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steamedNew York Times, January 24, 1902. Is there a more glamorously noir way to get clipped than being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer in a steambath? Yes, there is: Being bludgeoned in a steambath by an assassin hired by your in-laws. That’s the case here, according to artist and Hope Chest correspondent Stacey Earley, who is the great-granddaughter of the sledgehammered party. “The official story seemed to be that he was killed for a ‘canary diamond’ that he was carrying on his person,” she writes. “However, family rumor has always held that his father-in-law was behind it. The bridegroom was of inferior stock, so father-in-law shipped his daughter the bride off to Europe and took matters in hand, by way of a hired Negro assassin.”

Depending on how you look at it, the family rumor is either supported or undermined by the fact that Stacey’s entire posterity seems to have been utterly batshit a pretty colorful bunch: “Mental illness seems to run in most branches of my family,” elaborates Stacey. “I had a great-great aunt from my maternal grandfather’s side who had friends to tea in hermarshall james earley (1) ‘throne room’–she held court from a throne she’d picked up in the Orient. My mother has a picture of that somewhere. On my paternal grandfather’s side, my great-grandfather [Marshall James Early, pictured right] was a morphine-addicted surgeon who blew his own head off with a shotgun after driving from his flop hotel in Louisville to the steps of his ancestral shack in Pennsylvania.”

Those with comparable skeletons in the family closet are cordially invited to share.



  1. Oh, this is thrilling. Thanks so much for posting my Midwestern Gothic family history!

    • Thanks for sharing.

  2. From Stacey’s cousin in the batshit-crazy family, thanks for posting this! I feel more dangerous already…

    • Keep that family freak flag flying, my dear.

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