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Southie History Lesson: The Boston Boy Fiend

Yes, just like you, we were creeped out by this local lunatic’s title – The Boston Boy Fiend.  Jesse Pomeroy lived in South Boston and he tortured, maimed, and murdered children in Boston – in particular South Boston.   

Back in 1874, the mutilated body of a 4-year old boy named Horace Millen was found on a beach in South Boston.  The boy was stripped naked, stabbed numerous times and his genitals were nearly severed.  Eye witnesses last spotted little Horace with an older boy by the name of Jessey Pomeroy.

Jesse Pomeroy was born in Charlestown in 1859. He was a loner from the very beginning of his childhood.  Thanks to a cleft lip, and an all white pupil in his eye, he was considered strange and not a very popular kid.  Combine that with the fact that Jesse’s father was an abusive alcoholic who severely beat and humiliated him and his brother Charlie, it’s no surprise that Jesse was a known bully.

Back in 1871 in Chelsea, MA, there were reports that young boys were being lured to remote areas and attacked by an older boy.  These attacks on boys ages 3-7 were brutal and disturbing.  Police never found a suspect in these attacks.  Around 1872, Jesse’s mother – tired of the abuse, left her husband and moved to Southie with her two sons to open up a dress shop.  Needless to say, the shenanigans that were happening in Chelsea started to happen in South Boston.  Same situations involving boys ages 4-7, being viciously attacked by an “older boy” were starting to surface.

The police make a connection between the incidents in Chelsea and Southie and start looking in classrooms in neighborhood schools, with one of the victims in tow in the hopes to identify the suspect. No physical identification could be made.

Eventually, Jesse is caught by police and confesses.  He is then positively identified by his victims.  He is sentenced to the the Westbourough House of Reformation – until he’s an adult.  But of course, he end up getting out because of good behavior.  Pomeroy was paroled back to his mother and brother in South Boston.

As soon as he’s back in town, 10 year-old Katie Curran goes missing. This story is, she went out to buy a notebook and was never seen again. It was discovered the last place she had been was the Pomeroys’ shop, where Jesse worked.  Hmmm…..

Eventually, Jesse was convicted of both Curran and Millen’s deaths.  Although death by hanging was the sentence for first-degree murder, Jesse’s life was spared and he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail.

Jesse and his family lived at 312 West Broadway and the dress shop was located at 327 West Broadway in South Boston.

Jesse Pomeroy is the subject of our latest podcast – you can listen here!  

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.