Murder Ballads

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Poor Naomi

  • Lover chokes and kills Omie and throws her into the river
  • Omie or Naomi wouldn't marry the lover
  • Lover escapes before being convicted or any crimes

Stackalee

  • Stackalee kills barber for ruining his hat
  • Runs to the bar and gives murder gun to bus boy
  • Police chase after Stackalee
  • Found at wife's house
  • Tried and hanged

The Murder of Grace Brown

  • Grace Brown is the wife of Chester Gillete
  • Gillete wanted to leave Grace Brown
  • Gillete killed Grace Brown at lake side
  • No one knows how it happened, assumed it was Gillete


Belle Gunness

  • Belle was a butcher of pigs and widow
  • She was 300 or so pounds
  • Ran ads to lure men with money to her
  • Number of murders not know, some believe between 10-42 men
  • She ran away and never found


The Murder at Fall River

  • Dead mother and father
  • Found butchered around the house
  • Youngest daughter, Lizzie B, arrested
  • No one knows what happened
  • Not enough information to convict daughter so she was set free

Trail's End

  • The famous Bonnie & Clyde couple, Barrow Gang
  • Committed many robberies
  • Blamed for any unsolved crimes

Discussion Questions

  • Did the format in which the information was given help or hinder the understanding of the crimes?
  • Did you prefer this format? Why?
  • How legitimate are these ballads as sources for information? Do you trust the author?

Poor Naomi

  • Why was Naomi killed?

Stackalee

  • Was the story over dramatized in the poem?

The Murder of Grace Brown

  • How confusing was this story?

Belle Gunness

  • How does a 300lb woman escape undetected?
  • What do you think drove Belle to kill?
  • How did people not realize that men were missing and that Belle had killed them?

The Murder at Fall River

  • Do you think Lizzie B was guilty of murdering her parents?

Trail's End

  • Why were Bonnie & Clyde blamed for any unsolved crime that occurred?
  • Is it bad in the poem they were hoping for their deaths?
  • How severe do you this Bonnie & Clyde really were by reading this poem?

References