Murder on the Ohio Belle
Sponsored by Nanette & George Tafel with Kentucky Select Properties
In March 1856, a dead man was fished from the Mississippi River, tied to a chair. The son of a prominent southern planter, he had been a passenger on the luxurious steamboat the Ohio Belle. Who had pitched this man into the river to suffer? As news of the killing spread, one newspaper shuddered, "The details are truly awful and well calculated to cause a thrill of horror."
Drawing on eyewitness accounts, Murder on the Ohio Belle uncovers the mysterious circumstances behind the bloodshed. Sailing the border between slave and free states at the edge of the frontier, the Ohio Belle navigated the confluence of nineteenth-century America's greatest tensions. Stuart W. Sanders dives into the history of this remarkable steamer―a story of double murders, secret identities, and hasty getaways―and reveals the bloody roots of antebellum honor culture, classism, and vigilante justice.
Stuart W. Sanders is the author of four books, including Murder on the Ohio Belle, Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky's Largest Civil War Battle, The Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky, and Maney's Confederate Brigade at the Battle of Perryville. He has written for a wide variety of journals, magazines, and anthologies and is the former executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association. He is now the history advocate for the Kentucky Historical Society.