What is it exactly about the story of Lino and Lucretia that has endured over the past 190 years? It is indeed a "truth is stranger than fiction" tale. The news of it spread from a small corner of a county in northeastern Pennsylvania across the country and has continued to intrigue, captivate and fascinate throughout the years. I am surprised that Hollywood has not stolen it and made it into a major motion picture.
There were countless articles published and re-published in 1831 and 1832. There was William E. DuBois' publication of the trials' transcripts. Lino wrote and had his version published posthumously. Those are still in print and available today. Lucretia's lawyer, David Paul Brown, wrote his autobiography and detailed his side of the trial. All of these sources formed the basis of these past 19 posts. To think, it all started when I was researching my ancestor William and came across the trial transcript, which led me down this amazing rabbit hole.
Throughout her life after the trial, Lucretia was shunned and harassed, and it made the newspapers; the 1830's version of the paparazzi. But, even after they were dead, Lino and Lucretia could not escape their infamy. Articles about them and the trials appeared in newspapers in 1868, 1876, 1887, 1927, 1933, 1943, 1948, 1970 and 1980 (probably some other years that I am missing) and were published in the majority of the states. Lectures were given on the subject, primarily at historical society gatherings. In fact, I recently attended a Zoom lecture on 28 January 2021 about true crimes in Bucks County and Lino and Lucretia were the headliners.
The newspaper articles in 1943 and 1948 added the pulpy artwork featured in this post.
Their travails were also incorporated in books about infamous murders and trials, such as Celebrated Trials of All Countries And Remarkable Cases of Criminal Jurisprudence (1847) selected by a member of the Philadelphia Bar and The Art of Murder (1943) by William Roughead. In the first book, they shared their story alongside the Salem Witches, Sir Walter Raleigh and Captain Kidd. In the book by William Roughead, a Scottish lawyer and amateur criminologist, their tale had made it across the Atlantic and caught his attention; enough to be included in one of his true crime books.
In addition to the telling and re-telling of their story in publications, there were other reminders. In December of 1832, there was an exhibit at the "American Museum of Wax Statues & Living Animals" at 177 South Front Street in Philadelphia. Among the wax statues were General Washington, Lord Nelson, President Monroe and "Mina, who was hung in Bucks County."
Allegedly, Lino predicted that devastation would follow his hanging. The following year, in June 1833, there occurred the earliest known serious flood of the Neshaminy Creek, on whose shores he was hanged. It was the highest flood known at that time and Lino was regarded as a prophet. It came to be known as the "Mina Flood."
There was one major social change that did come about as a result of Lino's execution. His was the last public execution in Bucks County.
I want to thank everyone for indulging me as I related this tale over 19 posts (way more than I had originally anticipated). It is just that there was so much material available and it is such a fascinating story. I hope you have enjoyed reading about it as much as I have enjoyed writing about it. In the course of research, I have stumbled across some other true crimes that relate to the family and their life and times. Stay tuned for them. I doubt that they will be as long as the tale of Lino and Lucretia (but no promises).