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HLOM December events include GSO flautist group, Trivia Night

By Press Release

Press Release:

Join us at the Holland Land Office Museum on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. for a holiday music concert featuring a flautist group from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. Come by the museum to enjoy some wonderful music. Admission is $5 or $4 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or if you would like to attend.

“This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by GO ART!”

Join the Holland Land Office Museum at GO ART! located at 201 E. Main St. in Batavia for the next edition of our Trivia Night @ the Museum on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. This month's topic is the Battle of the Bulge. Admission is $5 or $3 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or if you would like to attend.

Author Rob Thompson to visit HLOM for signing on Saturday

By Press Release
Submitted photo of The Torture Tree from The Sullivan Expedition.

Press Release:

Submitted photo of
Rob Thompson

Western New York author Rob Thompson, after nearly two years of painstaking research has completed, what he declares as his most difficult of projects. 

The Sullivan Expedition is considered by many to be the most significant military campaign of the American Revolution. The expedition was seen by George Washington as a necessity for ridding the colonial frontier of the Indian threat, and from the assaults by the infamous Butler’s Rangers. Washington’s controversial method was to clear western New York of the Indians by destroying their crops and villages forcing thousands of Native Americans to seek refuge from the British at Fort Niagara. 

Under the leadership of Maj. Gen. John Sullivan and aided by Gens. Clinton, Maxwell, and Hand, nearly 5,000 men crossed the western Finger Lakes destroying over fifty Indian settlements and burning thousands of acres of crops, The most well-known event of Sullivan’s Expedition occurred near Conesus Lake: the capturing and horrific torture of two men Lt. Thomas Boyd and Sgt. Michael Parker. 

Chapters include the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy (the Huedensee), the life of Mary Jemison, the “White Woman of the Genesee,” the headaches endured by George Washington caused not only by Sullivan but others within the structure of the Army, and the controversial topic of genocide.

“Regrading genocide, I present the facts of the expedition, and though I express my personal view I encourage the reader to make their own determination based upon the facts I present. If one thing is learned it’s that at one time in all of human history regardless of race, ethnicity or religion all men have been victims of and perpetrators of hate.”

This compilation of archived material is greatly enhanced by in-depth research is a fine, easy-to-read book and one that will certainly encourage further study by all who read it. One point of enjoyment is the introduction of numerous historical tid-bits such as the life of riflemen Timothy Murphy, the legend behind the run of Adam Helmer, Daniel Shays of the Shays Rebellion (buried in Conesus New York) and the myth behind the lost cannon.

On Saturday, September 23, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holland Land Office Museum there will be a signing of Behold and Blush-The Sullivan Expedition, The Linden Murders Solved, Twisted Tree Final Word on the Linden Murders, and Candles in the Rain (the story of the 1997 Genesee County Janet Rippel cold case).

Submitted photo of the reburial of Mary Jemison from The Sullivan Expedition.
Submitted photo of the reburial of Mary Jemison from The Sullivan Expedition.
Submitted photo of a map of the expedition from The Sullivan Expedition.

Area author publishing new book on the Sullivan Expedition

By Press Release


Press release:

Behold, and Blush is a comprehensive telling of the 1779 Sullivan Expedition as it wound its way through western New York. We begin with the legend behind the creation of the Seneca Nation, the "Great Peacemaker," and Hiawatha, and the formation of the Haudenosaunee (League of Five Nations). Next, the book segues the French-led invasion of Seneca territory in 1687. Finally, it touches on the French and Indian War and the deeds committed by British General Jefferey Amherst, for whom Amherst New York is named. Behold and Blush reviews chronologically and introduces the readers to the campaigns of "Goose," Van Schaick, and Daniel Brodhead, culminating with Sullivan and Clinton. Thompson's research expands upon the expedition's little-

known members, which significantly adds to the story of the Sullivan Expedition. The book introduces the reader to Joseph Brant, Mary Jemison, Daniel Shays, Timothy Murphy, Lt. Thomas Boyd, and Sgt. Michael Parker. The book concludes with the discussion of genocide as it may or may not relate to Sullivan's Expedition. "If a reader expects to find this book treating the men of Sullivan's Expedition as barbarians and a book where the Seneca are treated as victims, they may be disappointed in what they find.”

Release date October 9:

Presentation and signing:

  • Sat. Oct. 22 – Simply Positive 23 Main St. Livonia NY 10-1 p.m., (585) 204-0441
  • Sat. Oct. 29 – Holland Land Office Museum 131 W. Main St Batavia NY, 1-3 p.m. 585-343-4727.

