13 July 1894 – Patrick Eugene Prendergast

Chicago took an assassin to task today for bumping off their mayor.

A newspaper distributor by trade, Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast ironically hit the headlines himself, after he was executed today in 1894 for murdering Carter Harrison Senior.

A real Paddy

Prendergast had been supportive at first, but he soon turned against the mayor. The Irishman has lobbied for plans to put funds into repairing perilous railroad crossing, which was seen as a danger to inhabitants. Prendergast thought this work would have earned him the right to a place on the Corporation Counsel, said the ‘New York Times’. Sadly this wasn’t the case and he literally had a paddy.

Incensed, Prendergast shot Carter three times a couple of nights before the close of the prestigious World’s Columbian Exposition – which marked Columbus’s historic discovery of America.

Holmes’ sweet home

If the Chicago fair rings bells, it’s because we’ve mentioned it in a previous post. Remember the horrific Dr HH Holmes – America’s first-documented serial killer? He’d built a hotel to house the hoards of visitors, many of whom never lived to leave.

But we digress. As for the assassination, Chicago took this news hard, as the mayor was a popular bloke, which prompted Prendergast to be constantly fearful of reprisals.

Insane defence

During his trial, the killer tried to put forward the plea of insanity, but that didn’t seem to work. A report at the time featured in the ‘New York Times’ even said that the prosecution got former workmates to testify that the Irish immigrant was of sound mind.

These testimonies were damning indeed, so it came as no surprise that a fraction over an hour after the jury had adjourned to make their decision, they were ready with their verdict. Such a quick turnaround for deliberation meant only one thing – Prendergast was going down, and, sure enough, the jurors returned a guilty charge.

He was hanged just under a month later, aged roughly 26.

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One Response to “13 July 1894 – Patrick Eugene Prendergast”

  1. I was wanting to use this as a resource for a research paper that I’m working on for my English class. I was just wanting to point out that there is a word misspelled. I believe the word is to be which. It is in the Holmes’ sweet home section, the last sentence of the last paragraph. I just thought that you might want to know.

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