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Thomas D. CARR





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Furious when he heard that Louiza and her parents wanted to end their engagement
Number of victims: 1 - 15
Date of murders: 1860's - 1869
Date of arrest: January 22, 1869
Date of birth: March 6, 1846
Victims profile: His girlfriend, Louiza Fox, 13 / 14 men (confessed)
Method of murder: Cutting her throat with a razor / Shooting
Location: Belmont County, Ohio, USA
Status: Executed by hanging on March 24, 1870

The Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is a large state-owned area in Belmont County, Ohio. Egypt Valley is absolutely beautiful...lots of trees, ponds, and undeveloped land.

Louiza Fox was a thirteen-year-old girl who lived in the area with her family. She was dating a local coalminer, Thomas D. Carr. They met through a common employer, Alex Hunter. Thomas worked at the coal mine Mr. Hunter owned, and Louiza worked as a servant in Mr. Hunter's home. Thomas was madly in love with Louiza and planned to marry her. Louiza's parents were fine with this plan until they started to hear stories about Thomas's violent mood swings and actions. Also, they weren't sure they approved of the large age difference.

Thomas Carr was furious when he heard that Louiza and her parents wanted to end their engagement. On January 21, 1869 he waited behind a fence on the road Louiza took home from work every night. He finally saw her walking down the road with Willy, her little brother. Thomas sent Willy home so he could talk to Louiza. They didn't do much talking though. He kissed her, then slit her throat with a razor and stabbed her fourteen times. He threw her body in a nearby ditch and hid at a local bank.

Louiza's little brother saw Thomas Carr kill his sister from a distance. He ran home and told his parents who got a search party together to find him. They found him the next morning badly wounded... he had tried to kill himself by slitting his throat and shooting himself. His attempt was worthless though, he was arrested and his wounds were treated.

Thomas Carr was sentenced to death five days later by Judge Way. He laughed when his sentence was read, and it was reported that he said that he did "not care a damn if it was to be tomorrow."

On March 8, 1870, Thomas Carr made a full confession to Louiza's murder, and he also admitted to killing fourteen other people. He also said he attempted to murder at least five more. Many thought this was a lie though since he was known to exaggerate. On March 24, 1870, Thomas D. Carr was the first person legally hanged in Belmont County.


Thomas D. Carr

Louiza Fox was a thirteen-year-old girl in 1869, when she lived with her family in this corner of the Ohio Valley. Back then Belmont County was sparsely populated and extremely remote. Aside from businesses catering to travellers on the National Road, just about the only industry in the area was mining coal.

Louiza was being courted by Thomas D. Carr, a "notorious character" and local coalminer, when she was still an adolescent. He had met her when she'd come to work as a domestic servant at the home of Carr's employer, Alex Hunter. He wanted to marry her, and her parents apparently consented, but Louiza's parents later broke their promise and the wedding was cancelled. Their minds were changed by Carr's reputation and propensity for violence, as well as the fact that he was much older than she.

Thomas Carr had been born in Sugar Hill, West Virginia--just east of Wheeling--on March 6, 1846. He enlisted in the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at the age of fifteen by lying on his papers and saying he was four years older. He hadn't seen much action when he was captured later that year at Cheat Run, WVA, and held for a time in a Confederate POW camp. He was released in time to serve a little more before the end of the war, after which he lived and worked in Tuscarawas and Harrison Counties.

Carr was enraged when he learned that Louiza wanted to end their engagement, so on the night of January 21, 1869, he waited behind a fence corner on the road she took home from work. Eventually she walked by with her little brother Willy. Carr approached them and sent Willy on home while he talked to his ex-fiance. He kissed her goodbye, then slit her throat with a razor and stabbed her fourteen more times. He finally deposited her body in a ditch nearby. That night he spent in a coal bank while the Foxes, alerted by Willy (who saw the whole thing from a distance), got a posse together to search for him.

Carr made a halfhearted suicide attempt the next morning by slashing his own throat and even trying to shoot himself, but it wasn't enough to do the job. When he was found and arrested his wounds were treated.

An "intensely exciting" five-day trial ensued, conducted before Judge Way. Carr, who was apparently a pretty scary character, laughed when his death sentence was read aloud and said he did "not care a damn if it was to be tomorrow." In his sentencing, the judge described Carr as "petulant, ill-natured, irritable, of a nervous temperament and possessed of a heart fatally bent on mischief."

On March 8, 1870, while waiting to be hung, Carr made a full confession, which included the admission that he'd murdered fourteen other people in his life and attempted at least five. If true this makes him a fairly prolific serial killer, but it's presumed that he was exaggerating to some degree.

