The Herbert Fuller Tragedy and the Ordeal of Thomas Bram
by C. Michael Hiam
Pub Date 01 May 2019
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From an author praised by The Wall Street Journal for his “eye for a good story"comes an account of a murder trail that transfixed America.
On July 1896, the Herbert Fuller put to sea from Boston with 11 people on board. She was loaded with lumber stacked high on its deck and bound for Argentina. Eighteen days later, the ship turned up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, carrying only eight people as it sailed into the harbor flying a black distress flag.
Trailing behind the ship was its jolly boat holding three murdered corpses, hacked to death with an axe. Just nine days into its journey, the ship had become a slaughter house. The captain, Charles Nash, and his wife Laura, of Harrington, Maine, had been murdered. The second mate, August Blomberg, a Russian sailor, had also been killed. The remaining crew had decided to put into Halifax – some 750 miles away – the closest port available. They spent a harrowing seven nights at sea trying to keep an eye out for their safety and suspiciously watching their fellow passengers.
At the center of this gripping and gruesome story is first mate Thomas Bram, whose trial became one of the most high-profile case in the annals of crime and punishment in the nineteenth century—a story that has largely been lost to history.
In the manner of Erik Larson, Michael Hiam brings it to life.
Michael Hiam is a licensed psychologist in New York and Massachusetts whose writing and lectures have been covered by such publications as The Boston Globe and The Wall StreetJournal, which praised his “eye for a good story and his ability to bring it to life.” He is author of Who the Hell Are we Fighting? The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars, published by Steerforth Press. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.