An Inoffensive Old Man Stoned to Death — Citizens Without Forethought Engaged in Hue and Cry of Burglar

The old man who was injured so badly Friday afternoon by the citizens of Middle Village resided at No. 19 City Hall place, New York. His name is Thomas Mulhearn, and he is about 55 years old. The people who live in the house say he was an inoffensive person, has lived there a number of years with three of his sons, a fourth one being married and living uptown.

During the early part of last week, the old man behaved in a strange way, saying that the people of the house were trying to kill him, and he repeatedly showed a small revolver, which he had purchased, as he said, to defend himself with. On Wednesday, on the return home of his sons, they found their father entrenched behind some barrels in the cellar with his pistol, awaiting a fancied attack.

It took all the influence of the boys to disabuse him of the hallucination and get the old man to leave the cellar. Thursday night he disappeared and nothing further was heard from him until his sad fate was disclosed.

These facts coincide with the story of the old man, who said in his ante-mortem examination that he left No. 19 City Hall place about midnight, crossed over to Williamsburg to elude the men who were pursuing him, and who, he said, were going to kill him because he had been living on terms of illicit intimacy with a woman who lived in the same house.

He slept in an express wagon, and in the morning went to Flatbush, returned by way of Prospect Park, and crossed over into Newtown. He says that all day long the men tracked him, and when he met the two ladies,
about two in the afternoon, in the lane leading to their house, the men were close behind him. He explicitly denies drawing his pistol or firing it at the crowd who were chasing him.

The ladies who began the hue and cry of burglar, say that they met him in the lane off the public street, and that he was profusely perspiring, looked wild and was otherwise acting strangely. He asked them to secrete him, telling them that men were following him, and when they refused, he started on a run, saying to them, “Tell the men I ran the other way.”

The ladies were frightened and immediately raised a cry. A couple of men ploughing nearby, and also a teamster, hearing the cry and seeing the fleeing man, thought he must have had something to do with a burglary committed the preceding night and gave chase. They followed and soon the entire neighborhood was on the heels of the poor crazy man.

According to the testimony of witnesses engaged in the pursuit, when about to be overtaken he stood at bay and drew his pistol, threatening to shoot, at the same time firing at the foremost men. The crowd immediately began hitting Mulhearn with stones, bricks, and clubs, and when disabled with a broken skull, and bruised and bleeding, they arrested him and handed him over to a Newtown constable.

Dr. Gaylor was called and pronounced the injuries of the man fatal. Last night he was unconscious, and it was thought he could not live through the night.

Two of the men engaged in the fatal stoning of Mulhearn were arrested as of May 3, 1870. – Ed.