The Hangman's Ropemaker Project

Because of my fascination of history and genealogy, I have been learning a great deal about my ancestors and their places in history.  One of my more fascinating ancestors is my paternal grandmother's great-grandfather, Jacob Bupp.  He was a ropemaker in Allegheny City in the latter half of the 19th century and became famous for supplying ropes to various hangmen.

Jacob Bupp - circa 1890.
Photograph was found in the belongings of Jacob's great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Pfeiffer Wood
Photo posted here 28 April 2023  

Image of Jacob Bupp
Taken from an unknown newspaper clipping that was once in the possession of his great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Pfeiffer Wood, the author's grandmother.

I originally started to write a book on him, but decided the format of the various events in his history were better suited for a series of blog posts instead.  Here are the blog posts in chronological order (as that is how I have been laying out his history).  Clicking on a link will open each blog post in a new window.

Posts marked with a * denote hangings Jacob Bupp made ropes for.

I tried to type the blogs in sequential order of the events of history that is in them, but some of the hangings and histories were discovered after research on other events were done. The blogs are listed here in the correct order of events in Jacob's history.  Those that were written out of order are denoted with a +.

  1. The Story of Jacob Bupp (Part One: His Beginnings)
  2. Jacob Bupp's Young Adulthood (Part Two: Allegheny County and Fatherhood)
  3. Charlotte Jones and Henry Fife, the Inhumane Murderers*
  4. Evans and Jacoby, Wife Murderers*+
  5. Escape Artist: Eli Sheets*
  6. Jacob Bupp's Civil War Service
  7. The Boyd's Hill Murders and the Modern Day Borgia* (Criminals were Benjamin Barnhardt Marchall and August Frecke for the Boyd's Hill Murder and Martha Grinder as the modern day Borgia)
  8. The Paul-Munday Murders* (Criminals were Daniel Buser/Booser and John B. Houser)
  9. The Homes in Butcher's Run and Wood's Run
  10. Michael Moore: In the Shadow of the Scaffold*
  11. Constable Bupp
  12. Ernest Ortwein, the Homestead Butcher*+
  13. Murray and Myers, Partners in Crime*+
  14. The Indiana Murderer James G. Allison*
  15. Frank Small, Jacoby's Murderer*
  16. The Assassination of President Garfield*  (Charles J. Guiteau and how Bupp connected historically to him)
  17. Dead Man's Hollow and Ward McConkey*
  18. James McSteen, Brutal Wife Murderer*
  19. George Jones, Jesse Carter and the Murder of John Foster*
  20. Martin Weinberger, the Hungarian Peddler*
  21. Joseph Sarver, Committer of Patricide*
  22. Dr. Louis Beach, the Wife Butcher*
  23. Michael Metz, the Italian Who Hanged*
  24. The Haymarket Riots* (Jacob Bupp's connection to the hanging of the Chicago Anarchists of 1887.)
  25. Jacob Bupp, the Alderman (Part One: 1889)
  26. Jacob Bupp, the Alderman (Part Two: 1890)
  27. The McCausland Murder and George W. Clark*
  28. Four Pennsylvania Hangings in One Day* (Those hanged were Zach Taylor, William Batholomew, Alfred Andrews and Charles Carter.)
  29. They Cheated the Hangman* (The three men who didn't hang on 9 April 1890: James H,. Jacobs, John W. Rudy and William H. Smith)
  30. Jacob Bupp: the Alderman (Part Three: 1891)
  31. Harry Marsh and William West*
  32. The Nicely Brothers*
  33. Alexander Killen and the Three Hungarians Who All Cheated the Hangman* (The three Hungarians were Michael Sabol, George Rusnock /Rusnok, and Andrew Toth.)
  34. Patrick Fitzpatrick, the Last Hanging*
  35. Homewood
  36. Return Trip to York (Part One)
  37. Return Trip to York (Part Two)
  38. The Soldier's Home at Dayton and the Death of the Ropemaker
  39. Obituaries
  40. The Ropemaker's Widow

If any of these blogs were helpful to you in your research, don't hesitate to leave me a comment or message!  I welcome making connections with others, and will gladly update any blogs that might be incorrect.

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