Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Burning Love - The Tragic Story of David and Rebecca Schneider

Vintage Bridal Ad
On January 23, 1922 at 3:30 a.m., the lives of newlyweds David and Rebecca Schneider of the Bronx, in N.Y. would be forever changed. Only just married two weeks prior, the happy couple had just moved in and furnished their 5-room apartment on the top level floor (4th floor) of their apartment complex at 749 Tinton Ave.**

After going to bed for the evening, David Schneider woke up to realizing that the oil heater in the living room had been left on and it tipped over spilling and igniting oil all over the floor. In an attempt to put out the fire, David became severely burned on his arms and face. David screamed out, alerting his neighbors who then called for help. The fire quickly spread downward and through out the apartment building, forcing the panic stricken tenants of the building to flee in the frigid streets in the early hours of the morning.

Many of the tenants were not sure where the fire was so they attempted to make way to the roof of the building, hoping to climb down the fire escapes but found themselves trapped even more. One of the young teenagers from the 2nd floor, Henrietta Koser, was rescued by Police Officer Eugene Bacaglini who found her in a frantic state and completely helpless.

Police Officers Gordon Guderman, William Kelly from the Morrisania Station as well as Fire Truck No. 19, Lt. Hamilton Rider, Battalion Chief White and Deputy Chief Carlock came to the rescue as well. As ladders were set up to allow the tenants to escape the fiery inferno, the other officers and fireman risked their lives to go back into the burning building to save the Schneiders.

While the rescue efforts were going on outside and they were attempting to make their way inside and up to the 4th floor, David Schneider attempted repeatedly to run through a wall of flames that separated the living room, where he was, to the bedroom where his wife was. He kept trying to get through, only to be thrown back by the flames and continually burnt. Sadly, by the time the fireman reached him, they refused to allow him to continue, dragging his body outside while he kept screaming that he needed to save his wife. Sadly, Rebecca was not saved. By the time they broke their way into the bedroom it was apparent that she had already expired. They found her body laying on the bed, almost consumed entirely.

Hopefully she did not feel anything, as more than likely she had succumbed to the smoke inhalation before being burned. Nevertheless, a young bride, barely 18 years of age, died so tragically that early morning on January 23, 1922.  Her husband tried and tried to reach her, but was not able to save his bride.

David was taken to Lincoln Hospital where doctors treated him for bad burns all over his body. They suspected that he would not survive his wounds, however I could not find his death in the New York Times Index, where I did confirm Rebecca's death. It seems he recovered physically, but there is no telling if he ever recovered emotionally from that tragic night.

In my search to find Rebecca's headstone, I found two different cemeteries with interments of a Rebecca Schneider who died on January 23, 1922.  One of the cemeteries was Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens County, New York. The other cemetery was Washington Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. I am uncertain which of the two is her grave. Hopefully one day I will  be able to find out.

Rest In Peace Rebecca Schneider-- Never Forgotten!!

(**Note: If you go to google maps, I have figured out that the building no longer stands, but it appears as if it may have once stood where the basketball court for the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media stands today.)

(Copyright 4/19/2014- J'aime Rubio)
Republished 3/28/2018
www.jaimerubiowriter.com

What Happened To Dorothy Waldrop?



If you have read my blogs about the murders of Vesta Belle Sapenter and Anna Corbin, then you know that the main suspect in both cases was Eugene Monroe. Monroe was a troubled young man, who seemed to have issues staying out of jail. He was described by those who had been around him, as a person with a terrible temper, "tortured eyes" and a scarred face. Out of the things he was arrested  and convicted of, I am afraid to think of the many other crimes, and possibly murders he may have committed that we don't know about.

The M.O. used in both Vesta Sapenter's murder and Anna Corbin's murder, was strangulation with a hemp cord. In Vesta Sapenter's case, she was also raped and her lower garments of clothing had been ripped off of her. With Anna Corbin, although she was not raped, her lower clothing had been messed with, which leads me to believe the murderer was going to attempt to rape her but didn't have time or was worried he would get caught so he stopped.

In Anna's case, she was bludgeoned very badly, something that might happen in a severe struggle or out of anger from the assailant. In both cases, I think the victims may have been attacked from behind. Sapenter was hanging curtains in her room when she was attacked, whereas Anna Corbin was arranging flowers in her office when she was attacked. Both were strangled with hemp cords, in the exact same way. One newspaper article even mentioned the fact the very knot used to strangle both victims was placed in the exact same spot, pulled tight behind the left ear.

Although the main suspect in both crimes was never convicted, there were more than enough people who believed he was responsible for both murders. Upon his release from Preston, which his original sentence there was for burglary charges, he went to Tulsa, Oklahoma into the care of his aunt. He was later arrested again in Tulsa, on indecent exposure and later robbery charges. While in jail, Monroe was caught passing a note to another inmate claiming he was the "hottest thing in town." He had also been bragging that he was a "sought after criminal" to another cellmate, when referring to a unsolved murder** he admitted to having committed.

**The murder he may have been bragging about could have been the death of a young pregnant wife, Dorothy Waldrop, but he also could have been bragging about the murder of Anna Corbin, the one he was acquitted for after three trials.

Who Was Dorothy Waldrop?

Dorothy Waldrop was a 22 year-old, former Dance Teacher at the Murray Dance Studio in St. Joseph, Oklahoma. She was also the pregnant wife of Robert Waldrop, a taxi cab driver in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  On the evening of Dorothy's murder, her husband said goodbye to her around 8:15 p.m. when he left for work. Upon arriving home at 1 a.m., Robert discovered the front door wide open and his wife missing. One of their neighbors was later questioned and she remembered hearing a scream around midnight, but it was quick and she didn't know what to think about it so she didn't bother to wake her husband and went back to bed.

Young boys discovered her body June 24th, 1951 on a grassy knoll just outside the apartment building where Dorothy lived with her husband. She had been strangled with a dirty handkerchief and raped post mortem. The partial lower section of the venetian blinds from the Waldrop's apartment was later found in a clump of weeds outside the apartments, near where Dorothy's body was found. According to the authorities, they found Eugene Monroe's fingerprints on the blinds.

