LeBlanc was flayed and his skin made into purses, wallets and other knick-knacks.
Born in France, 31-year-old Antoine LeBlanc moved to Germany and then left for the New World. He arrived in New York on 26 April 1833 and moved to New Jersey where he was offered a job working on the farm of Judge Samuel Sayre and his wife Sarah. His job was to chop logs and look after the pigs. LeBlanc hated the fact that he was a lowly worker and had to sleep in a woodshed.
One night, after visiting a local bar, he told Samuel Sayre that there was a problem with the horses. The judge went out to the stable where LeBlanc hit him over the head with a shovel. He used the same ploy on Sarah Sayre and he buried their corpses under a pile of manure. LeBlanc discovered the Sayres’ maid, Phoebe, asleep in her second floor bedroom and murdered her as well. Ransacking the house for valuables, he put everything he could carry into pillowcases and left the house on one of the Sayres’ horses. Unbeknown to him, LeBlanc had overfilled the pillowcases and, as he galloped, part of his booty fell to the ground, leaving a trail. The next day Lewis Halsey, a friend of Judge Sayre, spotted some artefacts bearing the judge’s monogram in the road. Believing that the house had been robbed, a posse went to the house and found the bodies.
Sheriff George Ludlow set off in pursuit and found LeBlanc drinking in the Mosquito Tavern in Hackensack Meadows. The murderer tried to escape via the back door but was arrested.
217 South Street, Morristown, New Jersey, USA
10.30pm Saturday 11 May 1833
The trial of Antoine LeBlanc, which opened on 13 August 1833, was a foregone conclusion. He was convicted after just 20 minutes of jury deliberation.
He was hanged on the village green at 3pm on 6 September 1833, before a crowd of 12,000 people. The gallows shot him into the air rather than dropping him. His body was taken to a local doctor who, with a colleague, performed some very unusual experiments, including trying to reanimate him by hooking LeBlanc up to a battery.
A death mask was made after his ears had been removed and LeBlanc was flayed and his skin made into purses, wallets and other knick-knacks, each coming with a personally signed letter of authenticity from Sheriff Ludlow. The Sayre home is now a restaurant and is said to be haunted by the ghost of the slain maid Phoebe.