Local author Rob Thompson to serve as election observer in Ireland

By Press Release

Press release:

Attica resident will serve as an election observer in Northern Ireland on 5 May, the date set for the election of its Legislative Assembly, the legislature of Northern Ireland. Rob Thompson is accredited by the United Kingdom Election Commission and is trained by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the EU.

COVID-19 forced many elections to be rescheduled and now with the world opening back up so to speak election calendars are being filled up as well. Over the next 18 months, my schedule includes, besides Northern Ireland, election work in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Estonia. In May, and subsequent short-term missions I will work at several polling places in West Belfast ensuring the election process follows principles established by the 1990 Copenhagen Document; “universal, equal, fair, secret, free, transparent, and accountable.”

An issue I found of interest has been Brexit, during the 2019 vote England and Wales voted to leave the EU while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. With Brexit’s victory, the question was would there be a hard border between NI and the Republic of Ireland. But a protocol was negotiated and is intended to protect the EU single market while avoiding the imposition of a 'hard border' that might incite a recurrence of conflict. Under the Protocol, Northern Ireland is formally outside the EU single market, but EU free movement of goods rules and EU Customs Union rules still apply; this ensures there are no customs checks or controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the island. Periodically NI will vote to remain or reject the protocol, the first consent vote is scheduled for December 2024. May’s election of the Legislative Assembly could be a bellwether vote, of whether or not NI is edging toward desiring independence or will remain Unionist.

Attica author's newest book 'Candle in the Rain' delves into 1997 murder of Ann Rippel in Bethany

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

Attica author Rob Thompson has released his 17th book, but only his second historical fiction. "Candle in the Rain" is the story of the 1997 Genesee County homicide of Ann Rippel (inset photo, right).

Her body was found in the Little Tonawanda Creek near Brookeville and Creek Roads in Bethany. No arrest has ever been made and Ann’s case has been labeled cold for many years.

“I’ve been working on a book about Ann’s case for a couple of years now,” Thompson said, “I had to be very careful, I was limited in what information I could access, and I remained in touch with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department along the way to make sure I wasn’t jeopardizing an active investigation.

“Above all I wanted to be respectful to Ann and to her family; so historical fiction seemed to be the best way to go. I don’t deviate from known facts of the case, but I do incorporate some fictional elements around those publicly known facts.”

Thompson uses vivid imagery in telling his own personal story and that of Rippel's.

“I found it a good opportunity to share with my readers aspects of our lives they may not know,” Thompson said. "Poets, balladeers, and purveyors of prose have bemoaned at how close their protagonists have been during the layout of damnable syntax. I’ve been personally close to many things in life, so close at times. I’ve been close to winning, close to losing, close to God and awfully close to His rival.” 

“In my opinion, the investigating officers are and have been very close to solving this case, I believe it comes down to just one or two things or even just one long-silent voice stepping forward. I wanted the readers to know Ann was a very real person and not a just a dusty file folder…for example what might she had said to her family if she had been given a chance.

“Perhaps she would have something like this…

“If tomorrow starts without me…if the sun should rise and find your eyes filled with tears for me; I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today…God looked down and smiled at me. He said, your life on Earth has passed, but here, life starts anew. You have been forgiven and now at last are free.”

Thompson said, “I conclude the book with my providing a behavioral profile on a possible suspect to the family. My background in psychology and literary psychoanalytical criticism aids me during such pursuits. Based on studying the scene, the public information on the crime and after interviewing Ann’s family my detailed profile concludes with the labeling of the possible suspect as a sociopath.

Because of COVID-19, there may be no public signings, the book is available on Amazon (paperback, $9.29) and if anyone knows anything about Rippel’s case, or have heard about what may have happened during that April in 1997 please call the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department.

Readers of The Batavian can download book, Swinging in the Rain, for free

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Author Rob Thompson has made his book "Swinging in the Rain," about death penalty cases in Genesee County available to readers of The Batavian as a free PDF download. The video is from November when we interviewed Rob about the book.

Author to discuss Linden Murders and other notorious crimes at HLOM

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Rob Thompson discusses Western New York's most notorious crimes, the Linden murders at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Thompson, author of 16 books including "The Linden Murders...Solved," and "Twisted Tree-Final Word on the Linden Murders," will provide details of the crimes, the victims and the suspects. The discussion will be followed by a question and answer session as well as a book signing.

Thompson will also discuss his newest book "Swinging in the Rain," which is about the crimes committed within Genesee County that resulted in the death penalty.

Admission is $3 for non-HLOM members and $2 for members.

Video: Thompson discussing "Swinging in the Rain."

