Did You Know about the connection between H.H. Holmes and Hearthstone’s Henry Rogers?

I’m sure many of you have read the fascinating book called The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen. Did you know there is a connection between H.H. Holmes and Henry Rogers?

Ed Hilgendorf, a Board member of Hearthstone, submitted this explanation:

Henry J. Rogers was one of Appleton’s early movers and shakers. He brought hydroelectricity to Appleton in 1882, and was involved in the paper industry, banking, city government, manufacturing and he built the Victorian mansion now known as the Hearthstone.

H. H. Holmes was a notorious American serial killer in 1890s Chicago. He confessed to 27 murders, of which nine were confirmed, and may have had dozens of additional victims. His story has been told in several books, including the 2003 best seller, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larsen. 

Was there a connection between the respected Appleton businessman and the infamous Chicago serial killer? A  Chicago area cop-turned-author thinks there was. Raymond Johnson, a retired criminal investigator, discovered information about the connection between Rogers and Holmes while researching his latest book, Chicago History: The Stranger Side

Henry Rogers and his family lived in Appleton from 1873 to 1893. Mr. Rogers was manager, officer and stockholder of Appleton Paper and Pulp. In addition, he was a founding officer of the Appleton Business Men’s Club, which later became the Appleton Chamber of Commerce. 

After the Rogers family moved from Appleton to Chicago in 1893, Mr. Rogers was involved in a business practice with an English gentleman named William Green. They ran the William Green & Co, which imported English Portland Cement. Johnson discovered that Green, who was likely one of Holmes many aliases, and Rogers were paying for office space at Holmes’ hotel, later referred to as the “murder castle”. Holmes carried out some of his gruesome murders in that Chicago building during the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. 

Raymond Johnson, author of Chicago History: The Stranger Side will be our featured speaker at Meet Wisconsin Authors on Saturday, July 26, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm in the lower level meeting rooms.



Leave a Comment