True crime book details 132 years of mayhem

Staff Report

Drawing from legal records and newspaper accounts, Oberlin author Don Hilton has published his second book on true crime.

”Murder, Mysteries and History of Lorain County, Ohio, 1824-1956” is equal parts who-done-it, courtroom drama, and history lesson.

Research for the 455-page book uncovered the long-forgotten 1881 shooting of Oberlin constable Franklin Stone, whose name has since been added to state and national peace officer memorials.

“These are tales old folks don’t tell,” said Hilton. “Anyone who’s at all familiar with Lorain County is sure to recognize names and locations. Many readers will find their own families, or families they know, on all sides of the law.”

His books maps out incidents from the mistakenly-reported 1824 Onstine-Crawford murder in Black River Township to the 1956 shooting of Lorain’s William Tayborne.

Some perpetrators were caught, paroled, put away in the Mansfield Reformatory, or executed by electric chair.

But many crimes remain unsolved and more than a few suspects simply got away with murder.

Hilton describes some crimes with just the facts. Others he approaches with a vivid storytelling style, a biographical take, or historical trivia.

With more than 250 murders across Lorain County, you may well find there’s been a killing within few miles of where you live, work, or grew up.

“Murders, Mysteries and History of Lorain County, Ohio, 1824-1956” is available at

Staff Report