Samuel Dolish

Samuel Dolish worked as a coal miner and kept a boarding house on Bailies Run Road in the company town of Creighton, northeast of Pittsburgh. The town and the mine operated in service to Pittsburgh Plate Glass, which had built their original factory there in 1883.

Bailies Run Road, Creighton

Among Dolish’s boarders was fellow Hungarian immigrant and coal miner, Ramor Ligjan. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Dolish, 33, developed an antagonistic relationship with Ligjan. After having been heard declaring his intention to harm Ligjan, Dolish shot and killed him at the boarding house on the afternoon of September 17, 1918. He was arrested immediately.


Dolish had served time in the Allegheny County Workhouse in 1916 for an assault and battery conviction.

In another sparsely covered case involving single men living on the margins of society in the shadow of World War I, Dolish’s insanity defense was rejected and he was convicted of first-degree murder on May 23, 1919. After his motion for a new trial was also rejected, Dolish was sentenced to death on July 31, 1919.

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, May 24, 1919

His pardon request refused, Samuel Dolish was executed on May 3, 1920. He was buried in the prison cemetery.

Pittsburgh Press, May 3, 1920

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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