Murder on the Ohio Belle

Murder on the Ohio Belle

by Stuart W. Sanders


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In March 1856, a dead body washed onto the shore of the Mississippi River. Nothing out of the ordinary. In those days, people fished corpses from the river with alarming frequency. But this body, with its arms and legs tied to a chair, struck an especially eerie chord. The body belonged to a man who had been a passenger on the luxurious steamboat known as the Ohio Belle, and he was the son of a southern planter. Who had bound and pitched this wealthy man into the river? Why? As reports of the killing spread, one newspaper shuddered, "The details are truly awful and well calculated to cause a thrill of horror."

Drawing on eyewitness accounts, Murder on the Ohio Belle uncovers the mysterious circumstances behind the bloodshed. A northern vessel captured by secessionists, sailing the border between slave and free states at the edge of the frontier, the Ohio Belle navigated the confluence of nineteenth-century America's greatest tensions. Stuart W. Sanders dives into the history of this remarkable steamer — a story of double murders, secret identities, and hasty getaways — and reveals the bloody roots of antebellum honor culture, classism, and vigilante justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813178714
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 03/17/2020
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 371,437
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Stuart W. Sanders is history advocate for the Kentucky Historical Society and former executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association. He is the author of Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky's Largest Civil War Battle, The Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky, and Maney's Confederate Brigade at the Battle of Perryville.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Stuart Sanders's meticulous unpacking of two notorious murders on the Ohio River dives deeply into the antebellum South's culture of honor and masculine violence. Deeply researched and wise, this is the best kind of microhistory." — Kenneth W. Noe, author of Reluctant Rebels, The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861.

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