Google Search

April 7, 1866

                                                                                                          Image Courtesy of Earnest Archives and Library

FOAM Murderer concealing his work for PT

April 7, 1866, was a cold and dreary spring day in a part of Philadelphia known as the “Neck.” Nevertheless, members of the Christopher Dearing family were excited for they were to be visited by cousin Elizabeth Dolan. In the morning, Christopher Dearing readied the family rig to go retrieve Dolan. Before he left, Dearing sent Cornelius Carey, his seventeen-year-old indentured servant, and hired-hand Anton Probst into the fields with their work assignments. Confident that his orders would be met, Dearing bade his family farewell. When he said goodbye to his wife Julia and their children, he could not have known it was the last time he would see his family alive.

                                                                                                                   Image Courtesy of Earnest Archives and Library

FOAM Dearing funeral 3 for PT

            The mud had yet to fall from the wagon’s wheels when a day of horror began. As Cornelius Carey innocently sat and talked about inconsequential matters, Probst rose behind him, hefting an ax. Before the poor boy ever became aware of any danger, Probst swung at Carey’s head. To make sure of his work, Probst then cut the boy’s throat. So as not to alert Julia or the Dearing children, Probst hid Carey’s body in a haystack and headed for the family home.

            With the removal of Carey, only Julia Dearing might have been able to launch any kind of a defense to save her children. Upon some pretext, Probst lured Julia Dearing into the barn. Once the victim was in place, Probst brutally dispatched her in the same manner as he had Carey. Once Julia Dearing’s body was hidden, the children were no match for the brute’s strength. Probst easily overcame eight-year-old John Dearing, six-year-old Thomas, four-year-old Anna, and two-year-old Emma Dearing. Once home to the happy laughter of children, silence claimed the farm. Unperturbed, Probst calmly sat and waited for his last two victims to arrive.

            When he returned with Elizabeth Dolan, Christopher Dearing did not realize anything was amiss. He and Dolan began to settle into the house. In separate instances, Probst lured each into the barn and murdered them. Silence descended again as Probst thought over his next move. He soon left for the city, but not before he fed and watered the livestock. Later, when questioned over this act, Probst stated he did not want the animals to suffer before they were discovered.9780692965191 p0 v1 s600x595

            Once neighbors began to become suspicious at the lack of activity at the Dearings, they investigated and found Christopher Dearing’s body. Quickly the police were alerted. Chief of the Detective Police, Benjamin Franklin led the investigation. In addition to investigating the horrific murders, law enforcement was tasked with keeping calm throughout the city. But citizens were aware a monster was on the loose. Luckily, Probst was soon captured and arrested. At the end of April, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

            Death was not the end for Probst. Once his body was cut down after his execution, his corpse was delivered to a group of doctors to be used for scientific purposes. One of the experiments was an attempt to galvanize Probst. Unlike the Frankenstein monster, both the literary and Hollywood versions, Probst did not stir to life. The monster was dead. But his story lives on. Philadelphia’s first mass-murderer will be forever known as the “monster in shape of man.” As a New York Times correspondent declared, “He was not a man, he was sui generis a-PROBST.”

152-years-ago today, April 7, 1866.  Patricia Earnest Suter, author of The Face of A Monster: America's Frankenstein and The Hanging of Susanna Cox: Pennsylvania's Most Notorious Infanticide and the Legend That's Kept It Alive

This material is © Copyrighted 2016 by All Rights Reserved

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.
Load Previous Comments

Museum says missing Nazi submarine mystery solved

A Danish war museum says it found German U-boat U-3523 embedded on the sea floor, quashing years of speculation.



The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein

The Paperback of the The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein by Patricia Earnest Suter at Barnes & Noble. FREE Shipping on $25 or more!

USS Indianapolis wreckage found 72 years later - CNN Video

The remains of the USS Indianapolis, which delivered parts of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and was later sunk by a Japanese submarine, have been found.


Gaming etc.


Top 5 Mistakes Made by Game Company Executives


Modern Tabletop Arcades


Ahead of Their Time: Discontinued Game Consoles


Andrew Kamal is an app developer, programmer, and inventor who loves writing about historical technology and old games. He can be found in his free time hugging pugs and debating people about which pizza topics are better.