Video: New book tells the tale of 10 murders in Genesee County and the executions that followed

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Local Author Rob Thompson, whose 16 books include "Linden Murders: Solved," has a new book out on the 10 murder committed in Genesee County and the men who committed them and were eventually executed (seven hung in Genesee County).

The book, "Swinging in the Rain," will soon be available at the Holland Land Office Museum, at book signings Thompson attends, and on Amazon.

Meet local author Rob Thompson at book signing in Alexander

By Julia Ferrini



Four grisly murders were committed during an 18-month period between 1922 and 1924 in the tiny hamlet of Linden, near Bethany, between Attica and Batavia. An additional murder in 1917, in which the modus operandi (M.O.) and crime signature were identical, caught the attention of local author Rob Thompson as well. Not an enthusiast of unanswered questions, Thompson began to dig.

“It was a form of criminal reverse engineering,” Thompson said. “In 1917, 1922, 1924 and 1934 six people were butchered and the killer was never caught.”

Frances Kimball, Hattie Whaley, Tom Whaley, Mabel Morse and Ben Phillips in Attica, and “Ruth” in 1917, were all brutally murdered, yet the cases have remained unsolved for close to 100 years. That is until Thompson’s inquisitive mind took him to the Genesee County Historical Society “just to see what they had.”

In his second book on the subject – “The Twisted Tree -- Final Words on the Linden Murders” – Thompson, who will be holding a book signing at the Alexander Fire Department from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, believes he knows the name of the killer.

Thompson’s interest in the Linden murders began with a casual conversation. Sometime during the 1980s a small book – "The Linden Murders...Unsolved" by William F. Brown – was written about the murders, however, Thompson noted that is was a “just a review of the facts of the crime.” 

“I wanted to know why they weren’t solved. I didn’t set out to solve the case, but I wanted to know why...As far as I can tell, the case was never solved because people were getting killed because they knew who the murderer was. I also believe there were a few cover-ups in the case as well.

“I connected ‘Ruth’ to the others by M.O. and signature...nearness to the killer's workplace and all cases being kept together as though there were a link.”

He became interested in the subject because it was something that happened in the area. According to Thompson, the murderer would be considered one of the most prolific serial killers in New York State. Not only because the case was never solved, but because there were at least six – and possibly more – deaths. The murderer is in the top 10 group of serial killers in the state.

“You find little pieces of information and that gives you hope. If you don’t tell the stories, they are going to get lost. History will get buried if you don’t talk about it.”

Studying the existing case files and using modern profiling techniques, Thompson enlisted the help of Mark Safarik, a retired FBI agent and media expert on serial killers. Safarik was host to the NBC Universal show “Killer Instinct” which explored notorious crimes as seen through the eyes of an FBI criminal profiler.

"It was about control. These were not murders committed for financial or sexual gain. He also struck fear into the hearts of the other residents of Linden, likely preventing them from telling authorities enough to result in his arrest.”

While locals were fearful of going to the police, one theory Thompson suggested included a cover-up by the killer's wife, Lorraine, immediate family members and the killer’s doctor, Dr. Bradley. While he suggests all knew of his crimes, they were remiss to go to the authorities.

“I think Dr. Bradley knew Lorraine was messed up her whole life and his thinking may have been ‘am I going to send two women to the electric chair or move on with my life and let the authorities deal with it?’ They (police) knew where the killer was and he was under constant observation. Additionally, how can you convene a Grand Jury without any real hard evidence.”

Thompson’s theory suggests, after the murder of Kimball, the killer had come home and wiped his hands on his wife Lorraine’s dress.

“He transferred the blame onto her when he wiped his bloody hands on her dress.”

When Thompson spoke with Safarik, he went to him with photos and supporting documentation and asked him to give him an idea of the type of person he was looking for.

“To me, it didn’t look like delusional behavior, but had a pattern of behavior. He (the murderer) was cunning, manipulative, glib...he felt like he could get away with things when speaking with authorities. He gave clues. He said he couldn’t fire a pistol but he could fire a rifle, but they didn’t pick up on that. I hit all these points in the research.”

In 1934, Rochester Police Det. John McDonald had said Phillips died when a fire in the bedroom caused the sheetrock to fall on his head. However, the photo of the crime scene shows the man's head is caved in, yet the detective dismissed those injuries to anything other than the falling sheetrock.

“So you had a detective come in and throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing and a DA who shot himself... there were so many conflicting stories, but once I matched up the signatures, I couldn’t help but make the connection.”

Thompson’s background in psychology, schizophrenics specifically, became the backbone to his research. While in Memphis, Tenn., he dealt with the most serious mentally ill people. Thompson called them the “most dangerous you can think of.” He worked in the field for 12 years, handling 50 clients a week.