Two boys came forward and stated that the night Dorothy was murdered, they saw a man driving a car with California plates around the apartment building and the same vicinity where they later found her body.  Although the police questioned many suspects, including a four-time convicted rapist who had been in the area, all evidence was pointing to Monroe.

When Police Chief Fred Graves finally brought charges on him, they grilled Monroe for 11 hours. Eugene eventually admitted that he did kill Dorothy, and later on he added that he had help from a friend Odell McDaniel; some newspapers say his name was Eugene McDaniel. When he went in for arraignment, Monroe's public defender entered a not guilty plea, despite the fact the police had a written and signed statement from Monroe confessing to the murder. Monroe was faced with yet another murder trial, this time the odds didn't look good.

When it came time for his preliminary hearing, the prosecution had 13 witnesses, which included two African-American witnesses (Edgar Rouseau, a newspaper editor; and Jim Cooley, the Police Department Janitor) who testified that Monroe bragged to them about killing Dorothy. The defense had no witnesses to call.

There was an interesting twist thrown into the mix, when Defense Attorney Amos T. Hall questioned the Police Chief on the stand about Harold Beddoe, M.D., who had seen Monroe during his interrogation. Attorney Hall insinuated that he believed Monroe had been hypnotized into confessing. The Police Chief stated he knew nothing of the sort, and that he wasn't in the room during the time the doctor was seeing Monroe. Later the doctor testified on the condition of Dorothy's body from the murder. According to people in the courtroom when the Dr. Beddoe mentioned how Dorothy was murdered, Monroe "bent his head, covered his face with his left hand, wept, shoulders shaking heavily," and refused to look at Robert Waldrop's face when he testified.

The murder trial against Eugene Monroe began on January 21, 1952.  By April of that same year he had been convicted of the murder of Dorothy Waldrop and  sentenced to life in prison, after County Attorney Lewis Bicking joined defense counsel requested to spare Monroe from the electric chair. District Judge Eben L. Taylor imposed the life sentence for Monroe, sparing the death penalty. He was also given a 35-year sentence for armed robbery of a Oklahoma City Theater in a separate trial and conviction.

By 1976, Monroe had sought parole but was denied by the board although they had recommended reducing his sentence on his previous armed robbery conviction.  By April 25, 1981 Monroe was paroled and he returned to Los Angeles for the remainder of his life. He remained on inactive parole for many years until the Department of Corrections in Oklahoma assigned someone to look for him, being that he had been "missing" from their system. The officer assigned to track Monroe realized his age, being that he was born in 1931 and checked the Social Security Death Index. Sure enough, Eugene Monroe had died on October 3, 2007.  (To read more about Eugene Monroe's life and criminal background, please check out "Was Eugene Monroe a Serial Killer?")


In ending, with Monroe dead and gone we may never know the exact details of the murders of Vesta Sapenter, Anna Corbin or Dorothy Waldrop. In all three cases, only in Dorothy's case was Monroe actually convicted, leaving us to never have full closure for the first two murders. We must never forget those four innocent victims, if  also counting the unborn child, and I often wonder in the back of my mind if they were really the only victims? Could there have been others? It is a very sad thought that there could be more stories like this that we will never have the answers to.

Rest in peace Vesta, Anna and Dorothy (and her baby too).---

Dorothy Helen Camerer Waldrop is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Bates County Missouri.  (Section B; Plot 44) -- 

Visit her Find-A-Grave Memorial  


Photo Credit: Cameron Herrell

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE STORIES, THEN READ- "Behind The Walls"

(Copyright 1/17/2014- J'aime Rubio)
Republished on 3/28/2018  - www.jaimerubiowriter.com 

Sources:
Several archived newspapers and information sourced from book,
"Behind The Walls"- J'aime Rubio
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Additional sources:
Hutchinson News (8/4/1951, 6/26/1951)
Ada News Weekly (8/2/1951)
Daily Mail (6/26/1951)
Fresno Bee (4/24/1952,1/9/1952)
Lawton Constitution (1/19/1976)






The True Legend of Julia Legare- Fact vs Fiction

Way down south on Edisto Island, South Carolina you can find so much history just bursting from the seams every where you look. The aging antebellum mansions, the winds blowing the weeping willows and even the creaking doors at the old cemeteries have a story to tell you, if you are willing to listen.
From Pinterest

LOCKED IN, ALIVE 

One urban legend that surrounds this island is the tale of Julia Legare. The story that has been regurgitated for over a 100 years is that Julia, who is always described as a young girl or pre-teen, became ill with diphtheria while visiting family. Although it appeared as if she died, she actually fell into a coma. Believing that she had died, her body was interred into the family crypt. Locked and sealed inside the family mausoleum, this terrible mistake sealed her fate as well.

The story goes on to say that when her brother passed away 15 years later, they opened up the sealed crypt to find her bones pressed against the crypt door, her fingers damaged from scratching on the doors and floor of the vault. Many websites even claim that the scratches she made are still inside the crypt if you go look.

This has all the ingredients to a perfect scary story to tell while visiting the Presbyterian Church Cemetery there on Edisto Island, but the real story seems to be much different. In fact, Julia's story, or may I say her family's story, is much more interesting.

SEABROOK PLANTATION

The story begins here at Seabrook Plantation, just three miles from the Presbyterian Church Cemetery where Julia is buried. You see, the Seabrook Plantation is where Julia grew up. She was the daughter of Captain William Seabrook, one of the richest cotton men in all of South Carolina.

William Seabrook was born on Edisto Island on February 15, 1773. His parents were John Seabrook and Sarah Lawton. By the age of 17, William had taken charge of his mother's estates and managed the properties so well that they made a great deal of money off of them. It was said that he was one of the very first plantation owners to cultivate sea-island cotton (or black seed) successfully. He was also one of the first to use salt mud as fertilizer for his crops. Besides owning several plantations, William had a very prosperous ferry-boat business, running a steamboat line. It was called the Edisto Island Ferry, and it went between Charleston and Savannah and all the other island areas.

