was noticed that while her voice said yes, her eyes seemed to say no. Detectives Eggs and Watkins were present.

Buckley looked at her and smiled.

"Do you say I killed a man?" he asked.

"Yes, you; you killed a man," she said.

"I did nothing of the kind."

Buckley was locked up for the time being, and the two officers came back and talked to the girl. Eggs said to her: "There’s no use saying that anybody else did that. You killed that man. He looked straight in her eyes."

She said nothing, but looked at him as if he had pronounced a judgement from which there was no appeal.

Watkins said: "Kitty knows who killed him. Eggs, you go away and she will tell me all about it; won’t you Kitty?"

The girl’s eyes began to fill with tears. Watkins saw that she was weakening, and told Eggs to go away and give him a chance to talk to her alone. "You can tell me about this if you want to Kitty. If you don’t, I will find it out, anyhow. You know who killed that man, and I know you do."

Kitty dried her eyes, and said: "Yes, I’ll tell you who did it," and then, as if hesitation to take the step, kept silent.

"Did Billy do it?" the officer asked.

"No," was the quick reply, "I did it."

"You did it?" echoed the officer, afraid the remark was made out of the spirit of bravado.

"Yes, I did it."

"Who was with you?"

"The strange man with the soft hat."

"His name?"

"I don’t know his name."

Again the tears filled her eyes, and she said, "I guess they’ll send me up for a long time, won’t they?"

"I don’t know – I can’t say," the officer replied.

When Sergeant Watkins came up-stairs, he said, "We have got the murderer at last."

"Who is it?" the reporter asked.

"The woman, Kitty. She killed him. She said so," was the response.

"Do you think she is telling the truth?" the reporter asked.

"Yes," was the response, "I believe she is."

Later in the evening the officer consented to bring her up into his private office, where she could be seen by the reporters. When she came up it was evident that a change had taken place. She hung her head, as though afraid to catch the eye of any about her.

She took a chair with her back against the wall, while the reporters formed a semi-circle about her.

She began to amuse herself with a handkerchief and a pin. The handkerchief had evidently been in use several days, but she did not seem to think about the untidiness it suggested. Taking one corner of it between the thumb and finger of the left hand she continued to stick the pin through the cloth with the right, occasionally drawing it out and beginning anew, as if engaged in hemming a garment.

Watkins said, "Kitty, these gentlemen are members of the press. They want you to tell them what you know about the shooting."

The girl dropped the handkerchief in her lap and glanced quickly out of the corners of her eyes at her audience. Then she picked up the handkerchief again, measured one side of it on her knee and waited in silence as if to be asked something that she might answer.

"Kitty," said the GLOBE – DEMOCRAT man, "the officer here says you told him who killed that man. We want you to tell us something about it, too."

"What I told him is true," said Kitty, resuming her imaginary work as if that ended the story.

"Did you tell him you fired the shot?"


"Tell us about it. Where did you get the pistol?"

"The man that was with me on the church steps. He gave me the pistol and told me to shoot him, and I shot him and ran." Kitty resumed her sewing and worked rapidly, as if she were closing up an ugly rent in a useful garment.

"Where was he (Tonkin) when you shot him?"

"He was inside the yard, coming toward me."

"And you were on the steps?"
"Where was the man who gave you the pistol?"
"When I shot?"

"Yes," said the reporter.

"He was running away."

"Then he did not see the shot fired?"
"No. When he gave me the pistol he ran away, and did not look back."

"What did you do when you saw him run and leave you?"
"Stood up and shot Tonkin, and ran and caught up with the man and walked down town with him."

"What did you do with the pistol?"


she repeated, looking up absently from her sewing.

"Yes, the pistol."

"Oh, I threw it at the man after I shot him." Her fingers twitched nervously as she made a gesture, woman-like to indicate how she threw it.

"Did you hit him with it?"

"I don’t know; I was too scared to look back," she said with a smile.

"Did you know you had killed him?" the reporter asked.

"I never thought anything about it."

"Did you intend to kill him?" the reporter asked.

She looked up for the first time, with an air of confidence, and said, "I thought I’d shoot him in the arm."

"What made you shoot him?"

"Because he came there bothering me."

"Go to work and tell us about it. Who was this man?"

"The man shot was the man that offered me the sealskin cap and the $2."

"Where did he make this proposition?"

"Down by the Art Gallery."

"Were you there alone?"


"What did he say to you?"

"He said, ‘Hello, good evening,’ and something else; I don’t remember it all now. When he told me he would give me the cap and the money, I told him to go to the devil, I did not want his trash."

"What did he say?"
"He cursed at me."

"Where did you go, then?"

"I walked back down towards the church."

"Where did you meet the other man that gave you the pistol?"

"He came up behind me after I left the man with the fur cap. He said, ‘good evening’ too, and at first I was scared, because I thought it was the same man again, but when I saw it was not, I said, ‘good evening’ too.

"What else did he say?"

"He asked me if I was lonesome, and I said, ‘No,’ he asked if he might have the pleasure of seeing me home, or something like that, and I said, ‘Yes,’ when we got up near the church he said, ‘Let’s sit down on the steps,’ and I said, ‘Well.’"

"While you were sitting there did the other man come up?"

The girl shuddered as if the question had called up the ghost of the dead man. She sewed fast, as she said, "Yes."

