The Clock-Weight Murder

Today, in going through the folders and identifying their contents, I found an interesting letter written to Joseph Fornance II.   The writer, Henry S. Dotterer, included a small news item with his letter.

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Dotterer goes on to say that Henry Sassaman was his mother’s half-brother, and he wished that Fornance was in Norristown (he was in St. Louis) to provide representation for his half-uncle, who he says was not a “bad man.”

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The brief news item piqued my curiosity and I managed to find two more articles on the murder in the Herald and Free Press, which tell a little more about the incident.  Apparently, four young men were gathered at Pennypacker’s Saddle Shop in New Hanover Square.  Jonathan Y. Hauck got into an argument with Henry Sassaman.  Hauck said, “He talked as if he could lick me and I let him know he could not.”  Pennypacker then ordered the men out of his store, and they went out to fight.  Moyer and Gresh followed a few minutes later.  When Gresh tried to re-enter the shop, Moyer stopped him and an argument ensued (one witness said that the men had had a quarrel three or four years earlier).  Then Moyer, according to witnesses, picked up the clock weight and threw it at Gresh.  One witness claimed Sassaman kicked Gresh twice with the heel of his boot.  A physician examined him and did not believe the wound fatal, but Gresh died ten days later.

When I told volunteer and board member Ed Ziegler about the case, he reminded me of the collection of county indictments we have. It took some searching, be we found a file containing the original indictment of Moyer and Sassaman.

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What happened to Moyer and Sassaman?  I hope to find out for next week’s blog.

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