Pearl Bryan

One of the most, maybe *the* most sensational crimes in Northern
Kentucky history is the bizarre saga of Pearl Bryan

Read all about it, here

Pearl Bryan

Pearl Bryan
 Scott Jackson  Alonzo Walling


Pearl Bryan

Scene of Pearl Bryan Murder 


Pearl Bryan

Alexandria Jail where they held Jackson and Walling

“The citizens of Alexandria, to which Jackson and Walling were removed, are
 circulating a petition to Judge Helm asking that the execution be held in their town.”
from the Richmond, Kentucky, Climax, March 10, 1897


Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan

The Jury
Scott Jackson's jury
(Walling had a separate trial)

Jackson and Walling, the hanging.
(more about the picture is here)


Pearl Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan
The Hanging of Pearl Bryan's Killers


Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan
Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan
These five pictures are all from the Mysterious murder of Pearl Bryan, or, The headless horror: a full account of the mysterious murder known as the Fort Thomas tragedy, from beginning to end ; full particulars of all detective and police investigations ; dialogues of the interviews between Mayor Caldwell, Chief Deitsch and the prisoners.  It's from 1896.

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  Pearl Bryan Murders Pearl Bryan Murders Pearl Bryan Murders
  Pearl Bryan Alonzo Walling Scott Jackson
Pearl Bryan Murders Pearl Bryan Murders Pearl Bryan Murders Pearl Bryan Murders
L. D. Poock The Lane on the Locke Farm

Searching the Covington
Reservoir, for her head

Pearl boarding a carriage
    All of these illustrations are
from the Poock book. Poock was
the shoe salesman that identified
the shoe, and it's point of sale.
Pearl Bryan Murders Pearl Bryan Murders
At the Greencastle home The Fort Thomas Mystery as
Solved Through the Shoes,
by L. D. Pock, illustrated
by J. N. Baker

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Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan Pearl Bryan
The House on 9th Wilbur Wood Walling Jackson
The house on 9th Street in Cincinnati, home of Jackson and Walling.
These images all from New York's The Journal, of February 9, 1896, the full text of which is below. Pearl made national and international news coverage.


Silver Grove
David Calvin “Cal” Crim, who not only solved the mystery of Pearl Bryant, but also worked on the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.(Wikipedia) More details on Crim.

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Pearl Bryan Murders

Make no mistake, the scene of the crime was a huge tourist draw.

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Pearl Bryan  Pearl Bryan

Sheet Music for Pearl Bryan

The are lyrics to to other, different ballads about Pearl Bryan here and here.

Folklorists, working with a collection of old songs at Western Kentucky University, have
 identified at least six different songs, with variations within those six, about Pearl Bryan.

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You think Pearl Bryan wasn't a big story? This item from is the from
Launceston, Tasmania's Launceston Examiner from Augusts 13, 1896.


One of the most interesting things we've read on the Pearl Bryan Tragedy is this piece by Robert Wilhelm, who has looked at the circumstances, and argues that there may, indeed, have been reason to look beyond Jackson and Walling, who were swung into eternity protesting  their innocence, as the real killers.
If you want the full story on Pearl, from the man who's read the trial transcripts and interviewed the family, the book you want is Larry Tippin's The Betrayal of Pearl Bryan: Unraveling the Gilded Age Mystery that Captivated a Nation.
Pearl's story prompted a four-column, illustrated article in the New York Journal.
"Cincinnati, May 16. - The prisoners in the Newport, Ky. jail sawed the hinges off the rear door at 8 o'clock to-night, and all escaped except Jackson and Walling, the alleged murderers of Pearl Bryan, who refused to leave, thinking they might be lynched."  The New York Times, May 17, 1896 "Robt. Laughlin, the wife-murderer, will be hanged Saturday at Brooksville, Ky.  Laughlin, who is now confined to jail with Alonzo Walling and Scot Jackson, has agreed to come back in spirit form to the hanging of Jackson and Walling." from Paris' Bourbon County News, January 5, 1897
The Sheriff evaluates scaffolds for the upcoming hangings.
One man's memory of visiting the scene of the crime as a small boy, here. "Independence, Ky., - Feb. 22 - Thos Hawkins, a wealthy young farmer hanged himself near here  Thursday night. He went crazy from reading the accounts of the Pearl Bryan murder case." from the Maysville Public Ledger, February 22, 1896
An uncredited 100 page pdf, The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan, or, the Headless Horror, from the Harvard Library.

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Last and least: they found her head! On at least 7 different occasions.
February 29, 1896 September 27, 1897 August 18 and
August 22, 1902
February 19, 1907
November 27, 1908 May 18, 1911 November 7, 1934  
For the record, NKYViews doesn't believe any of these are really Pearl. We could be wrong. We also think this is an inordinately large number of found heads.

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