“They weren’t in prison; they were the unmedicated. My job was to go out and bring them into the system. I worked with the police doing crisis stabilization, identifying the mentally ill. I can identify a pattern. You don’t necessarily need more than an image, a photo of the killer, to get a feel for the person.”

Pointing to one photo he notes the people around the murderer – he is standing in a dominant role, in front of everyone else, the 1924 victim was in the photo, barely seen in the back. Thompson says a photograph will tell you everything.

“It says a lot about a person's personality. Did that person’s personality match anything else about him? What about his hands? They matched the physical genetic deformity that was noted by his doctor.”

Among other clues Thompson found was at the same time Michael’s mother, Sophia, and sister, Julia, went to Detroit to visit another sister in September 1921, several arsons and crimes started to occur in Linden. When Michael was found guilty of those crimes, the judge’s house was set on fire. Witnesses say they saw two people enter the house and saw Michael leaving. Additionally, only two of the murders happened prior to his mother’s death.

Although the victims, witnesses, and the murderer himself have been dead several decades, Thompson believes that his research can contribute to closing the case. While he believes positively that he's identified the murderer, he noted what journalist Dan Hurbeck said about his certainty: “ ‘Don’t use 100 percent, use 98.6 percent.’ When guys like Hurbeck, who sat with Timothy McVeigh and looked into his eyes and knew what it was like to deal with these people said ‘You got it right man. This case is closed.’ I can be pretty confident I came to the right conclusion.”

Thompson’s conclusion stemmed from the killer's signature elements, a blitz attack, trauma to the head, overkill, and arson – Kimbell was hit in the head 22 times with a rock; Ruth’s face was beaten so severely, that to this day her identity is still uncertain; Morse’s head was crushed; and Phillips experienced blunt force trauma to the head.

The tough part was separating it all and putting together the process.

“The most interesting part of it all was discovery. Discovering something new – his marriage certificate, the cover up that Dr. Bradley hid, Julia and Lorraine’s involvement, what they knew but didn’t say. 

“In a small town everybody would have known everybody and they certainly would have known if a stranger got off the train and killed three people. And they would have likely known who the suspect was. There were a lot of gatherings at that time, so people talked.

“On the night of the triple murder, Morse’s son, Howard, who lived in Buffalo, got a call saying ‘you will never see your mother again.’ Then the caller hung up. Who would have had his number? Who would have known about the crime right after it had taken place?”

At one point in the investigation, Morse’s husband, George, was a focus because “Mable was allegedly romancing the younger farm boys.” 

In the end, George was cleared and Howard ended up owning the store, which closed about 26 years ago.

“There is a woman who lives in Linden and her father was born there. When the school closed he would travel to Attica to go to school. She said she remembers her father had said someone from Westinghouse (a factory in Attica) would ask him about the murders in Linden...what’s going on there? She believes it was the killer because he was working for Westinghouse and he knew the train’s schedule. She says her dad had said he was ‘very afraid’ of that man. She also says, that is all ‘makes sense now.’ ”

Thompson holds a college degree in English Literature and a bachelor of science degree in Human Services with practical experience.

“I liked solving puzzles and there is no greater puzzle than the human psyche. And if you can look at a person who is sleeping under a bridge and figure out the reason why – addiction, mental illness, a combination of both. Could the killer have been at that place? We don’t know because we know nothing about the first 27 years of his life.

“My goal is to write a history book that doesn’t read like one. The Linden murders is history. I’d like people to think about it (history) and ask questions. It’s to keep history alive.”

Other books by Thompson include:

    • “The Linden Murders...Solved”

    • “Notorious”

    • “The Prince of Java”

    • “Attica Gateway to the West”

    • “Attica Gateway to the Civil War”

    • “From Hell The Final Days of Jack the Ripper”

    • “They Fell Together” Emory Upton Biography (2017)

    • “The Emperor's Robe” (Ernest Hemingway biography due out 2018)











Author of book about solving the grisly Linden Murders signs copies Saturday at Coffee Culture

By Billie Owens

Rob Thompson will be signing copies of his new best-selling book "The Linden Murders...Solved" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, July 13, at Coffee Culture in Batavia. Copies are $20.

The Linden murders are the most infamous of unsolved crimes in perhaps all of Western New York. Four grisly murders were committed during an 18-month period between 1922 and 1924. Thompson reopened the existing case files and by using modern profiling techniques and with the aid of a former FBI profiler claims to have solved the murders and names the killer.

Coffee Culture is located at 6 Court St.

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