Palace of Death
by H.M. Fogle, 1908

Chapter 14
Jacob Harvey
June 28, 1892

A bad character of Dayton, Ohio. Hanged June 28, 1892, for the murder of Maggie Lehman, a lewd woman, whom he injudiciously worshiped.

Executed for Murdering His Paramour

Jacob Harvey, serial number 23,102, was the fifteenth [sic] man to plunge to his death through the old trap doors. He was a Dayton murderer; committed a grievous crime and grievously did he answer for it.

He was executed shortly after midnight on the morning of Friday, June 28, 1892. As the boys in the Annex were wont to term it, he was "game" to the last, and died without a struggle. The doomed man walked with a firm step and came onto the trap unassisted. Before his hands were strapped at his side, he shook hands with Chaplain Priffit, and said in a clear fine tone, "Good-bye, Chaplain; you have always been kind to me, and I thank you for it." After his hands had been pinioned he leaned over and smilingly whispered to Deputy Brady that his coat sleeve had been caught in the straps around his wrist. This was remedied and all the other straps were quickly fastened.

Then Deputy Playford picked up the black-cap, and after getting it ready asked the condemned man if he had anything to say before the sentence of the court should finally be carried out. "Nothing at all, Deputy," he answered, then after pausing a moment he added, "I am all ready to go." As he spoke he turned his face toward his executioners who stood on his left. After speaking he turned his face toward the audience, shifted uneasily and appeared anxious to get through with the ordeal. Quickly the Deputy pulled the black-cap over the doomed man's head, shutting out the light forever. The noose was speedily placed around his neck and drawn in position by Deputy Brady; then Deputy Playford quickly stepped to the lever, and at exactly 12:27 the murderer of poor, misguided Maggie Lehman shot through the trap to his death.

A hush fell on the assembled crowd; not a sound could be heard except the death gurgle in the poor wretch's throat. The body hung limp and motionless; not so much as the twitch of a muscle being apparent. The noosed had been adjusted a little forward, instead of on the side of the neck, having a tendency to throw the head backward and breaking the neck. Dr. Rowles, the prison physician, immediately grasped the wrist and announced the pulse first every quarter of a minute, then every full minute. First quarter, pulse 165; second quarter, pulse 198; third quarter, pulse 113; fourth quarter, pulse 96. At 12:34 the pulse was 41; at 12:38 it was 16 3/4--scarcely perceptible, and Dr. Rowles pronounced the man dead.

History of the Crime

There may have been murders committed which were surrounded by more horrible and sickening details; others may have aroused more indignation on account of the character of the victim; but from a legal standpoint this murder for premeditation, deliberation, cowardice and brutality of the lowest sort has few, if any equals. He intended it should be a double murder, but fortunately one of his intended victims was not present at the time. The murderer's coolness and deliberation while committing the crime and thereafter, is enough to make some of the more notorious desperadoes and thugs turn green with envy.

Illicit love and jealousy were the prime causes of the crime. Harvey was well known to the Dayton police as a petty thief and was considered a bad, but not a dangerous man. He served many sentences in the Dayton Workhouse for minor offenses. He was a worthless scoundrel and pimp, such as curse every large city and give the police no end of trouble. Although he claimed to be a railroad man, it was well known that he was too lazy to work. He prided himself on his cunning and good looks, and conceived the idea of getting some woman to keep him.

Mrs. Maggie Lehman was a dashing young widow who had little, if any, regard for virtue, and was an easy mark for the wily Harvey. She had three small children, but she managed to provide very well for all. Harvey fell deeply in love with the woman, and soon became very jealous. He protested bitterly against her attentions to other men. She paid no attention to Harvey's protests and threats, and finally he began beating her. He was extremely jealous of a man named Newton Chubb, whom he believed was trying to take the woman away from him, and he frequently threatened to kill both of them if they persisted in seeing each other. These threats were always made to Mrs. Lehman, who did not seem to regard Harvey as a dangerous man.

Harvey (after taking up his abode with Mrs. Lehman) passed as a dead-game sport and spent a great deal of money, which was furnished him by his mistress. Yet he beat and abused her almost every day. His conduct finally became unbearable, and she had him arrested for assault. He was sentenced to the Dayton Workhouse for sixty days; served his time, and again beat her nearly to death. She had him arrested the second time, and again he was assigned to the Works.

While he was serving his second sentence she concluded it was time for her to get out of his way. She left her home and became an inmate of "The Abbey," a low resort on Home Avenue, the road leading to the National Soldiers' Home, just west of Dayton. But Harvey soon learned of her whereabouts and it so enraged him that he determined to escape from his prison and kill her. He believed that Chubb had induced her to leave him and he swore he would escape from the Works and kill both of them. He declared this intention to the officers and prisoners but they only laughed at him. He finally escaped on September 19, 1891; went to a hardware store, procured a 38-calibre revolver, and betook himself to "The Abbey," concealing himself near the foot of a stairway.

He waited for his victims to appear, for he thought that Chubb was there with Mrs. Lehman. Presently the woman came down stairs alone, and Harvey pounced on her with the fury of a madman. Grasping her by the wrist so she could not get away in case the first shot did not kill her, he fired and missed. The woman, frantic with terror, screamed for help. In the scuffle she stuck her head under the villain's arm to shield herself from the murderous weapon. He closed his arm about her neck, and while he held her fast in this manner placed the muzzle of the gun against her head and fired. She fell a corpse at his feet--an end to her life of shame.

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Palace of Death
The Ohio Penitentiary