Thomas McKee Arrested
In Jail on Suspicion
A Dynamite Suspect Arrested at Portsmouth

Article taken from The Salem Daily News, July 29, 1896

Portsmouth, July 29. - Thomas McKee has been arrested by Detective Schlessinger of Cincinnati, who charges him with being the author of the recent outrages here.  A special guard has been placed in the city prison, where he is confined.

McKee is an ex-school teacher, and is fairly well educated.   He came to this city about three years ago from Ironton.  His record is that of a quarrelsome man, who would strike and run, but slip away if the coast was not clear for escape.  He deserted his wife and three children about eight years ago.  His wife was the daughter of of a prominent Meigs county farmer, and when she married McKee was disowned by her parents.

McKee's first trouble in this city grew out of the alleged relations he had cultivated with one of his children, a daughter who had left her mother to live with him. Since then he has been frequently mixed up in cases in which a woman was always found at the bottom.  McKee is about 40 years of age, fleet of foot, and exceedingly wiry.  In a race he has never yet failed to outrun the police, and is looked upon by them as a subject for handcuffs the moment he is taken.

Portsmouth's Dynamiter
Damaging Evidence Secured Against a Man and Woman

 PORTSMOUTH, O., July 31. - Henry McKee, 10-year-old son of thomas McKee, the alleged dynamiter, has identified the pumpstock bomb that was found in the Second Presbyterian church cellar.  McKee was formally charged with unlawful use of dynamite and his bond  placed at $3,000.  he was unable to furnish it. His preliminary hearing will be held tomorrow.

  Mrs. Basham is also under arrest, supposed to be an accomplice.

  It is the general belief of the public
that if McKee and Mrs. Basham were implicated in the matter they were merely the too's of a third party, and a party of standing in the community.

  The letter which led to the arrest of McKee, and which Mrs. Basham confesses to have written, was not found near the burglarized powder house, as was formerly asserted, but was found on the Scioto river bank at a point where thieves had been traced.

  Another important clew was discovered by an accident.  Mrs. Basham, after being arrested, was observed making signals out of her cell window.  This window is the only one in the city prison that has a view of the Kentucky hills.  A powerful field glass was secured and it was soon seen that she was signaling to a man on the hilltop, who used a flag in answering.  Officers disguised as berry pickers were sent to the scene and McKee was captured.

  The decoy letter written by the woman at the command of the officers, was received by McKee.  She followed this up with another letter to McKee, which she attempted to smuggle out of the stationhouse, but it was intercepted by the police.  In this letter she explained the situation, and it is alleged, asked McKee to try to blow up the city prison and mayor's office.  That they had a code of signals is now evident, as McKee paid no attention the the decoy letter.

M'Kee Claims An Alibi

Article taken from The Salem Daily News, August 1, 1896

 PORTSMOUTH, O., Aug. 1 - Tom McKee, the alleged dynamiter, still stoutly maintains his plea of innocence.  When asked to plead in the warrant prepared by Marshal Watkins McKee, in a tone somewhat indicating surprise, said:  "Why, land of rest, of course I am not guilty.  I never thought of such a thing."  To a reporter, in a few minutes afterward, he repeated his plea and said he thought the guilty party ought to be hanged.

  McKee has prepared a list of witnesses by which he expects to prove his whereabouts at  the time the explosions took place.  He claims he can account for every minute.

  A detective from Chicago who has been working on the case says McKee is innocent.

  Attorney Deatty, who was refused permission to consult with McKee, is very bitter in his denunciation of the authorities.  He claims he had been engaged by friends of McKee and is armed with incontrovertible evidence to prove an alibi.

  Marshal Watkins has a theory that the attack on the Second Presbyterian church is due somewhat to the fact that Mrs. Basham some time ago lived in a house belonging to the janitor of the church, and was evicted for non-payment of rent.  By blowing up the church McKee was not only evening up his score with the city, but was getting i a lick for Mrs. Basham with whom he is desperately in love.


Tom McKee's Escape

Article taken from The Delphos Daily Herald, May 22, 1897

Portsmouth, O May 22. By knocking down the turnkey and escaping in a stolen boat to the Kentucky shore, Tom McKee has made an addition to his jail-breaking record.