Murderer of Seven: Sets Fire to Country Home of Frank Lloyd Wright Near Spring Green
While the members of the household were at dinner, last Saturday, Julian Carlton, a negro servant, fired Frank Lloyd Wright’s bungalow, murdered seven and seriously wounded one with a hatchet and another received injuries in jumping from a window. The dead are:
Mrs. Mamah Borthwick [^], their son and daughter, John and Martha Cheney, aged 11 and 9 respectively; Emil Brodelle, aged 30, an architectural draftsman; Thomas Brunker, of Ridgeway, hostler; Ernest Weston, 13-year-old son of Mr. And Mrs. Wm. Weston of Spring Green; and David Lindblom, gardener.
The wounded are: William H. Weston of Spring Green, foreman of the bungalow activities, and Herbert Fritz of Chicago. The latter escaped the negro’s wrath but received a broken arm and glass cuts in making his escape through a window. He was also slightly burned.
Wright had hired a West Indian named Julian Carlton to serve as butler and handyman at Taliesin; Carlton's wife was to be the cook. Then something went wrong; no one would ever know precisely what. Mamah may have told them they would have to leave. Meryle Secrest describes it best: "The final meal that they were to serve was lunch on Saturday.... Julian Carlton appeared in his white jacket and served lunch as usual. He then asked permission to clean some carpets with gasoline. He was given permission; he went outside, and instead of pouring it on the carpets, poured it all the way around the outside of the windows and doors."
As Manah and the others continued lunch, Carlton quietly bolted the doors and windows. Then he lit the gasoline. In seconds the house was engulfed in flames. When those inside tried to flee, Carlton hacked them to death with an ax. "If you can imagine, this all happened in a fraction of a second," Secrest continues. "He had killed Mamah ... by splitting her skull. He also did the same with her son. He attacked her daughter. Everything was in disarray, people were screaming, trying to jump out of windows, [but] they were a story and a half above the ground. One man jumped out, broke his arm, was in flames, was rolling on the ground. Other men were being butchered.... Of the nine people who had sat down to luncheon, seven were dead or dying."
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