Part 739h – Brunhammer Doherty Genealogy – The Mystery of GG-Grandfather Audley Holmes – 1854 Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, PA - Murder Investigation

25 July 2012

Good Day,

Following up to Part 734h I have received another clue in my exploration of the murder of gg-grandfather Audley Holmes.

Isn’t genealogy entertaining? The investigative work into the past lives of ancestors and relative connections can definitely be intriguing and cause one to want to know more and more. And the questions to answer are archetypal – Who? What? Where? When? How? And Why?

Well at present, according to the added note in the Burials section of the Calvary Episcopal Church Register in Tamaqua, in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, gg-grandfather Audley Holmes was “Murdered” on 16 December 1854. And now I have some more data that I just received in the mail. In this day and age, everything genealogical is not necessarily available on line. We still have to do some physical leg work.

From the Schuylkill County Historical Society, I just received a copy of the 23 December 1854 Miners’ Journal, And Pottsville General Advertiser. Of the three copied pages the following was a story as a part of the Tamaqua Affairs, as I have transcribed:



Messrs. Editors: - Our citizens were startled
on Wednesday last by the intelligence that one
of our residents had been murdered on the bridge
crossing the Susquehanna at Wilkesbarre; his re
mains were brought home and interred in the
Protestant Episcopal burying ground, on Satur-
day afternoon. His funeral was attended by the
I.O. of O.F., and a large number of citizens. –
Mr. Holmes was a Protestant Irishman. The cir-
cumstance of his gold watch being found in the
cook’s possession, reminds us of the late occur-
rence in New York, when the servant girl Eliza-
beth, was arrested for larceny; and perhaps; had
the cook been searched, her “dear dead Father’s
_____" might have been found.

The abbreviation "I.O. of O.F" represents the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. And is this a possible lead?

Here is the copy from the Miners’ Journal.

The indication that gg-grandfather Audley Holmes’ murder had occurred and “had been murdered on the bridge crossing the Susquehanna at Wilkesbarre” certainly now elicits more interest. From my research it seems that, apart from the fact that there are a number of bridges crossing the Susquehanna River, it may be possible to narrow down that the bridge in question may have been Market Street Bridge. The distance from Calvary Episcopal Church in Tamaqua to the Market Street Bridge in Wilkes-Barre is just about 40 miles.

The top inserted image is a postcard of the Market Street Bridge circa 1906. There original Market Street Bridge was a wooden structure and built about 1805. It has undergone a number of changes since that date.

The note from our informant and researcher from the Schuylkill County Historical Society is that “If you wish to seek more data on this, I would suggest contacting the Luzerne County Historical Society. Since the murder was committed there, I would hope their newspaper carried it and perhaps the county coroner’s office has a report on it.” Now on to the Luzerne County Historical Society... and the check is in the mail.

This mystery is beginning to sound like a game of Clue, especially in light of the reporting that “his gold watch being found in the cook’s possession…” and “in New York, when the servant girl Elizabeth, was arrested for larceny; and perhaps; had the cook been searched, her “dear dead Father’s _____ might have been found.

Stay tuned for my next installment of The Mystery of GG-Grandfather Audley Holmes.




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