Caption

See the gravesites of these Dayton dames involved in the city’s most gruesome murders 

What better place for a spooky good time during Halloween than a cemetery?

Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, located at 118 Woodland Ave., Dayton, just released an app that makes it easier to visit the 109,000 people buried there since it opened in 1841. 

The free “Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum” mobile app is available for Apple and Android devices. 

>> HISTORICAL CRIMES:  This former cop committed one of Dayton's most notorious crimes of passion — and you decide his fate

Lookout Tower at Woodland Cemetery - known as one of Dayton’s most haunted sites - as photographed in 1898. ARCHIVED PHOTOS (Staff Writer)

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 The Sweet Retreat to open in former Belmont Dairy Queen
  2. 2 When is Tank's open, Dayton, Ohio? | Tank's late night hours
  3. 3 Fuzzy's Taco restaurant at The Greene opening date

Users can search by name: first, last or both. They can also take a pre-designed tour. Thus far, only Woodland’s 45-minute self-guided historical tour has been added.

Angie Hoschouer, the cemetery’s development and marketing manager, said self-guided versions of several other tours, including those featured on the sold-out and extremely popular History, Mystery, Mayhem and Murder Tour, will be added as well. Those featured on the tour can be found on the app. 

Homicide victim Bessie Little. Little was 23, nearly three years older than Albert Frantz, when the two met. Her body was found in the Stillwater River and closer examination revealed two bullet wounds in her left ear. ARTICLE: Dayton’s Ridge Avenue Bridge has haunted history as site of notorious 19th century murder

Below are four bone-chilling gravesites you should visit. Details on the gravesites and individuals buried there is from Woodland Cemetery, Dayton History Online and the Dayton Daily News archive. 

DEATHBED CONFESSION 

Deceased: Christina Kett

Section 100 | Lot 2179 | Tier 3 | Grave 13 

Death: March 9, 1884 at age 65 

The mystery of who killed pretty 18-year-old Christine Kett Jun. 11, 1867 lingered for 17 years. 

Suspects had included Christine’s brother, a neighborhood teenager, a stranger seen in the area when the murder was committed, her boyfriend and even her own mother, Christina. 

A deathbed murder confession revealed the truth. 

Before taking her final breath, Christina Kett told her son that she bludgeoned Christine in the head with a short-handed axe when the young woman did not come home on time to make dinner. 

In an attempt to cover what was considered the city’s “most horrible and fiendish” crime at time, Kett place her daughter’s fingers in the powder flask of her son’s revolver and smeared the Christine’s face with powder. 

She reportedly told her son that that the young woman’s image haunted her from that day forward. 

>> RELATED: What you need to know about the Queen of Dayton's Red Light District

FALLEN LADY 

Deceased: Maggie Lehman

 City Lot | Lot #1 | Tier 20 | Grave 18

Death: Sept. 19, 1891 at age 36

The blue-eyed and blond “lady of the night” had four children and made a vow to turn her life around after they were taken away and placed in the Children’s Home. 

Jacob Harvey, the pimp and boyfriend Maggie had met in the brothel formerly owned by famed Dayton madam Lib Hedges, was having none of this. 

He abused Maggie, and was sent to the Dayton Workhouse for 60 days. 

Maggie eventually got her children back, but Jacob would not go away -- even after Maggie claimed to have a new boyfriend, Newton Chubb, a bartender at the brothel which by then was called “the Abbey.”   

Jacob beat Maggie again when she refused to leave Newton and date him again. He was sentenced again to the workhouse. 

While in jail, Jacob told officers and other prisoners he would escape and kill Maggie and her new boyfriend. 

They laughed, but he did just that. 

Jacob escaped and left the area, only to come back to town to find Maggie at the Abbey. 

He was seen dragging the woman from the brothel’s porch and shot her behind the ear with a revolver, according to Woodland’s description of the crime. 

After the shooting,  Jacob walked to the Point saloon and asked the owner, Al Bloch, for a glass of beer. Then, living a cigar, he remarked, “I just killed a damned bitch down there. I shot her twice.” Harvey then went on to relate the rest of the particulars of the crime to the astounded barkeeper.  

Jacob Harvey was hung on June 28, 1892. 

>> MORE: 5 of Dayton's most shocking murders

THE GHOST ON THE BRIDGE 

The old Ridge Avenue Bridge where Bessie Little was murdered as it appeared around 1910. It was replaced by the current bridge in 1927, which will soon be demolished. ARTICLE: Dayton’s Ridge Avenue Bridge has haunted history as site of notorious 19th century murder

Deceased: Bessie Little

Section 111 |  Lot #3009 | Tier 3 | Grave 15

Death: Sept. 2, 1896 at age 23

Albert J. Frantz was accused of shooting his pregnant lover Bessie Little on the Ridge Avenue Bridge on Aug. 27, 1896, and trying to pass her death off as a suicide.

Bessie's decomposed body was found floating in the Stillwater River. Prosecutors argued that Albert murdered the 23-year-old because he did not want to marry her. 

According to a piece titled “The Story of the Bessie Little Bridge” by former Dayton Daily News columnist and local historian Roz Young, then-Dayton Chief Farrell “testified at the preliminary hearing that Frantz told him he had taken Bessie for a ride in his rig and that as they approached the bridge, she shot herself twice in the head. He panicked when he realized he might be blamed for her death and threw her body into the river.” 

Prosecutors said the first bullet killed Bessie, so there was no way she could have shot herself that second time in the head. 

Her head was brought into the courtroom on the second day of the trial causing many to faint. Coroner Lee Corbin removed it from the jar it was stored in to show jurors the path of the bullets. 

The jury didn’t believe the whole "she shot herself twice in the right ear" defense. They found Albert guilty after six days and more than 100 witnesses. He professed his innocence until the day he was executed by the state on Nov. 19, 1897. Albert was only the fourth man in Ohio history to meet death in the electric chair after the current was turned on and off five times. He could be heard groaning after each turn. Disowned by her adopted family due to her pregnancy, Bessie was at first buried in Potter’s Field. 

The family had the body moved to Woodland Cemetery shortly after Albert’s execution. 

Bessie’s ghost is said to haunt the Ridge Avenue Bridge, which is nicknamed the Bessie Little Bridge. The bridge she died on was replaced in 1927. That bridge was demolished in 2014 as part of a $5.2 million Ridge Avenue Bridge project. A new bridge took its place. 

>> HISTORICAL CRIMES: This Dayton landlady helped nab infamous bank robber John Dillinger 

STOVE TOP KILLER 

Deceased: Mary Knight 

Dayton State Hospital Section 

Death: 1940 

Last year, Dayton History staged a re-enactment of Mary Knight’s 1895 murder trial.

Mary would not win the world’s greatest daughter award. This only child with an “appetite for strong drink” was tried for the bloody death of her mother Catherine “Grandmother Hark” Hark.

The supposed murder weapon: the cross-piece of a stove top covered in hair and blood.

Mary moved into her mother’s cottage on North Urbana Street after she and her husband had a violent fight. The women fought often due to Mary’s drinking, and neighbors often walked into the house to try to make peace between them. 

Screams broke out the morning of May 10, 1895, and neighbors debated in their front yards if they should call police. 

Mary walked out of the house and stumbled down the street. Neighbors assumed she was “drunk again,” and went back into their own homes. 

A short time later, a man spotted Mary standing on the porch looking into the window. 

“Horrible! Horrible! Look,” she screamed, according to Woodland’s account. 

Mary denied killing her mother, but was convicted on what the judge called “circumstantial evidence.”

She received just a year in prison, and many in Dayton doubted her guilt. 

More from Dayton