Palace of Death
by H.M. Fogle, 1908

Chapter 21
George Geschwelm
April 26, 1895

Possessed of strong drink he killed his wife in Columbus, Ohio, who had fled from him in fear. Hanged April 26, 1895.

A Strong Drink Fiend's End

Although of good family, and a peaceable and industrious man when sober, George Geschwelm, serial number 26,228, was a fiend incarnate when under the influence of intoxicants. He maltreated his wife to such an extent that she left him and went to live with her parents who lived on East Naghten street [sic], Columbus, Ohio.

For some time after she left him he was a frequent visitor at various saloons, and seemed to be brooding over her action in leaving him. He had been to the house of his father-in-law several times to see his wife, but had been denied admittance.

Early in the morning of March 7, 1894, he left his house and hurried to East Naghten St. Coming to the gate he saw his wife in the yard. He entered and, going up to her demanded that she return at once with him to his house. Exactly what passed between them can never be known, but it was of very short duration. Geschwelm suddenly drew a large butcher knife from his clothing and, holding the shrieking woman by the hair, he plunged the murderous weapon again and again into her quivering body.

The bleeding victim was hurried to the house, but died before reaching it. Geschwelm was immediately tried for murder in the first degree. Alcoholic insanity was the only possible defense for such a crime; but, in spite of the efforts of his attorneys to obtain a verdict in a lesser degree, he was found guilty as charged, and sentenced to be hanged April 26, 1895, which sentence was duly carried out.

He was silent and morose while in the Annex, and when offered spiritual consolation he spurned it with derision. When the time for his execution came he walked bravely, and unassisted, up the stairs to the trap, and stood firmly upon it while the straps were being adjusted.

When asked if he had anything to say why the sentence of the court should not be carried out, he simply shook his head. The lever was pulled over, the drop fell, and his form shot downward bringing up at the end of the rope with an audible snap. His neck was broken, and he died without a struggle.

The lesson in this execution is quite obvious. Here was a man who was a good workman, kind to his family, and a peaceable law-abiding citizen when in his right senses. But the insatiable appetite for strong drink finally ruined him in his family relations, and at last brought him to the scaffold and an ignominious death.

Previous . . . . . Next

Palace of Death
The Ohio Penitentiary