"What did he say then?"
"Said, ‘Now I’ve got you,’ and walked toward me."

"Did you think he meant to hurt you?"

"I don’t know, I was afraid. I did not like his looks."

"Did he make any motion toward you?"

"He had his right hand up over his shoulder."

"How near to you was he before the man gave you the pistol?"

"I don’t know. He kept coming after I got it in my hand."

"Did he see it?"

"I don’t know. He could if he wanted to. I was right before him."

"Do you think he heard the man tell you to shoot him?"

"I don’t know."

"Did he say anything to the man who was with you?"

"Not a word."

"Then why did he tell you to shoot him?"

"You know I had been telling him what the man said to me about not taking the cap, and he said, ‘The ------ ought to have his eye put out.’ When the man came up I said, ‘There he is now,’ and he said, ‘Take this pistol and shoot the -----.’"

"Did Tonkin stop when the man gave you the pistol?"

"No; he came on and said, ‘Now, I’ve got you.’ I raised the pistol to shoot and the man with me turned his back and ran away. I threw the pistol after the man I shot and ran too."

"Did you think you had hit him?"

The girl rolled her eyes about as if the question recalled


then smiled and said: "I didn’t know anything about it, except that I heard him holler."

"What did he say?"

Thh {The} girl shook all over, dropped her handkerchief and seemed tempted to put her hands to her ears, as if to shut out a dreadful sound that lingered there still. She said that he had said something, but she could not tell what he said. It was "Ough, I’m" something; she could not tell what.

"Did the man retreat when he saw you were going to shoot?"

"No," she said.

"What became of the man who was there with you?"

"He came down town with me."

"What was his name?"

"I don’t know."

"Where is he now?"

"Don’t know."

"Does he live here?"

"Don’t know."

"Do you know anything about him?"
"He said he was a drummer; that’s all."

"Describe him."

"He was about the size of this man," she said, pointing to the Chief of Detectives, a man little above the average height. "He had a black mustache, and side whiskers like this gentleman," pointing to Commissioner Moffit, who smiled.

Then she smiled too, and said: "Oh, you need not laugh, it was not you. I don’t say that."

"Did this man go with you to the restaurant?"

"The second time, yes. He paid for the oysters with a $2 bill. The time I paid for oysters with the $10 bill was early in the evening."

"Three other people say not."

"I know, but they are mistaken."

"Did this man go with you to your room."


"How long did he stay?"

"About an hour."

"Did you talk to him about the shooting?"

"I asked him if he thought that would kill the man. He said the ball was big enough to kill an ox."

"Nothing else?"

"He said he was coming back to see me, and that he was going to give me twenty yards of black gros grain silk for a Christmas present."

"What kind of a pistol was that you shot the man with?"

"It was a short fat pistol. He said it was a six-shooter."

"Where is it now?"

"I don’t know. I threw it away."

"Are you sure you are not lying about all this, as you have been about everything else? Did not Billy kill that man?"

"No, I killed him. Billy was not there." (sewing in a careful deliberate way).

"Did the officers offer you any inducements to tell this tale?"

"No, sir."

"Didn’t they tell you they would have you hung if you did not tell this story, or tell the truth, or something about it?"

"No; nobody said anything about hanging," she said, becoming frightened.

"Did anybody tell you you would get off if you confessed, and said the man was threatening or advancing upon you?"

She began to cry. "Nobody said I could get off. About a hundred told me I would ‘go up’ for a long time whether I told it or not. Everybody told me that, and I know it’ll be a long time before I get out of it. I expect they’ll put me in jail right away, and I don’t know when I’ll get out."

This was the story the girl settled on as her truthful statement. It only remains to discover who the companion was. The detectives believe he is a non-resident.


A Search for the Unknown.

Armed and equipped with the description of the misguided stranger, furnished by Kitty, a reporter last night interviewed the various hotel clerks of the city to obtain a clew to the commercial tourist. Each individual clerk harrowed his cranium in agonizing efforts to recollect somebody of the description named, but one and all filled in their statements with so many ifs and buts that their recollection proved comparatively worthless. One clerk knew such a commercial man, but he had been on the road for a month; another clerk instantly recognized the description as belonging to a man who arrived in town yesterday; another clerk said there used to be a traveler of that kind here, but he moved to Chicago last spring. Still another clerk said he remembered a commercial man who wore a diamond pin, but he died in ’74, poor-fellow. Thus the stories ran, to the ecstatic satisfaction of the news-gatherer, whose hopes alternately struggled with failure until the latter won by a neck.

Finally, as a last resort, the reporter insinuatingly approached Mr. J.J. Gilmore, Secretary of the Northwestern Travelers’ Association and a member of the St. Louis Association of Commercial Travelers. Mr. Gilmore was furnished the description and asked if he knew a drummer that would answer the advertisement. He looked at the reporter searchingly for a few moments, and then said the St. Louis Association consisted of over 600 members, and out of that number it might be possible to select half a dozen that would answer the same general description, but if the reporter would divulge his reason for knowing, it was likely Mr. Gilmore could narrow the number down to a finer point. On the contrary, quite the reverse, when Mr. Gilmore discovers the reason.

The published description, however, will place a number of gentlemen under suspicion, and the commercial travelers who fit the picture will begin collecting alibi evidence.