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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., Oct. 15, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Police found evidence that John N. Franklin, who died in a nitroglycerine explosion a day earlier, was intending to set the explosion underneath the bedrooms of his grown children and mother-in-law and then come back later and detonate it from afar.

Police searched his hotel room and found a battery, 400 feet of wire and 25 exploder caps. They theorized that he intended to make a return trip for these supplies and set everything up for a remote detonation.

Instead, the nitroglycerine exploded and blew him into the air and into a rain barrel. He died instantly. His children and mother-in-law were shaken but unharmed.

His children had recently filed suit against him, claiming he had mismanaged their deceased mother’s estate. An attorney representing the children said Franklin blamed his difficulties largely on his mother-in-law.

But nobody thought he would “ever attempt to wreak such horrible vengeance.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1858: The seventh and final debate between senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place in Alton, Ill.

1991: Despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, the Senate narrowly confirmed the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, 52-48.

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