One of the last standing pieces of his legacy, the William Seabrook House, was built in 1810. Choosing only the best of the best, William picked the architect who designed the White House, James Hoban.


William had been married and had several children from his first marriage, however it was his marriage to Elizabeth Emma Edings that brought Julia into the world.  Julia had several brothers and sisters through this marriage as well.  The eldest was Robert Seabrook who was born in 1821, sadly he passed away 6 months after Julia, in October of 1852. Then there was Joseph, he was born in 1823 but died in an ill fated accident aboard the SS Pulaski which sunk on June 14, 1838 off the coast of North Carolina after an explosion in the boiler room. Julia also had three sisters, Carolina, who was born in 1825, and later married James Hopkinson. She died in 1878. Martha, who was born in 1828. and whom married Ferdinand de Lasteyrie. She outlived Julia as well. Then the last of her sisters, Julia's baby sister Emma, who was born in 1831 and died in 1834 at the age of 3.

As for Julia, she was born Julia Georgiana Seabrook, on November 18, 1829 and passed away on April 15, 1852.  There are several books that state that Julia actually died in 1862, however the inscription inside the family crypt plainly states 1852.

LIFE AT SEABROOK

Library of Congress/Seabrook Plantation
If you haven't seen the William Seabrook Plantation, I suggest you do a quick search or even click on the link here to see some of the most beautiful shots of this lovely home and the land surrounding it. To think that Julia walked up and down those stairs, played outside in the yard or wandered down that beautiful alley of oak trees, gives her story a little more sentimental meaning for me. It is wonderful to see that the home has been preserved over all these years.

As most children do, eventually, Julia grew up. She did not die a young girl or even a teenager, who was buried alive, as the urban legends claim. No. In fact, Julia went on to marry John Berwick Legare (pronounced La-gree) as a young woman.

MARRIAGE TO LEGARE

I appears that Julia married John Berwick Legare around 1848 at approximately 18 years of age. In all of the books I have found that list William Seabrook's children and how they died, Julia's death is never mentioned. I could not find a newspaper clipping or any sort of record of how she died at all so the cause of her death, although many state was Diphtheria, is still undetermined. I also could not find any evidence that mentions the discovery that she had been buried alive.

The claim that she was interred by her family, just laying her body down and locking it inside is ludicrous. Besides, have you seen the inside of the crypt? It is not that big, there wouldn't be a lot of room to just lay someone down and leave them.

Normally, family crypts have spaces in the walls to have your coffin placed and then sealed up into the wall. Or sometimes family crypts go below the ground into chambers where the family are then interred and the another door is sealed at the base. The inside of the crypt is bare, meaning they must be buried in the walls or below the crypt itself. There are three people buried in that family crypt and none of their bodies are laying out in plain sight. They wouldn't have left her in there and then buried her in the wall or in the ground later, that wouldn't make any sense.

Another thing that doesn't add up is the part about her brother dying. When her brother Robert died six months later, not 15 years, he was not buried in that crypt. The crypt Julia was buried in was the Legare crypt, not the Seabrook crypt. No. Instead, he was given a beautiful monument in the cemetery. (Click here to see his memorial) . So that theory of opening the sealed doors to find her bones didn't happen with her brother's death because he wasn't buried in that crypt.

Upon my research into this story further, I did find something quite odd though. You see, the stones in the Legare family crypt are enscribed for John Berwick Legare, Julia and their son, Hugh Swinton Legare, who died at the age of 6, in December of 1854. What is strange is that old books about the history of Edisto Island state that the couple never had any kids, dying childless.  So who is this little boy who was buried in the crypt with John and Julia? And how did he die at such a young age?

I came across the 1850 Census, which lists John and Julia as having not one, but two sons. More than likely the author of the book that states the history of Edisto Island, forgot to the turn the page of the census record book, as Hugh and little Joseph were mentioned on the next page. In 1850, Hugh was noted as being 2 years old, while Joseph was only 6 months old.

1850 Census, page 15
More recorded facts I found also state that Julia and her husband were the owners of the Berwick Legare plantation. And that John had the plantation split into a double plantations, the eastern section was to be called "Berwick" and the western section was to be called "Legare."  It was stated that no one had any idea why this was done, but that by 1852 the U.S. Coast Survey mapped the western half as being the property of Mary Seabrook, who was said to be an unmarried half-sister of Julia's.

1850 Census, page 16
It seems quite odd that the property would be divided into two, and the same year that Julia died her sister took ownership of the other half. Maybe Julia was just being a kind sister, letting her older unmarried sister have some security since she didn't have a husband to take care of her.

Mary Ann Seabrook was one of the older daughters of William Seabrook's first marriage to Mary Mikell. She was 46 years old in 1852, the same time that Julia died. Perhaps John turned half of the property over to Mary as a final wish to his wife before she died? Maybe she was left to care for Julia's two young sons after their mother's tragic death?

Julia died in 1852, Hugh died in 1854 and finally John passed away in 1856. All three of them are buried or entombed together in the Legare family crypt. Sadly, I could find no record of what happened to their youngest baby, Joseph. Did he die, too? Or was he raised by a family member?

BACK TO THE STORY

So why do people keep perpetuating the story that Julia was buried or sealed inside the family crypt, alive? There hasn't been any sort of documented evidence put out there that I have found that proves this. I find it interesting how the stories always say she was a child or a young girl, when in fact she was a married woman when she died, more than likely from natural causes. Had it been some scandalous death or even such a fiasco as finding out she had been buried alive, you would think there would be some sort of record of that.

As far as the scratches on the door, floor and walls...the crypt is made of stone so this is unlikely. If there are scratches they were probably caused by sharp objects scraping against it over the years. Fingernails do not cut granite, marble or stone. The softest stones are at the lower end of the Mohs scale when it comes to stone work. Fingernail scratches can be done on stones that are soft, but not marble, granite, sandstone, limestone or slate that are on the higher end of the Mohs scale. I doubt they used the soft stone for something like a family crypt that is meant to endure throughout time to hold the deceased. No, I find it unlikely that any scratches you find being from a human beings nails.

