It was winter 1870 and men were keeping warm in the Oil Region with two hobbies: drinking and fighting. Both would play a part in the death of Rowland Kightlinger one December night in Hydetown, Pennsylvania.
Petroleum Centre, summer 1866. The streets are muddy, the hotels are bawdy, and you just finished a long day of work in the oil fields and are looking for a place to relax for the evening. You saunter into one of the local bars and before you is one of the most fearsome figures of Petroleum Centre, "Bully Tom" Quirk.
Few lifelong residents are unable to conjure up a memory of when they first learned to swim at Burgess Park or got a summer job as a lifeguard or hung out with their friends and family poolside throughout the decades. However, it is also likely few people remember when and why the Dick Kraffert pool came about.
Towering on a hilltop near Pittsburgh sat Dixmont Asylum for the Insane, later deemed Dixmont Hospital. Though Dixmont no longer looms in the minds of Northwestern Pennsylvanians today, it was both lauded and feared by residents in the late 1800s.
The night was dark and the snow fell heavily onto the moving train, slick tracks, and quiet woods along the Lake Shore Railroad from Erie, Pennsylvania to Ashtabula, Ohio. December 29th, 1876 was like many other winter nights, until at approximately 8:00pm, when everything changed.
Hannah Mead Dougherty died June 15, 1876. She was a mother of three and lived in a modest cottage with her husband until she was viciously murdered by intruder, Nick Baker. Baker came upon the house intent on raping Mrs. Dougherty while her husband was away. But, unable to do so, he murdered her and severely wounded a neighbor who heard her screams and attempted to come to her aid. The full Titusville Morning Herald article concerning the crime is reprinted below in its entirety.