Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thank You for Your Interest

Thank you for your interest in the Free James Titus Project!

This page is dedicated to Freeing James Titus, a Janitor at a Methodist Seminary in Hackettstown, New Jersey, when an 18 year old kitchen worker named Tillie Smith was raped and murdered on April 8, 1886. The Prosecutor and the Pinkerton Detectives ran out of leads after only a week, but the Yellow Journalists decided that the Janitor did it.

James Titus, an industrious janitor, beloved husband and father to a baby girl, served 19 years for a crime he did not commit because James Creelman and Joseph Pulitzer wanted to sell newspapers.

Even today, publications like "Weird NJ" and groups like TAPS encourage people to come to Hackettstown and hunt for the ghost of Tillie Smith. The townspeople of Hackettstown today are reminded of this year round, but especially in October. The historic society sells "Got Ghosts?" T-shirts to raise funs.

Janitor Titus's family has been wiped out. His wife died a month before he got out of prison. His last remaining descendant, a granddaughter, died in 1997. Tillie's murderer was never caught.

The Free James Project is dedicated to obtaining the first posthumous pardon in state history for old Janitor Titus.

We need all the help we can get. Please join.

Monday, January 27, 2014

We Are Fan of the Week

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics Podcast

Mostly major stories, not local ones, but definitely recommend.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Hard to tell the difference between facts and folklore..."

"Evilness sells...that's the name of the game."

"In order to study the laws of history we must change the subject completely, forget all about kings, ministers and generals, and turn to the homogeneous, infinitesimal elements that move the masses to action. No one can say how far it is within man's grasp to arrive at the laws of history in this way, but it is obvious that this is the only possible way of discovering any historical laws, and human intelligence has hitherto not devoted to this way of thinking a millionth part of the effort that historians have put into describing the doings of various kings, ministers and generals, and expounding their own opinions of these doings."
-Leo Tolstoy, "War & Peace" Volume III, Part III, Chapter 1

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Influential sociologist George Herbert Mead entered Harvard in 1887. I wonder if he could have been a relation to "Student Meade", who testified against James Titus and tried to collect the $10,000 reward before disappearing.1 We may never know.

1Sullivan, Denis. In Defence of Her Honor: The Tillie Smith Murder Case. Flemington: D.H. Moreau Books, 2000.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is a show trial?

The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly public trial. The term was first recorded in the 1930s. There is a strong connotation that the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant and that the actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and as a warning. Show trials tend to be retributive rather than correctional justice.

Such trials can exhibit scant regard for the principles of jurisprudence and even for the letter of the law. Defendants have little real opportunity to justify themselves: they have often signed statements under duress and/or suffered torture prior to appearing in the court-room.

More at Wikipedia...