The Politics of Murder

Matthew G. Schoenbachler

in Murder and Madness

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125664
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135373 | DOI:
The Politics of Murder

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The news of the murder of Solomon Sharp spread quickly in the early morning hours of November 7, 1824, causing a sensation “deep beyond description”, a gloom among the townspeople “of the deepest cast”. The first to suspect the young man was Joel Scott, even before he was aware of Jereboam Beauchamp's connection to Anna Cooke. Well before Beauchamp was brought back to town, the murder of Sharp was becoming politicized. Whether or not Beauchamp's murder of Sharp had political causes, it certainly had political consequences and in fact became, as one nineteenth-century biographer asserted, “not merely ... a private but ... a public calamity”. The partisan implications of Sharp's death only fueled the speculations that the murder was in fact a political assassination. Investigating the possibility of a conspiracy, the grand jury concluded that there was no evidence that Beauchamp had had an accomplice.

Keywords: Jereboam Beauchamp; Solomon Sharp; murder; Joel Scott; Anna Cooke; political assassination; conspiracy; grand jury

Chapter.  9512 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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