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Edward H. Ruloff – Murderer

From the autobiographical notes of Captain Charles Albertson  with memories of his career in the New York City Police Department and his travels and adventures during his retirement beginning in 1905. A handwritten and a typed version of this memory exists with slight variations in each. The information found in the two versions was combined to create this post.

Ruloff, Murderer

When a lad, I left home to visit several friends in Broome County, New York and while waiting to change cars at Binghamton, two officers came up the Erie tracks from the east with a prisoner who did not have any shoes on. The night before, three burglars had forced an entrance into a store and while there, shot and killed the employee of the firm who was sleeping there named Merritt. The three burglars escaped from the rear of the store and tried to swim the Chenango River. Two of them were drowned and their bodies eventually recovered. Three pairs of well worn shoes were found near where the murder had been committed. The right shoe of one pair showed that the wearer had the big toe missing. [Last sentence from handwritten version.]

The right prisoner, Edward H. Ruloff, who had been found secreted in an empty car, was the man with the missing toe. That fact convicted him of murder in the first degree in court in Binghamton. On appeal he obtained a new trial and change of venue and was tried the second time at Elmira where he was convicted for murder in the first degree and later hung in Binghamton. It was alleged at the time of his arrest and trial which was about 1870 that he had killed his wife and daughter and buried them in Cayuga Lake.

There appeared in an Ithaca, New York newspaper dated April 11, 1925, a statement by one Amelia Crum whose father Landon D. Crum was informed by Ruloff’s lawyer on his death bed that Ruloff confessed to him before being executed that he had murdered his wife and placed the body in a box weighted with iron and put it in Cayuga Lake near Taughannock Falls. The daughter was brought up by a family in Pennsylvania and at the time of his execution was married to a government employee in Washington.

Ruloff was a highly educated man and had worked for many years upon a dictionary which specialized in giving the derivation of words. This manuscript was given to his counsel to pay for his services as he had no money. It was completed in prison. I do not believe it has been published for I have had it in mind and looking for a copy for fifty years.

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