What about the door? Why does it keep coming off? Who knows...maybe vandals who are curious about the story would like to break in to sneak a peek inside? People have been curious of cemeteries for many years, this isn't some new fad. It could be something so simple as the construction of the crypt itself cannot hold the heavy steel framed door due to weight issues and thus threshold cracks under the pressure? I think maybe that is an answer left for someone who knows more about the construction of stone mausoleums to answer that for us.


Epitaph for Mrs. Julia G. Legare

How do we know that this door story is even true either? I've already debunked the fact Julia wasn't a child when she died and that the scratches couldn't have been made by her either. Perhaps this added rumor about the doors is just that, a rumor. Just a made up story to add to the mystery of the whole tale.

When someone finds the smoking gun evidence that states as a fact that Julia Seabrook Legare was actually buried alive in that crypt, then I will believe it. Otherwise, I feel this is just another one of those over embellished urban legends that become too good not to tell. With age the story becomes more and more real to people, and the legend and lore become larger than life.  Sadly, most of the time these stories have little to no truth to them.

Take the story of Corinne Elliot Lawton, for example. For over 100 years people have been flocking to Bonaventure Cemetery to hear the tale of her tragic death. Yet, the urban legend around her story is just a fabricated tale as well.  What about Anna Corbin and how she was found in a locked cupboard in the kitchen of the Preston School of Industry, bludgeoned to death? Yes, she was murdered, but she was not found where everyone thinks she was found, yet people continue to perpetuate the myths because to them it's more exciting. And finally, what about the story of Bathsheba Sherman? Lorraine Warren and Andrea Perron have spun one yarn of a tale about her life and death, which never happened the way they claim. You see, it's easy to believe the stories you are told, or even the ones you read, watch on tv or in the movies....but that doesn't mean it's true.  You must do your research and find the evidence first, don't just go blindly believing things without being shown proof.

Just like the three other women I have mentioned, Julia Legare's story is one that is shrouded in mystery, but not facts. I haven't seen any factual evidence that say she was actually buried alive, and there is no proof that the doors mysteriously come off or that she left scratches in the floor with her bare fingernails. These are just over embellished stories added to Julia's factual death. Maybe there is a record out there that will put this myth to bed once and for all, how she really died and where this "buried alive" story came from.

If there is evidence that she was buried alive, I would love to see it. If someone out there has it, post the documents online for the world to view it. I am all for that, but until then I will have to remain skeptical about that part of the story.  What does pique my interest is finding out just what happened to baby Joseph? To me, that is a mystery worth solving.

To read more about Julia Legare's life and death, as well as other mysterious and bizarre tales of the past, purchase your copy of:

 "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered." 

(Copyright 8/7/2014- J'aime Rubio)
Also published in the book, "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered" by J'aime Rubio, 2016. 

Early Generations of the Seabrook Family,
(Compiled by Mabel L. Webber).
Descendants of William Lawton.
Edisto Island: 1663-1860- Charles Spencer.
South Carolina- Historical Magazine, 1916.
Seabrook Family Genealogy.
Findagrave
U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The People's press, and Addison County Democrat., July 03, 1838.



The Real Bathsheba Sherman- True History vs. "Conjured" Fiction

In my work as a historian and history writer/reporter, I have written for newspapers, magazines, personal blogs and I have also published two books. I have become, what I would like to call - "a voice for those who no longer can defend themselves." Since those dearly departed can no longer shed light on their real stories and tell us themselves, it is up to the historians, who are basically history detectives, to do the work and use some "elbow grease" to dig for the answers and tell the stories for those who are no longer here.

I have become strongly attached to many of the stories of those people that I have investigated over the years. In many cases, I set the facts straight in stories that may have been gossiped about for so many years, that the tales have become a well spun tapestry of fiction rather than fact. In other cases, I have written about people who have never been written about before, finally giving their stories a chance to be told, so they are not forgotten. I am a strong believer that no one should ever be forgotten, and that everyone deserves for their story to be told.

In an earlier blog that I posted nearly two years ago, I mentioned a movie "Preston Castle," (aka "The Haunting at Preston Castle,") that was filmed at the historic Preston Castle in Ione, California. Being that I actually researched the history of the Preston School of Industry which Preston Castle was constructed for, and I published a book on its true history and some of the forgotten events that took places there, I was very upset to hear that the movie promoted itself as "based on true events" when in fact there was nothing "real" about the film or their so-called historical facts. In fact, the information they provided in the movie, only made it worse for people to separate fact from fiction in regards to the history of the school, due to the many errors and history revisionism in the film.

What upset me even more than the fact they used Preston's name in their film and made up false history, they used the name of the head housekeeper (Anna Corbin) who was murdered there and added additional erroneous information to the movie in regards to Anna. There was no ward at Preston named Bobby Wells, and he did not kill Anna Corbin. Just as the Ghost Adventures episode that made allegations that Anna's spirit was there and would haunt the castle and even allegedly "possessed" the lead investigator on the show, this movie also disrespected Anna's memory and personal character.

It just seems that there is no end to the lengths in which Hollywood, or people in general, will go to make a buck these days. So many times they take the story of a real person and desecrate their memory, completely disrespecting the person, knowing all too well that the person or persons they are attacking cannot speak up about it.  As upset as I was about Hollywood ruining Anna's memory, I have become just as upset, if not more so, about the character of Bathsheba Sherman in the movie, "The Conjuring."


WHAT DID THE MOVIE CLAIM?

The movie, "The Conjuring," is said to be "based on a true story" which was documented in the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, although Andrea Perron, the daughter of the family the movie is depicting, has written three books on her experience in the home as well.

In the movie, Bathsheba Sherman was said to have been a witch who worshiped the Devil, sacrificed her baby to Satan and then hung herself from the tree in the back yard.  In the movie, her spirit allegedly terrorizes all who live in the home, also causing all the different tenants over the years to kill their own children and allegedly possessing Carolyn Perron.


None of the information in regards to the history of Bathsheba is true.  History is history, and the facts are the facts. The stated history that has been thrown around over the last 40 years is not real, and it appears to me that the tales have been "conjured" from someone's overactive imagination rather than uncovered from actual historic files or archives as claimed.

