Joseph Quinn
Occupation Miner

August 23, 1890
Livingston, Montana, United States

Cause of death Shot dead
Attack information
Date August 1890
Location(s) Livingston, Montana, United States
Target(s) Family
Killed 6
Weapon(s) Broadaxe

Joseph Quinn was an American miner who supposedly killed his wife and five children at his home near Timberline, twelve miles west of Livingston, Montana, United States in August 1890.[1][2]

Quinn, who reportedly suffered from fever and had been demented for several weeks, killed his family with a broadaxe and a large knife.[3][4] The murders were discovered on August 23, when a group of five men was sent by his neighbours to investigate, because no one was seen around the house for a couple of days.

The men found Quinn's wife sitting in chair with her head cut open, while the bodies of the children lay around her, four of them with their heads and limbs severed, and the oldest, a girl of about 14, cut in two. The bodies already showed signs of decomposition. Quinn himself was found sitting in a corner eating one of his children's arms.

When Brophy, one of the men, approached him, Quinn discarded the arm, sprung to his feet and attacked him. Brophy was pushed to the floor, but his companions managed to rescue him and retreated out of the house. They were discussing further actions, when Quinn came out of the building and rushed towards them, whereupon Brophy fatally shot him with a revolver.[5][6][7]

The story, which could be traced back to a tramp named Arlington who told it to sheriff Templeton of Livingston during a stop in that city, was apparently a hoax.[8]


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