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Topics in Chronicling America - Belle Gunness Murder Farm

Lured by matrimonial ads from Chicago area newspapers to a farm house in rural LaPorte, Indiana, over 40 wealthy suitors meet their ends at the hands of Belle Gunness, one of the century's "most fiendish" murderesses. After a suspicious fire leveled the house killing her children, authorities would later unearth scores of missing men's bodies from the "murder farm," many beheaded and dismembered. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


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Important Dates:

  • April 28, 1908. The house of Belle Gunness in LaPorte, IN, burns down in the middle of the night, killing her three children. A headless body and suspicious graves mystify police.
  • May 8, 1908. Federal Authorities order the arrest of Chicago matrimonial agency managers in connection with the suspected murders.
  • May 8-29, 1908. Investigators unearth over a dozen bodies, most of men that Belle Gunness lured to their deaths through matrimonial ads.
  • November 26, 1908. Ray Lamphere, charged with the murder of Belle Gunness and her children, is found guilty of arson.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Belle Gunness, murder farm, LaPorte, Ind.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  January 22, 2013
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