The Murder of Theodore Brodhead

Author: John H. Abel

ISBN 978-1-949756-80-7 (softcover);

978-1-949756-81-4 (eBook);

236 pages

In September 1868, the murder of a prominent citizen shattered the tranquility and enraged the citizens of Delaware Water Gap, a village nestled in the Pocono Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania.

After robbing a hotel owned by Thomas Brodhead, drifters William Brooks and Charles Orme attempted to flee the area but were apprehended by Thomas and his brother, Theodore. The encounter left Theodore dead and Thomas badly mauled. Brooks and Orme were taken into custody within hours.

A five-day trial resulted in a first-degree murder conviction and the judge sentenced both young men to hang. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied their appeal. Desperate, they hatched an escape plan, which they bungled, and Orme found himself back in jail the next day. Brooks, however, avoided capture.

The hanging of Charles Orme took place in August 1869. It was shamefully botched and Orme suffered badly. After his burial, a minister opened an envelope which Orme entrusted to him. The contents were surprisingly insightful and useful.

Twenty-five years passed and memories of the first murder and execution began to fade. Then, Brooks resurfaced and a young sheriff had to decide what was best for the law and the locals.


A native of Pennsylvania and a lover of history, Abel makes his home in northeast Pa., with his wife, Beverly. 

He is a member of the Monroe County Historical Association and chairs the History Committee. 

He has written articles and speaks on the life of John Summerfield Staples, a Stroudsburg native who served as President Abraham Lincoln's representative recruit. Abel is looking forward to starting work on the life of Horatio Howell, a minister from Delaware Water Gap, who was killed at the battle of Gettysburg. 

Abel enjoys researching and always goes beyond the archives and records stored in libraries, basements, and attics. Always making a personal connection with his subject matter, Abel says, "I stood where Theodore Brodhead died and where Charles Orme was executed. I felt something in those places that you can't get from a paper document."

His one-act play, detailing the murder of Mr. Brodhead, was produced at the Shawnee Playhouse in the summer of 2017. 

When not writing, Abel can often be found on the golf course at The Pocono Manor Inn, an iconic hotel built in 1902 by the Quakers. 

The Murder of Theodore Brodhead is Abel's debut novel of historical fiction.  

Type: books

Vendor: John H. Abel

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