Frontier Justice

North of Dixon Ky on Hwy 41

First Serial Killers in America


Street View 


Micajah & Wiley Harpe Brothers Big and Little Harpe have been credited by historian Paul I. Wellman with 30+ murders in Kentucky and Tennessee in the 1790's. The wandering types, they enjoyed killing on whim. Once Big Harpe quieted a crying baby by bashing its skull in. Many victims were disposed by stuffing stones within their abdomens before dumping them in the nearest river.

They used a more dramatic method of killing when they temporarily joined Sam Mason's river pirates. After the gang had taken a man prisoner, the Harpes bound him naked to the back of a horse and goaded it to run over a cliff into the Ohio River. Though the river pirates had a reputation for being hard cases, this was too much for them and the Harpes were sent packing. Shortly after that a posse of citizens caught up with Big Harpe and mounted his severed head on a tree. Little Harpe, not as psychotic as his brother, met an uncertain fate, possibly being killed in a river boat fight.

Update Log 

  • December 28, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added GPS coords.
  • June 26, 2010: Added by J.P.