Siberia: Medieval Mummies From Mystery Arctic Civilization Discovered in Zelenyy Yar Necropolis

Two medieval mummies from a mystery Arctic civilization have been discovered at the edge of Siberia. The remains of an adult and baby were found in the Zelenyy Yar necropolis, an archaeological complex first discovered in 1997, and were covered in copper-with the adult having been plated from head to


Search This Site

Civil War Coloring Pages

Civil War Coloring Pages


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Library Company of Philadelphia

3d3f021a fd46 408d bfb6 eae0726eb7b8

A New Looking-Glass for the 1764 Pamphlet War




BibleRescue - Reuniting famly bibles with family

The family bible is a family's connection to the past and future. It connects an entire family across generations to their history, to their faith and provides an understanding of who their ancestors were. Family bibles often contain locks of hair, photographs, newspaper articles in addition to names, dates of birth, death and marriages.




be2acded e529 4958 b99a 550d69cebf62

ec91d0e7 13a7 4862 a980 bb23936626f6

25rd Annual Art & Leisure Auction

Features “Flashback Friday” Theme


Fastnacht Day: February 28 at

York County History Center

Fastnacht Day will be celebrated at the York County History Center’s Historical Society Museum on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. – noon. The Friends of the History Center will serve fastnachts, coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Museum, located at 250 E. Market Street, York.

This free event is held each year as the Friends’ “thank you” to the community for their support throughout the year. Fastnacht Day originated with Pennsylvania Germans on Shrove Tuesday, when all fat had to be removed from the home before Lent.

The Friends hold fundraising events all year to benefit the programs and exhibits of the History Center.


York County History Center Closed January 26-27, 2017



universal York banner

Universal York Blog

Did colonial courthouse windows end up in the Dover area?

Jonathan Mifflin turns down York County post

York, Pa., really is the center of the universe, especially when you consider its place in historical events. Local historian June Lloyd looks at how things have converged on our hometown, past and present.





Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Pearl Harbor and the Erosion of Citizenship

1f349cd8 b394 4e98 b1cb 3c22f7b3570e





Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society | Preserving the culture of Mennonite-related faith communities in Lancaster County

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has added a new field trip to the 2016 schedule of events. Get a new view of historic sights in Lancaster and Lebanon with the upcoming field trip, "The Trail of Greenywalt's Boys."


Special Offer

VALUE PACK – Books For Genealogists


Letterpress Printing Game

Windsor Historical Society

Windsor Historical Society - The museum, library, and historic houses explore 370 years of history in Connecticut's oldest English town


Latest Blogs


American Antiquarian Society

About AAS The American Antiquarian Society is a national research library of American history and culture through 1876.more



Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs


African American History Month programs among 18 special events at the museums of the State of Delaware during February 2018


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor eight free programs during January 2018


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor 21 special programs during the 2017 winter-holiday season


“Doctor Who and William Penn” to be presented at Dover, Del.’s Old State House on Aug. 19, 2017


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs July 28, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 7


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs June 29, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 6



Online survey seeks public input regarding the preservation of historic places in Delaware


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs June 1, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 5


Zwaanendael Maritime Celebration: “A Sailor’s Life for Me” in Lewes, Del. on May 27 and 28, 2017

Andrew British Sailor WWI


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs March 27, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 3


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor 14 free programs during March 2017


New exhibit now open at Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum


“Listen Up! African-American History” program Rescheduled


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Jan. 31, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 1


  African American History Month programs among 17 special events at the museums of the State of Delaware during February 2017











Virginia Tech was not the worst school massacre in U.S. history. This was.

That spring morning in 1927 could not have been more beautiful, one of the students would later recall. The Bath Consolidated School just outside East Lansing, Mich., was holding final exams, but before the morning bell rang on May 18, 1927, children ran and played outside. Peals of laughter could be heard.


WWII veteran's remains return home after missing 74 years

ATLANTA (AP) - More than 70 years ago, a U.S. Army plane dubbed "Hot as Hell" was headed for India on a supply mission. It never arrived, and no one went looking for the doomed aircraft or the eight men on board because military officials had no way of pinpointing where it went down.

Sword belonging to commander of black Civil War unit found

BOSTON (AP) - The sword that belonged to the commanding officer of the first all-black regiment raised in the North during the U.S. Civil War has been recovered after being lost to history for more than 150 years. The British-made sword carried into battle by Col.


'America's Frankenstein': Book to examine Philly's 'first mass murderer'

An upcoming book seeks to find the links between the fable of Frankenstein and a brutal Philadelphia mass murder that occurred nearly 50 years after the release of the famous novel. In "The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein," Delaware author Patricia Earnest Suter revisits the gruesome killings of eight people at the hands of Anton Probst in 1866.

Jaw-dropping discovery: Soldier's diary retells WWI horrors

Norman Gray, a fresh-faced 19-year-old was shipped off to France in 1914 to fight in World War I. Now his diary resurfaced, documenting the horrors of war.



Maria Tesch, 1850-1936 * - Kulturarv Östergötland

Östgötsk kulturhistoria. Uppgifter om arkiv, bibliotek, museer, hembygdsföreningar m.m.