Friday, October 14, 2011

Arsenic and Mrs. Wilkinson

In preparation for my seminar paper I'm spending the fall break weekend reading 1898 foreign relations documents and old newspapers.  Unfortunately, I'm frequently distracted by tidbits more interesting than the Peace Commission for the Spanish-American War.  Just felt like sharing this one from The New York Times:

ARSENIC SENT IN SUGAR: A Newark Woman Claims a Rejected Lover Attempted to Poison Her
Newark, N.J., Sept. 8, 1898

Mrs. Margaret Wilkinson who keeps a boarding house at 502 Warren Street, has reported to the police that an attempt was made to poison her, her three children, and her boarders two weeks ago last Saturday.  On that day, she claims, a boy came to the house and left a package of granulated sugar,with which she noticed there was something the matter, and as she had had trouble with one of her boarders she took the sugar to the Board of Health, where it was examined, and enough arsenic was found in the two pounds of sugar to kill 500 persons.

The chemist of the board certifies that about 4 percent of the stuff sent to him for analysis was arsenic.  Mrs. Wilkinson did not report the case to the police until she had received the report of the chemist.   When seen to-day Mrs. Wilkinson said she suspected a former boarder of trying to kill her.  This man, she said, wanted to marry her, but she had refused him.  There-upon he became angry, she claimed, and said he would get even with her.  The man mentioned by Mrs. Wilkinson denies her story.  The police are investigating.


Caz said...

Cool! Hell hath no fury like a boarder scorned?! It is interesting reading old newspapers. I read of a macabre incident in a 19th Century newspaper about a woman who was running an orphanage/foster home and murdered all these children. Horrible but fascinating!

Nicki said...

I KNEW my coffee tasted less sugary today. figure out who wants me dead. Maybe more time-wise to figure out who DOESN'T want me dead! =/