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Micajah 'Big' Harpe & Wiley 'Little' Harpe

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The Resume

    Born in Orange County, North Carolina
    Murderers, serial killers, highwaymen, rapists, and river pirates
    Operated in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Mississippi in the late 1700s
    Micajah Harpe (around 1768-1799), executed in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
    Wiley Harpe (around 1770-1804), died in Old Greenville, Jefferson County, Mississippi territory
    Historically viewed as among the first, known, serial-killers in America
    Responsible for the murders of at least 40 known men, women, and children

Why they might be annoying:

    They were the American counterpart to the Sawney Beane family.
    They were known as 'the Harpe Twins' when they weren't.
    In fact, they weren't even brothers - historical evidence suggests they were probably cousins (if possibly inbred).
    They deliberately changed the spelling of their last name, adding an '-e' at the end for some reason.
    Their choice career was that of slave overseers on a Southern plantation.
    When this failed to pan out, they took up with a rape gang, capitalizing on the confusion of the American Revolution.
    They were Tories who sided with the British during the War, but their actions seemed less out of patriotism than a desire to wreak maximum carnage.
    They also took up with renegade Creek and Cherokees, committing atrocities against colonists and rival tribes.
    They allegedly butchered people, including women and children, for the slightest, most minor, offense.
    Micajah, specifically, was accused of bashing his own infant daughter's head against a tree because her constant crying annoyed him.
    Another of many horrific instances details them being given shelter by a woman in Webster County. They proceeded to kill her other guest and then to slit the throat of her baby for crying (they then killed her because she screamed at the sight of it).
    They liked to take their victims to the top of the cliffs, strip them naked, and throw them off, which most other highwaymen found too sadistic even for them.
    Their serial killings were gallingly brutal in their detail; the bodies of their victims were usually found covered in urine, ripped open, and weighted with stones in a river.

Why they might not be annoying:

    Some of the stories detailing their exploits may have been exaggerated.
    Their wives were complicit in the killings but, for some reason, got off scot free.
    Micajah reportedly expressed some remorse over killing his own daughter, anyway.
    They inspired works by Eudora Welty and Robert Hayden.
    They may have inspired components of the savages in Wes Craven's 'The Hills Have Eyes.'
    They are referenced in Davis Grubb's original text of 'Night of the Hunter,' describing the Preacher's cry of rage in the night as being almost as horrific.
    They are featured as being among Satan's Jurors in the film version of 'The Devil and Daniel Webster.'
    They are dead. 'Big Harpe' was decapitated after being shot in a scuffle (his head was stuck on a tree and remained there for ten years before being stolen).
    'Little Harpe' lived for several more years, traveling with a prominent highwaymen before discovering that there was a bounty on the man's head, at which point he killed him and went to collect his reward money. He was immediately recognized as one of the Harpes, was promptly arrested, and soon after executed (loser).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

Featured in the following Annoying Collections:

Year In Review:

    In 2023, Out of 1 Votes: 100% Annoying
    In 2022, Out of 9 Votes: 77.78% Annoying
    In 2021, Out of 12 Votes: 91.67% Annoying
    In 2020, Out of 11 Votes: 54.55% Annoying
    In 2019, Out of 15 Votes: 33.33% Annoying
    In 2018, Out of 38 Votes: 47.37% Annoying
    In 2017, Out of 20 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2016, Out of 39 Votes: 51.28% Annoying
    In 2015, Out of 71 Votes: 60.56% Annoying