Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Harpe": A Team of Tennesseans on America's First Serial Killers

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 11:42 AM

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You think times are tough? Lucky you this isn't the Old West (Tennessee and Kentucky, circa the 1790s/early 1800s). And lucky you you never met up with the Harpe brothers, Wiley and Micajah, of Knoxville.

They're a trigger-happy twosome bent on revenge, and they're the subject of a book called Harpe. They're also, according to the book's subtitle, "America's first serial killers" in an era noted for all manner of killing: beheadings; hangings; hatchet jobs; throats slashed; heads blasted; a dog chopped to pieces; and a horse forced off a cliff (along with a couple of riders — two clergymen stripped naked and roped back-to-back).

Not that the brothers are responsible for all the mayhem in Harpe, but they do their big share of it — not least, Micajah, a nervous hothead who can only take so much of Wiley's newborn son, who won't stop crying. So Micajah slams the infant against a tree.

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