I am not saying the home isn't haunted, honestly I don't know, and I don't care about that. I care about facts and historical evidence, and there is not one single piece of evidence to corroborate with the Perron family or Lorraine Warren's allegations as to the history of Bathsheba Sherman, the property or the many unexplained  deaths or "fatal events" they claim took place on the property.

This blog is to share with the world the "TRUE FACTS" regarding the history of Bathsheba Sherman and a few other interesting facts about Burrillville, Rhode Island's history.

THE ACTUAL TRUE FACTS ABOUT BATHSHEBA

c/o brianz190
I have been spending a lot of time researching the history of Burrillville and any historic information regarding the life of Bathsheba Sherman. I have found some amazing facts that will totally conflict with the alleged history that Lorraine Warren and Carolyn Perron claim to have found.

Bathsheba Sherman was born in 1812 to parents,  Ephraim Thayer and Hannah Taft. Ephraim's first wife was named Bathsheba Pain, so it seems that his daughter was named after his first wife. She was NOT an Arnold as Andrea Perron claims in her book, she was a Thayer (and a Taft). Bathsheba never worked on the property of the Old Arnold Estate, nor did she care for a child that died on the property.

Bathsheba married rather late in her life according to the time period, as she was in her early thirties when she took her wedding vows to Judson Sherman.  According to my research, Bathsheba had four children, but three of them died very young. Given the time period, this is nothing abnormal, as many died from childhood diseases back then. Their only surviving son, Herbert Leander Sherman was born in March of 1849.

Census records from 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880, show that Herbert was still living with his parents. In the 1880 Census, it also shows that a 15 yr. old girl named Charlotte Talbot was living in the home as well. Herbert's first marriage was to a young lady named Georgianna. Sadly, the marriage didn't last long, as she died at the young age of 22. She is buried with the rest of the Sherman family at the Harrisville Cemetery. Her headstone epitaph reads:

"Why should we grieve for one so pure,
 Our loss to her is gain,
 Her happiness is now secure,
 Our sorrows still remain."--

Herbert married for a second time, to a Miss Anna Jane Phair on December 4, 1880. The pair had two sons, William (born 1881) an Fred (born in 1883). Sadly, William died in 1900 at the age of 9.


ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BATHSHEBA

For the record, there have never been any sort of records or historic documentation that I could locate in regards to any child of Bathsheba's having died from a knitting needle to the head,  being sacrificed to Satan, or any sort of scandal in the community placing blame on her. There are no records of any strange deaths or alleged wrongdoing of any type either. The three children of Bathsheba and Judson Sherman who died are buried right across from Bathsheba and Judson in the Harrisville historic cemetery.

  • Do you really think that the townspeople would have allowed Bathsheba to be buried in the cemetery next to her husband and children if they thought that she was a witch?
  • Do you think that the church would have given her a funeral or even mentioned her in the obituary of the newspaper had she been so hated in the community? 

From my research in various stories, it is not uncommon that when someone died, that any sort of scandalous events or even rumors that took place in one's life would be mentioned in their obituary, that was sort of expected. If she had committed such atrocities you would think that it would have been mentioned, but there was none.


If you research the property maps of the area, the 1895 map shows the land and the properties broken up by each family that owned all the land in the area.  The names Sherman, Arnold, Taft, Mowry, Germain, Aldrich and others can be seen all over the map. You see, in that small town area, most of these people were related to one another.  The town was also very Christian, having established not one, but several churches in it's early years: The Freewill Baptist, First Baptist, Episcopal, Berean Baptist and the Laurel Hill Methodist churches.  This close-knit community where many were often related to one another, was full of God fearing people and the Shermans were one of the larger families in the area. In fact, Sherman Farm Road still exists today and is one of the larger roads that goes through town.

When Bathsheba died on May 25, 1885, the Rev. A.H. Granger, a Baptist minister, gave the eulogy and even the newspapers mentioned her passing, which by the way was caused from paralysis due to a stroke. There was never a note on her death certificate making any sort of claims that she turned to stone. As far as the respectful obituary in the newspaper, that is not something you would think a Christian community would do for someone they suspected of being a witch that murdered and sacrificed her own children to the Devil. No, Bathsheba was not a witch, nor was she a murderer and it is very shameful that anyone would say such things, which constitutes slander.

When she died, she was interred next to Judson who had preceded Bathsheba in death several years earlier. She had remarried, this time to Benjamin Green, although when she was buried she was put with her first husband and children in the cemetery at Harrisville. Being buried with your first wife or first husband was a common practice and still continues to this day in many cemeteries.

In her will, Bathsheba was adamant that along with giving her son a small amount of money, that the property would be used to educate her grandson and that when he reached the age of 21, and that the balance of the monies left would be turned over to him. It appears as if she had her will drawn up before the birth of the second grandson.

  • Does that sound like a mean or wicked person to you? A grandmother who wanted her grandchild to have the best education and inherit her money?

One thing I would like to clarify, if you hadn't realized this yet, the Sherman property is NOT the Arnold Estate that the Perron family purchased on Round Top Road. Bathsheba never lived on the Old Arnold Estate. The Sherman property, if you look at the map to the right, was southeast of the Arnold Estate.




WERE THERE ANY SUICIDES OR MURDERS  AT THE OLD ARNOLD ESTATE?

Unfortunately, I don't believe so as there is NO evidence to support those allegations whatsoever.  The information on the deaths that Andrea Perron's mother, Carolyn claims to have uncovered did not happen on the property at all.  There has never been any documentation proving that any sort of murders, suicides, hangings or drownings took place on the property.

Some of the people that have been mentioned as having died on the property, such as John Arnold or even his wife Susan who hanged herself, didn't actually happen on the property.  Susan's death, happened in 1866 at their home. According to the newspaper clippings, Susan had been planning the act for some time. When her husband was visiting with a neighbor, she went upstairs, locked herself inside the room and hanged herself from the hook in the wardrobe by a thin cord. The article also mentions that she had a loaded gun, a knife and even a vial of mercury. What caused her to take her own life? Who knows. But the point is that none of those events occurred at the Arnold Estate on Round Top Road.

