In his fifth murder mystery play, author and Evansville Living contributor Kelley Coures has chosen another fact-based crime in Evansville’s history as the plot for the popular annual fundraising event for the Reitz Home Museum. “Thoroughly Murdered Millie” tells the true and shocking tale of the killing of young wife and mother Millie Hobbs July 15, 1877.
Culled from the pages of old Evansville newspapers and 19th century court records online, the story begins at 111 SE 8th Street between Vine and Sycamore streets (where the downtown post office sits today). On the day of her death, Hobbs emerged from the small space between her home and that of her neighbor — a woman of ill repute, according to news accounts — with a gaping stab wound just below her collarbone. She fell into her husband’s arms and cried, “I’m killed.” Her 3-month-old child lay on a mattress inside the small home as her husband began to yell for help.
At the time of the crime, three men had been at the neighbor’s home drinking through the day, with Millie present. One of the men was charged and convicted of Millie’s murder. His conviction was overturned in 1878. He was retried, but that trial ended in a hung jury. In 1880, while waiting in the Vanderburgh County Jail, the accused took his own life, still claiming his innocence. Some said the real killer was the husband, who had accused his wife of infidelity many times. Others said one of the other men in the neighbor’s home was to blame.
At 7 p.m. on July 22, the author will give a preview reading from old news accounts of the crime at the Reitz Home Carriage House, 224 SE First St.
The Aug. 17 thriller will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Reitz Home Museum. Guests will try to solve the crime, and the event will be followed by a dinner and dance at Tropicana Evansville. Tickets for the evening are $100 for members of the museum and $125 for non-members.
For more information about “Thoroughly Murdered Millie” and to make reservations, call the Reitz Home at 812-426-1871.