NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. XVI, No. 2, Summer, 1960
THE TRIAL AND HANGING OF EDWARD H. RULLOFF
Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr.
AFTER midnight in the early morning of August 17, 1870, the shrill alarm of the fire bell broke the stillness in the
small city of Binghamton. Three men hurried down to
the Chenango River, but only one made his way across safely. In
their haste to escape, his two companions were lost in the water
and drowned. In the town a badly frightened clerk, employed by
Halbert and Brothers dry goods store, was telling a horrifying tale
of attempted robbery and cold-blooded murder.
Two clerks named Gilbert S. Burrows and Frederick A. Mirick,
sleeping in their quarters over the store, were awakened by
three men who bored holes in the back door and then entered.
When discovered, the burglers fled. One of them was captured by
the two young clerks. When he shouted for help, the other two,
armed with pistols, returned. Three shots were fired at Burrows
who fell back, hit by flying splinters. Then the man with the gun
came up behind Mirick, who was struggling with one of the robbers,
and shot him in the back of the head. He died instantly.
This crime aroused Binghamton and the Southern Tier to a
high pitch of excitement and gave it a subject for animated discussion
for many years thereafter. Within twenty-four hours of
the murder a man identified as Edward H. Rulloff was captured
by the railroad tracks leading out of town and the bodies of the
other two robbers were recovered from the Chenango River. The
case that unfolded was a strange one indeed....
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