Homicide in Cuyahoga, Holmes, and Ross Counties, Ohio, 1798-1900

Kenneth H. Wheeler and Randolph Roth
October 2009 version

Cuyahoga County, 1818-1876

The data on homicide in Cuyahoga, Ohio, 1818-1876 were gathered by Randy Roth and by students in History 598 (Senior Colloquium on the History of Violence in America) at Ohio State University during Summer Quarter, 2003:

  • James Bernardi
  • Tricia Bradley
  • Tim Deniston
  • Eric Hinton
  • Mike Johnson
  • Matt McMillen
  • Ken Smith
  • Phil Spangler
  • Mark Stevenson
  • Dave Stranc
  • Matt Valasik
  • Rachel Williams

The data are from coroner’s files and court records, which are deposited in the Cuyahoga County Archives in Cleveland, and from the Annals of Cleveland, which contain extracts from articles that appeared in Cleveland newspapers from 1818 to 1876. The Annals were published by the Historical Records Survey of the Cleveland Works Progress Administration Project and distributed by the Cleveland Public Library, 1936-1939. The Annals include extracts of articles on many topics, including homicide, crime, and violence. Roth’s interpretations of the data appear in:
Roth, Randolph (2009) American Homicide. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Holmes and Ross Counties, 1798-1900

The data on homicide in Holmes and Ross counties in Ohio, 1798-1880, were gathered by Kenneth H. Wheeler. Wheeler finds that the pattern and incidence of homicide were much different in Holmes County, which was settled predominantly by Germans (many of them Amish or Mennonite), and in Ross County, which in its early years was settled predominantly by Virginias of English, Scots, or African ancestry. He found common patterns as well, however, particular a rise in neonaticides and murders of adults in the mid-nineteenth century.

The sources for the data through 1880—and Wheeler’s interpretations—appear in:

Wheeler, Kenneth H. (1993) 'My God What Did You Do It For?' Homicide and Society in Ross and Holmes Counties, Ohio, 1796-1880. M.A. thesis: Ohio State University.

Wheeler, Kenneth H. (1997) "Infanticide in Nineteenth-Century Ohio." Journal of Social History 31: 407-18.

Wheeler, Kenneth H. (1999) "Local Autonomy and Civil War Draft Resistance: Holmes County, Ohio." Civil War History 45: 147-59.

Ross Bagby searched manuscript censuses and genealogies for information on victims and suspects.

Ken Wheeler, Ross Bagby, and Randy Roth worked together to gather the data on Ross and Holmes counties from 1881-1900. Wheeler worked through the inquests for Holmes County, Roth through the court records for Ross County, and Bagby through the newspapers for both counties. The sources for the data through 1900—and Roth’s interpretations—appear in:

Roth, Randolph (2009) American Homicide. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Files

The following files are available:

Worksheets

Spreadsheet


[csv] - Some links on this page are to .csv files requiring the use of a database program. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact cjrc@osu.edu.

[doc] - Some links on this page are to Microsoft .doc files requiring the use of Microsoft Word. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact cjrc@osu.edu.

[xls] - Some links on this page are to Microsoft .xls files requiring the use of Microsoft Excel. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact cjrc@osu.edu.

 

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