Other allegations that have been mentioned by Lorraine Warren, was the story of a girl who was murdered in the pantry of the Farmhouse named Prudence Arnold. The facts are that she was killed by a man known as William Knowlton, but it was not on the property either. The facts are that Prudence died at the Anan Richardson House, just north of the Massachusetts-Rhode Island line which is on Route 7. Prudence did not die at the Arnold Estate in Burrillville, Rhode Island.

Edwin Arnold, the owner of the Arnold Estate, froze to death while walking home on Sherman Farm Road in the cold winter. He was found by a hunter on Smith Aldrich's farm. If you look at the old map again you will see that the Aldrich farm was nowhere near the Arnold Estate as it is in the lower right corner, and the Arnold Estate is in the upper left corner. It was said that his body wasn't found for nearly three months, but again, it was not at the house, nor was it a murder or suicide. The other was a man by the name of Jarvis Smith, who fell asleep in a barn and died allegedly somewhere on the property. It was stated he came back from the bar, more than likely he was intoxicated and fell asleep and succumbed to the elements.

Whether other family members over the 8 generations of people who have lived in the home have died from sickness, natural causes or old age, that is an entirely different story. The odds are that people have died in the home at some point, but there are no documents of murder, suicide or drownings at the home or on the property.


 OTHER RANDOM STORIES-- COULD THERE BE A LINK?

To the west, going towards the edge of the state, there is a private cemetery in Buck Hill that holds four graves. Many in the area claim it is the grave of a woman named Laura Sherman. Again, this is NOT on the Arnold Estate or the Sherman Farm Estate either.

During my research of the history of Burrillville, I found the story of another interesting tale about the Old Paul Place or "The Old Paul House." It was said to be in ruins even at the time the book "Burrillville: As It Was, As It Is" was written in 1856. The home, or "castle" as it was referred to as, was said to have been originally built and lived in by the Ballou family. Years later, Paul Smith and his family took up residence on the property.

" Not far from the center of the town, is a house, fast crumbling down, which has long been known as the above title ("Old Paul Place"). It was originally the residence of an ancient family of Ballous, a common name in this town.  A little to the east of the old castle are four graves where they were buried.

It was afterward occupied by Paul Smith. The old man met with many misfortunes which gives the place a romantic interest. His wife was insane for many years. She was confined in a lonely room, and with none of the appliances with which modern science and philanthropy soothe and improve the stricken mind, she sank into hopeless idiocy. One of the sons, an athletic young man,  was engaged in a foot race in Slatersville, when he burst a blood-vessel and died in a short time.

Several families have resided there since Paul Smith died, but the edifice is at present forsaken,  the moss-grown roof has partly fallen, the massive chimney is breaking down,  and the wild wind shrieks through the crazy fabric like the pitiful wail of its ruined mistress.  The forest is growing up all around it,  and timersome * do not like to frequent the place after nightfall. The raven croaks hoarsely from the open gable,  and the twilight bat flits undisturbed through the forsaken and desolate apartments."---- "Burrillville: As It Was, As It Is" (Horace Keach, 1856)

 meaning: easily frightened

Could this story have inspired part of the idea of the Bathsheba tale? Quite possibly. Not only does it speak of the mistress of the house becoming insane, but it speaks of the fact that many in the area were easily frightened by old, scary houses. This old tale could have been passed down through the years and perhaps parts of that, mixed with the old tales of the four Sherman graves on Buck Hill, those details could have made for one big ghost story.


WHAT DOES THE OWNER SAY?


Norma Sutcliffe, the owner of the home on Round Top Road, has been living in the home for nearly 30 years.  I found a video of Andrea Perron and Norma where they speak of the haunting of the house, although at the time Norma seemed unaware of a detailed history of Bathsheba. She comes across as if she agrees that the home is haunted, and that she had experienced paranormal incidences, but later she posted her own video on youtube, claiming that the home is not haunted and stating the research she has done and documentation to back up her argument about the history of the home.

Arnold Farmhouse (1880s)
Why she went along with the "haunted" aspect of the house in the beginning and then back pedaled her story, we may never know.

Perhaps, once she saw the attention the home was getting, she regretted speaking about it and wanted her privacy back. I don't know, and honestly, I don't care.

Nevertheless, that doesn't change documented evidence that disproves the "witch" theory.

Like I said, this blog isn't to investigate whether this 300 year old home is haunted or not, it's about the history.  I have to give Norma credit for searching for the history of the home, and showing her research on Bathsheba to set the story straight with documented facts.

CONCLUSION

Perhaps the Perrons experienced something paranormal at that home. We cannot say for sure, because only they know the truth to that. I have had my own frightening experiences in my lifetime, and I know many people who have experienced such terrifying experiences of living in a haunted home.  This blog is to prove the true history of Bathsheba Sherman and set the record straight about her story and the stories of alleged deaths and suicides on the property that have been attached to the home.

I am not interested in the paranormal aspect of the home in any way. The home could be haunted, it is very old, but the Perron family could have also brought something with them when they moved in, or picked up an item that was "attached" to a bad spirit. Either way, again, I am not here to get into all that. I am here to state the facts on the history of the property, and the history of Bathsheba.

When examining this story there comes a point where you must use common sense and draw your conclusions based on factual evidence, not just the history that someone hands to you and says is factual. You have to verify that the information they are giving you is in fact, real. So I say to you, check this information out, do your own research on the story, search for the documents, the evidence, find the truth.


The facts that I found:
  • Bathsheba was NOT a witch. There is nothing documented that makes any claim of her being a witch.
  • Bathsheba was NOT a baby murderer. Again, no such allegations or records claiming such a thing exists.
  • Bathsheba DID NOT live on the property at any time. Records do exist that prove she never lived on the property.
  • Bathsheba DID NOT hang herself from tree, in a barn, in an attic...anywhere! Records do exist that prove that she did not commit suicide, but instead died of paralysis from a stroke at the age of 73.
Anyone who speaks badly of this woman, a person who cannot defend herself, should be ashamed of themselves. These fabricated stories are the reason Bathsheba's headstone has been destroyed by vandals who now believe she is an evil entity possessing mothers to kill their children, and terrorizing the house.  Most of the blame also should fall on the shoulders of  those who blame all these paranormal experiences on Bathsheba in the first place, and any and all who continue to perpetuate the erroneous information that continues to defame and slander Bathsheba's name. She was just a regular person. She never even lived on the property, yet she will forever be tied to the false history of the home in urban legend and folklore that made a lot of money to those telling the story.

