Jesse Harding Pomeroy was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts to Thomas J. Pomeroy and Ruth Ann Snowman. He was the second child, with his brother being two years older than him. Thomas Pomeroy was a verteran of the U.S. Civil War.
In the period between 1971-1972 there were reports that several young boys were being each inticed to remote areas and being attacked by a slightly older boy. No one was arrested, however, the attacks were noteworthy because of the extreme brutality that was used by the assailant. The boys were beaten with a fist and a belt, and in at lest two of the attacks a knife was used. Some of the boys were physically scarred permanently.
In 1872, Ruth and her two children moved to South Boston. Pomeroy’s attacks on the boys continued and he was finally arrested and his case was heard in front of a Juvenile Court judge. He was found guilty and sentenced to the State Reform School for Boys at Westborough due to his age.
In February of 1874 when Pomeroy was 14, he was paroled back to this mother in South Boston. In March of that same year, a ten-year-old girl from South Boston went missing. Her name was Katie Curran. On April 22nd, 1874 the badly mutilated body of a four-year-old boy named Horace Millen was found on the marsh area of Dorchester Bay. As soon as they found this discovery the police went looking for Pomeroy despite a lack of evidence against him. The body of Katie Curran was found in the basement of Pomeroy’s mother’s dress shop.
Pomeroy was taken to view Millen’s body and was questioned if he committed the murder. He was denied the right to counsel. On December 9th and 10th of 1874, he was put on trial. Pomeroy was found guilty on December 10th, 1874. The jury recommended mercy on the boy because of his age. Pomeroy’s attorney filed two exceptions which were both overruled in February of 1875 at which point Pomeroy was sentenced to death by hanging. It was the Governor’s job to sign the death warrant, but he refused to. The only legal way to spare Pomeroy’s life was to go through the Massachusetts Governor’s Council and there had to be a majority vote to commute the death penalty. Over the next two and a half years the Council voted three times. Twice they chose to go with the death penalty, and the Governor refused both those times as well. In August of 1876, Pomeroy’s sentence was commuted to life in prison in solitary confinement. On September 7th, 1876 Pomeroy was moved to the State Prison located in Charlestown. He was 16-years-old. He made 10 or 12 attempts to escape but was unsuccessful. On September 29th, 1932 he died at the Bridgewater Hospital for the Criminally Insane.