The Trial of Herman Mudget: A Chronology
May 16, 1861
July 4, 1878
September 21, 1882
January 28, 1887
Early May 1990
May 1, 1893
Late Fall 1893
September 2, 1894
September 28, 1894
September 29, 1894
September 30, 1894
October 1, 1894
October 3, 1894
October 14, 1894
November 16, 1894
December 3, 1894
June 26, 1895
July 7, 1895
July 15, 1895
July 16, 1895
July 19, 1895
July 24, 1895
August 18, 1895
August 27, 1895
September 12, 1895
October 28, 1895
April 12, 1896
10:13 am May 7, 1896
Herman Webster Mugget is born in Gilmantown Academy, New Hampshire.
Muget marries Clara A. Lovering.
Mudget enrolls in the medical school of the University of Michigan.
Mudget graduates from the University of Michigan.
Herman Mudget registers in Chicago under the name Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. He them obtains a job as a pharmacist’s assistant under Mrs. Holton at Holton Drugs.
Mudget marries Myrta Z. Belknap (bigamously).Two weeks later he files a petition to the Supreme Court of Cook
County, Illinois to divorce Clara Loverling, but it is dismissed for “failure to prosecute.”
Mudget buys land across the street from Holton Drugs at 63rd and Wallace Streets under the name H.S. Campbell.
During the construction of his hotel, Mudget meets and hires Benjamin Pitezel, who later takes on role of a personal assistant.
Construction of Mudget’s building is largely finished.
Mrs. Holton disappears after the death of her husband, and Mudget takes over Holton Drugs. When asked, he states that she has moved to California. Shortly after, he moves the pharmacy across the street to the first floor of his building, which he calls The Holmes Castle.
Chicago begins construction of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
Mudget resumes construction on the Castle in order to bring about modifications in preparation for the World Fair. He hopes to create a hotel to accommodate the travelers brought in by the World’s Fair.
World’s Colombian Exposition opens in Chicago.
Mudget hires Minnie Williams as a secretary. Later that year they are married in an unofficial ceremony, soon after which, she goes missing.
Mudget, using the name Henry Mansfield Howard, marries Georgiana Yoke (bigamously).
Mudget is arrested for suspected insurance fraud after attempting to file a claim for $6,000 for damages cause by a fire (which he had started) at the Holmes Castle. He is shortly released.
Mudget takes out a $10,000 life insurance policy on Benjamin Pitezel with Fidelity Mutual Life Association just before the closing of the World's Fair. Together, they then leave Chicago for Fort Worth, Texas.
Mudget is arrested in Texas for a failed attempt to defraud a drug company. While in prison, he meets Marion Hedgepath.
Mudget kills Benjamin Pitezel in Philadelphia, arranging his death to look like the result of an accidental
explosion. Pitezel’s body is identified by his daughter Alice (15) as well as Mudget.
As suspicion of fraud grows, the Fidelity Mutual Life Association employs the services of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to search for Holmes.
Mudget, already in possession of Alice Pitezel, leaves St. Louis with her siblings Nellie (11) and Howard (8). He tells their mother, Carrie, that they are being taken to see their father. They arrive in Cincinnati later that day and check into the Atlantic House under the name “Alex E. Cook,” a name previously used by Mudget to rent a house in Burlington. They stayed only one night.
“Alex E. Cook” (Mudget) checks into the Bristol hotel in Cincinnati and checks out the next day.
Mudget and the Pitezel children travel to Indianapolis, where the three “Canning children” check into the English Hotel, using the maiden name of Carrie Pitezel.
“Three Canning children” check into the Circle House hotel. At the same time, Mudget rents a house in Irvington, where he has a large woodstove installed
Mudget has two cases of surgical tools sharpened in an Indianapolis repair shop.
Mudget arrives in Detroit with Alice and Nellie.
Carrie Pitezel, along with her two other children, Dessie and Wharton, check into Geis’s Hotel in Detroit, following instructions from Mudget. Meanwhile, from her hotel, Alice writes her last letter to her mother, in which she states, “Howard is not with us now.”
In Toronto, Holmes and Georgian Yoke check into the Walker House under the name “G. Howe,” while at the same time Mrs. Pitezel and her children check into the Union House using the name “C.A. Adams.” “Alice and Nellie Caning”check into the Albion hotel. A few days after, Mudget rents a house at 16 St. Vincent Street. He is later identified by a neighbor as having asked to borrow a shovel, which he returns the next day.
Mudget’s trail is picked up in Burlington, Vermont and followed to Boston.
Mudget is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts. He is then escorted by Detective Thomas Crawford to Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia.
Mudget begins writing his memoir from his cell in Moyamensing Prison.
Detective Frank Geyer is commissioned to find the missing Pitezel children after it becomes evident that Mudget had killed their father.
Detective Geyer embarks on the mission to locate Alice, Nellie, and Howard Pitezel.
Detective Geyer arrives in Toronto to continue his search for the children.
Detective Geyer discovers the remains of Alice and Nellie Pitezel buried in the cellar of the house at 16 St. Vincent Street, in Toronto. They are identified by their mother.
Detective Geyer’s Toronto findings go to press. Mudget blames the murders on Minnie Williams, whom he claimed the Pitezel children had been with.
Prompted by the discovery of the Alice and Nellie, police to search the Holmes Castle, where they estimate that over 200 murders could have occurred (though this was probably an exaggeration). Their search of the basement yields eight ribs and part of a skull settled at the bottom of a vat of acid, mounds of quicklime, a large kiln, a stained dissection table, surgical tools, and many more bones, from both adult and children bodies. They also find clothes and unearth two
large vaults full of quicklime and human remains buried in the earth. Another hidden chamber is discovered to contain 3 fully articulated human skeletons.
Detective Geyer returns to Indianapolis to continue the search for Howard.
The Holmes Castle is burned to the ground. Police suspect arson.
Detective Geyer, aided by Inspector W.E. Gary (Fidelity Mutual’s top insurance investigator) travel to Irvington, a small town on the outskirts of Indianapolis, where Holmes had rented a house the previous October. At the base of the chimney flue they find human teeth, a fragment of a jaw, and a charred mass of human entrails, identified as belonging to a boy of about 8-10 years old. They also find Howard’s overcoat, scarf pin, and favorite toy. Mudget continues to insist that Minnie Williams and an accomplice had are responsible.
A Philadelphia jury votes to indict Mudget for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel. Soon after, Mudget’s memoir is published.
Mudget’s trial commences and lasts five days, at the end of which he is sentenced to death by hanging. Mudget begins writing a long confession, to be his third, in which he admits to killing 27 people.
The Holmes confession is published.
Mudget is hanged for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel in Philadelphia’s Moyamensing Prison, after a last meal of boiled eggs, dry toast, and coffee. He is buried in an unmarked grave at Holy Cross Cemetery in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.