  • How would you like it if your great grandmother's story was randomly picked from an old directory and a huge elaborate and slanderous story was conjured up to ruin your family name and disrespect her memory? Well that is exactly what happened to Bathsheba. 
  •  How do you think her family must feel? Stop and think about that for a second and really let that sink in. 
  •  What if a hundred years from now, someone decides to write about you, and makes you out to be an evil spirit possessing people, someone who committed atrocities against your own children...would you like that? I don't think so.  
What has been done to Bathsheba and her family is wrong and it must be fixed. That is why I am writing this blog. I know that I will not reach everyone out there, but I know that my blog gets a lot of traffic, so I know it will make its rounds through the internet and Bathsheba's name shall be vindicated. For all of those people who will dismiss this article and blindly believe the information in the movie, I say to you, show me ONE piece of evidence that proves she was this horrible person, that she was a witch. You can't, because no such evidence exists. Some people might enjoy a scary story, but you have to take them with a grain of salt. Most often than not, the stories aren't true, no matter how intriguing they are.

Remember, believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.  In reality, 9 times out of 10, the stories you read or hear will not be accurate. It is up to you to find the truth. Please do your research before believing things you see in a movie or read in a book. If they aren't citing their sources from actual documents that really exist, then there is something wrong and the information cannot be deemed as credible. Be smart, do your homework, and then once you have all the cards on the table come to your own conclusion. Remember, fact is often better than fiction.

For even more in depth research, documentation and interviews backing up Bathsheba's true story, please check out her chapter in  my book, "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered." 

(Original Copyright 7/15/2014- by J'aime Rubio) www.jaimerubiowriter.com
Republished on 3/28/2018

Thank you to both Norma Sutcliffe & Kent Spottswood for all your insight and help with making sure my research on the history of Bathsheba and the Arnold Estate was thorough and accurate.

Thank you BrianZ190 for photos of Bathsheba's grave and related family members, (findagrave contributor).

Some of my many sources:
Various newspaper clippings
Marriage, Birth, Death records
Census Records (1850,1860,1870,1880,1900)
FamilySearch.com
"Burrillville: As It Was, As It Is"- Horace Keach (1856)
--info from "Black Book of Burrillville" (from Norma Sutcliffe's youtube video.)
Findagrave.com
U.S. National Register for Historic Places



Who Was The Beautiful Stranger?

Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Island, San Diego County
Coronado Island is a picturesque and amazing spot on the San Diego bay, that tourists flock to by the millions every year. Whether you enter this small piece of heaven via the Coronado Bridge or by driving up the good old "Silver Strand", one thing is for certain- you will never forget the majestic beauty when you see the grand architecture of the famous Hotel Del Coronado, the most exquisite structure there.


Setting of the Story

The story I am about to tell you, (and trust me it's going to take several blogs to do this), takes place at the Hotel Del Coronado, towards the turn of the Century, in fact the year was 1892. I actually stumbled upon this story in an old newspaper archive while searching for another story. I felt drawn to this story after reading the first news article about it, and after realizing how this story has perplexed many over the last 100 years or more, I felt that I should try my hand at this mystery and see what I could find. Many will probably disagree with my findings, however, we should always first state the facts and the evidence when researching or writing about history. One should never put their own speculations or opinions ahead of the facts. I am going to present to you the facts of the case, the proof I found or the facts I have to discredit other "theories" of this story. Then once you are fully educated in this story, you can make your own opinion on the story.

A Mystery Woman's Corpse Found!

After buckling down for a terrible storm that had swept through San Diego, engulfing the small island of Coronado, no one was to know the real storm of events that would take place the following morning.  It was November 29th, 1892 and Mr. David Cone, one of the electricians of the Hotel Del Coronado, came upon a ghastly sight while making his rounds at 7:30 a.m.

While trimming the electric lights, Cone discovered the corpse of a lady who had been a recent guest at the hotel. She appeared to have a bullet wound through her right temple, so immediately it was assumed that her death was self-inflicted. Although her death proved to be the end of the line for her, the mystery surrounding her death proved to be just beginning. Nearly 121 years later and no one has really been able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who, in fact, this lady really was.

The Beautiful Stranger-

Just who was this "Beautiful Stranger" as the newspapers would later name her? Why and how did she die? Was she murdered? Or could it have been a suicide? There were so many questions at the time, and so many of them have still remained unanswered even to this day.

According to the Coroner's Inquest report, upon discovering the woman's body, the electrician noticed a pistol next to her body and a pool of blood. "There was a large pistol lying at the right hand side of the body," stated Cone, in the Coroner's Inquest report.  The gardener, F.W. Koeppen's sworn testimony stated the same information, that the woman's body was found "laying along the steps in a sitting position, and after being dead, dropped over on the stairway." He also stated that he "noticed the pistol lying on one side."  The electrician stated that when he had went to fetch help, he ran into the gardener. Curious about the discovery, the gardener went back with the electrician to view the body, then they both separated, going different directions around the hotel in order to notify the hotel clerk of the discovery.

One Headline Of The Many Dozens
The clerk for the hotel, Mr. Gomer viewed the body, realizing that she appeared to be a female guest of the hotel, Mrs. Lottie A Bernard. He then instructed the gardener to cover her body with tarpaulin so that other guests would not see her, while he called upon the Deputy Coroner and the undertakers at Johnson's & Company to further address the situation. When Deputy Coroner Stetson arrived he immediately looked over the corpse. He ascertained that she had been dead for about six or seven hours given the condition she was in. It was the Coroner who removed the pistol from the ground and collected it as evidence for further inquiry. As the undertakers came and removed the woman's body from the hotel, they placed her in a receiving box to take back to San Diego at Johnson's & Company mortuary.

