H. H. Holmes (1861 - 1896)

A photo of H. H. Holmes
H H Holmes
1861 - 1896
May 16, 1861
Gilmanton, New Hampshire United States
May 7, 1896
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania United States
Other Names
Herman Webster Mudgett, Henry Howard Holmes
H. H. Holmes was born on May 16, 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. He is the child of Theodate Mudgett. He died on May 7, 1896 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 34 years of age.
Updated: November 17, 2020
I cannot tell a lie? George Washington may have said that but it's certainly not something Herman Webster Mudgett, aka H H Holmes, would have said. He couldn't tell the truth! He was the 3rd born of Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodate Page Price, having an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister. Mudgett graduated from medical school in 1886 and moved to Chicago to set up a pharmacy. But he didn't stop with the pharmacy, he also built a hotel across the street which later became known as the "Murder Castle". Why? Because during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, he was thought to lure women to the hotel, make them get life insurance in order to work for him, and then kill them. No one caught on, the women simply disappeared. Several years later, however, a friend/accomplice in insurance fraud Ben Pritezel as well as his wife and 2 children were found murdered. Holmes was arrested in the murders. He was tried, found guilty, and hung in 1896. Per his request, his coffin was covered by concrete so no one could disturb his grave. (His request may have been influenced by the fact that when he was in medical school, he dug up graves and sold the cadavers to medical schools.) Mudgett/Holmes sold his story to Hearst Publications for approximately a quarter of a million dollars in today's money. In that story, he claimed to have killed 130 people. When he was arrested, he claimed to have killed 27. Holmes/Mudgett had married 3 times. He and his first wife had a son and he reportedly abused her. She left and never looked back. While still married to his first wife, he married his second wife, filing for divorce from his first wife a few weeks later (never finalized). He and his second wife had a daughter. Then while still married to his first and second wives, he married the third. Scroll down to read an obituary.
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H. H. Holmes
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H H Holmes
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Herman Webster Mudgett, Henry Howard Holmes
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Unknown. Did H move a lot? Where was his last known location?
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H Holmes was born on in Gilmanton, New Hampshire United States
H Holmes died on in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania United States
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Phillips Exeter Academy; University of Vermont (1879 - 80) and University of Michigan (1882 - 84)




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From Find A Grave: Serial Murderer. Born in Gilmantown, New Hampshire he studied medicine and worked as a druggist in Chicago. A good looking, natural born con man he had a special flair for attracting the ladies of that time. During the Chicago World Fair of 1893 he was the owner/proprietor of the infamous “Murder Castle”. It had hidden rooms, concealed stairways, trap doors, false walls, chutes, an elevator with no shaft and an elevator shaft with no elevator. He ran ads for a secretary in Chicago papers. Once employed he wooed them with promises of marriage. He convinced them to sign over their insurance and savings to him as a part of the “deal”. After spending the night in his bed, he chloroformed them as they slept, dragged them to the open elevator shaft and threw them in. Waiting for them to regain consciousness, he gassed them and watched them die. Afterwards he looped a rope around their neck, pulled them up the shaft, dumped their bodies down a chute leading to the basement and dismembered them. These were the “lucky” ones. Some were simply butchered alive and screaming inside his soundproofed rooms. The estimate is that over 200 women died there. Mudgett moved first to Texas and then to Philadelphia where he devised an insurance scam using a family named Pitezel as accomplices. He killed Mr. Pitezel with poison and he along with Mrs. Pitezel claimed the insurance monies. He killed the Pitezel children by gassing the two girls in a trunk and somehow killing the small boy whose skull was found in a stove. After getting a tip from a prison acquaintance of Mudgett advising them of the scam, the insurance company hired a Philadelphia “super detective”, Frank P. Geyer, to find him. Geyer tracked Mudgett down and brought him to trial for the murder of Mr. Pitezel. He was hanged on the Moyamensing Prison gallows May 7, 1896, the most prolific mass murderer in United States history. Bio by: Richard Blunk

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during H's lifetime.

In 1861, in the year that H. H. Holmes was born, on January 9th, Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union. Within the same month, 5 more states seceded - Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana - and Jefferson Davis, age 52, resigned as a U.S. Senator.

In 1870, H was merely 9 years old when on June 26th, Christmas was declared an official federal holiday in the United States. By 1860, 14 states had declared Christmas a legal holiday but the practice of celebrating Christmas was a local - and religious - choice previously.

In 1872, at the age of only 11 years old, H was alive when on March 1st, Yellowstone National Park became the first national park in the U.S. and perhaps the world's first national park. Established by Congress and signed into law by President Grant, Yellowstone is one of the most spectacular areas in the U.S., filled with natural wonders and wildlife.

In 1884, he was 23 years old when on May 1st, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions - a US association - first resolved that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labour from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to labour organisations throughout this jurisdiction that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution by the time named." Previously, workdays would consist of 10 to 16 hours a day - 6 days a week. It would take years before the 8 hour workday became common practice - and longer before it became a law.

In 1896, in the year of H. H. Holmes's passing, on August 17th, the first pedestrian v car fatality occurred in Great Britain. Bridget Driscoll, age 44, was walking with her family on the grounds of The Crystal Palace in London when she was hit by a car driven by Arthur James Edsall. Edsall claimed to be going 4.5 mph and Driscoll's death was ruled an "accidental death" after an inquest.

Created on Jun 04, 2020 by Daniel Pinna
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