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CRJ251: Criminology (Mayhew): The Trickey-McHenry Affair

What was the Trickey-McHenry Affair?

Henry G. Trickey, a Boston Globe reporter, offered roughly $500 dollars to Private Detective Edwin D. McHenry in return for an exclusive story about Lizzie Borden.  The story that McHenry furnished to Trickey alleged that Lizzie Borden had taken a lover, become pregnant, and had been disowned by her father, thus giving her a financial motive for the double homicide.


The Globe quickly realized that there were mistakes in the story, including the claim of pregnancy and fabricated witnesses, and retracted the story. Mr. Trickey left the country under suspicion and was killed trying to board a moving train in Ontario.

You will find links to the brief biographies of Henry G. Trickey and Edwin D. McHenry on this page, along with the fabricated story and retractions.

Henry G. Trickey (1868-1892)

HENRY G. TRICKEYTrickey was born in Dover, New Hampshire, the son of John W. and Betsey E. Trickey. He was hired as a reporter for the Tribune in Cambridge, Mass. at the age of 17. Later, he worked at the Boston Globe. He married Miss Gertrude Melzar of Wakefield, Mass., in 1890.

In October of 1892, he was the author of an article which contained information allegedly provided by Detective Edwin D. McHenry, exposing new evidence in the case against Miss Lizzie Borden. When the story was found to be a fabrication, it was retracted by the Boston Globe. Shortly following this episode, he left his home in Dorchester, Mass., going first to the home of relatives in Evanston, Illinois, and later to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he registered in a hotel under the name of Henry Melzar. On December 3, 1892, while attempting to board a moving westbound train in a Canadian depot, Trickey fell to his death.

Edwin D. McHenry (unknown)

EDWIN D. MCHENRYA private detective by profession, McHenry lived in Providence, RI, in 1889, employed as general manager of the Rhode Island Detective Bureau Company. Renamed McHenry and Company Detective Bureau in 1891, the firm dissolved the following year.

In 1892, he was associated with the Boston Globe reporter, Henry G. Trickey, in a scandal which became known as the Trickey-McHenry affair. He was last known to have resided in Buffalo in 1899.

Retractions