His confession was published in pamphlet form and widely read throughout this part of the state. He checked on the gallows as it was being built, doing acrobatics on it. Interestingly, before his death sentence was carried out, he entertained two teenage girls who had big crushes on him--murder groupies. He gave them copies of his picture and rings and told them they would meet in heaven. His execution took more than a year to happen because of "a legal technicality" which earned him a stay. Finally, on March 24, 1870, Thomas D. Carr became the first person legally hung in Belmont County.



November 18, 2002

By Jon Baker

The story of Tom Carr and Louisa Fox is a sad, mournful tale that inspired songs, books and countless newspaper articles in the 19th century.

Carr was a young Civil War veteran who was hopelessly in love with Louisa Fox, a pretty young girl from Belmont County. But their story ended tragically – Louisa with a slit throat and Tom Carr at the end of a hangman’s rope.

Tom Carr was born March 6, 1846, at Sugar Hill, W.Va., about three miles east of Wheeling. In 1861, at the age of 15, he enlisted in the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His enlistment records said he was 19. He was captured at Cheat Run, W.Va., that same year, and spent some time in a Confederate prison camp. After his release, he served in a couple of other Union regiments, including a West Virginia cavalry regiment.

After the war, Carr spent some time working in Tuscarawas County, according to a booklet by local historian Ralph Hinds. He worked for Rev. Elisha P. Jacobs, who lived near Midvale, and then for John Edmonds in Old Town Valley. Later, he worked for Henry Fisher at Stone Creek. While living in the county, Hinds wrote, Carr got religion and joined the Uhrichsville Methodist Episcopal Church.

Carr then spent time in Harrison County before he went to work digging coal for Alex Hunter at a coal mine in the vicinity of Sewellsville in western Belmont County. Sewellsville is about nine miles southeast of Freeport.

There he met Louisa Fox, 13, who worked as a domestic servant for the Hunters. Carr fell in love with Louisa and was determined to marry her. But her parents, John and Mary Fox, and her employer, Mrs. Alex Hunter, told her to stay away from Carr because of her age and his character. Carr was a heavy drinker with a reputation for violent behavior. So Louisa broke off their engagement.

Tom Carr decided that if he couldn’t have Louisa as his wife, then no one would.

On Jan. 21, 1869, Louisa was on her way home from work with her younger brother, Willie. Tom Carr was waiting for them, hidden in a fence corner along the road that led from the Hunter home to the cabin where the Fox family lived.

As the two children walked past, Carr approached them. He sent Willie on home, while he talked to Louisa. After kissing her farewell, Carr took out a razor and slit her throat from ear to ear. He then stabbed her 14 more times before dumping her body in a ditch.

Carr later testified that Louisa’s last words were: "Farewell, Tom, I did not think you would serve me so."

Willie, who witnessed the murder, ran home and told his parents what happened. John Fox alerted his neighbors, who began searching for the killer.

Carr spent the night hiding in a coal bank. The next morning, he attempted suicide. First he tried to shoot himself. When that failed, he slashed his own throat. The posse found him badly injured.

Carr survived his injuries and was taken to the Belmont County Jail at St. Clairsville. After a short trial in June 1869, a jury found Carr guilty of first-degree murder. On June 29, Judge John Way sentenced Carr to death by hanging.

In sentencing Carr, the judge said that the testimony in the case proved that Carr was "petulant, ill-natured, irritable, of a nervous temperament and possessed of a heart fatally bent on mischief."

The judge scheduled the hanging for Aug. 20, but because of a legal technicality, Carr was granted a stay of execution. The court issued a new death warrant in January 1870, and the execution was set for March 24.

According to the Wheeling Register, Carr took great interest in the construction of the scaffold inside the jail. "On Wednesday evening, after the work of erecting the scaffold was completed, Carr asked permission to go out into the hall and see it," the paper reported on March 25, 1870. "He drew himself up on it, and indulged in a number of skillful gymnastic feats. He pronounced the structure a success and complimented the Sheriff for his taste and style."

On the day of his execution, Carr was visited by several ministers, as well as two teenage girls who idolize him. He presented each girl with his photograph and a ring, and told them they would meet again in heaven.

Carr calmly went to the gallows, delivering a speech on the evils of alcohol before the rope was put around his neck. Carr dropped to his death at 1:11 p.m., the only person ever hanged in Belmont County.

After his death, "The Confession of Tom Carr" was published, in which Carr claimed to have murdered 14 men in addition to Louisa Carr. Those who knew Carr doubted his claims were true, because he was prone to exaggeration.

Louisa Fox was buried in Salem Cemetery, across the road from the church she attended. Louisa’s tombstone can still be seen in the cemetery, which is located in the middle of the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area in western Belmont County.

Jon Baker writes this column for The Times-Reporter.



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