The Coroner then went to room 302, where she had been staying to investigate there. Upon entering her room he realized that the bed had not been slept in. In the Coroner's Inquest he was quoted stating,
"I found that valise, and on the table I found this envelope she had addressed... Denman Thompson, the Old Homestead. And "Frank" is written here four times, and "Lottie Anderson Bernard," and "Mrs. Lottie Bernard," "Lottie Anderson Bernard, Detroit," and then on this paper I found "I merely heard of that man, I do not know him." Here is an invitation — here is an invitation to the Hotel del Coronado, signed by Louise Leslie Carter and Lillian Russell." He went on to say, "She had a purse on her person, that contained $16.50, and there was a little ring in the purse, a plain ring, and the key to her valise**."

Among the other things mentioned were some handkerchiefs that were stitched with what appeared to read "Little Anderson," along with her night dress hanging in the closet and a hat on the mantle. A bottle of Brandy, a penknife, a bottle of camphor, some quinine pills and a wrapped up paper with the writings that said "If this doesn't relieve you, you better send for the doctor," which was signed Druggist.

(**One thing I find interesting here is the fact that nowhere in the copy of the Coroner's Inquest report do they mention if anything was found in the valise.)

The staff then needed to figure out who to notify of this young lady's death, and see to it that the proper identification of the body be made. But they weren't even sure who she was, so how would they do this? The Coroner had his job to do, that was to figure out exactly how and why she died. To gather up witnesses and evidence and determine what occurred in the evening of  November 28th and in the early morning hours of November 29th, 1892.

With so very little to go on, it seemed that the more they looked into this woman's life, the less and less they could really say about her. They had to go back, back to when she arrived and try to remember any detail they could about her, where she came, and what she said to others about herself in order to figure out just who was Lottie Bernard, the Beautiful Stranger?

To find out more about the history of this intriguing case, and read all of my research and findings, please read "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered."

UPDATE: 10/17/2016 -- My latest book, "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered" is now available via Amazon, and features an even more in depth look at this story. Don't forget to purchase your copy today!

Thank you for stopping by my blog!---

J'aime Rubio 

(Copyright 11/12/2013- J'aime Rubio  www.jaimerubiowriter.com)

Willard Hotel & Pueblo Hotel History - Tucson, Arizona




S.F. Call (11/14/1903)
While researching a story for my blog, I came across a headline in the archived newspapers that I couldn't ignore.

 "YOUNG BRIDE KILLS HERSELF- Wife of Tucson Mining Man Swallows Carbolic Acid." - San Francisco Call, November 14, 1903.

As I read the article, I felt myself being pulled deeper and deeper into this somber tale. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who this woman was, and why she felt that there was no way out of her misery and that ending her life seemed to be the only option in her mind.

I then decided to research further into this story by digging through every archived newspaper I could find that mentioned anything to do with Cora Casey and her husband the miner and capitalist, Alexander Casey.


Backstory

So as history shows, Alexander Casey was born in Cookstown, Ireland in 1842. Around 1883, Casey had moved to the United States and found himself settling in a small town then known as Turquoise.  Cora Casey, was born Cora Taylor in 1879. She lived in Gleason, Arizona although I believe she was originally from Eldon, Missouri. Her father was said to have been from Virginia, while her mother had been born in Kentucky (her death record states this).

She was the sister of Bud Taylor of Gleason, Arizona and related somehow to Rebecca Taylor of Eldon, Missouri, (possibly her mother?) as Cora briefly mentions her in her suicide note. While living in Gleason, Cora was the postmistress at the post office when she met the wealthy miner Mr. Casey.


Casey had come to the town of Turquoise, Arizona (later named Gleason) to buy out the land that held deep veins of turquoise in order to mine it, which he made a great fortune from. He later sold the mine and became quite wealthy. He was always interested in business deals and at the time of Cora's death was in the middle of a deal for $60,000. He was also considered a "Pioneer" of the general area, and had strong ties to many high-profile men from the town of Tombstone, Arizona as well.

On November 17, 1902 the couple was married. Cora being around 22-23 years of age, and Mr. Casey about 61 years old. Within weeks of the marriage, they moved out to Tucson, where Casey had invested in building a grand hotel. Cora was leaving the small mining town of Gleason and heading out to Tucson, a bigger and more active city, a move she later would regret.

 History of the Hotel

Photo Credit: Andy Taylor
I did some digging online and found several sites that state different information about the history of this historic hotel located at 145 S 6th Avenue in Tucson, Arizona.  I wrote the local historical society in Tuscon and had not heard back in regards to information pertaining Cora, Alex and the Willard Hotel (which was later named the Pueblo Hotel and Apartments).  So here's what I dug up on my own:


Photo Credit: Andy Taylor
Alexander Casey invested his money into the building of the hotel. One of the websites I first found stated that initially Casey wanted the hotel to be named the "Hotel Casey", which makes sense being that it was his last name. However, according to a few sites, the hotel was opened in September of 1902  as the "Willard Hotel." These same sites claim that it was Willard Wright and Charles Fleming who had built and designed the hotel as the "owners"--- This is incorrect, according to all the information I found.

The Facts

Architect, Henry C. Trost was hired to design this beautiful building, a building that Alexander Casey owned. According to the Tombstone Epitaph, dated March 23, 1902, it stated that Alex Casey contracted to McMillen and Southworth to construct the building for $15,750. The construction was pushed to be done rapidly, in order to complete the hotel by the coming Summer of 1902.


from Piccaretta Davis PC (law office website)

The hotel design contained the 30 rooms and was to be of pressed brick instead of the original proposed design for plain brick plastered. The building was to be set on the corner of Twelfth Street and Sixth Avenue, and a rear courtyard was to be constructed in the back. It goes into detail that Mr. Casey even traveled all the way to Los Angeles to purchase a fountain to be installed in the patio. It also states he would be spending an additional $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 on improving the grounds around and in front of the hotel.

Willard Hotel (via Laurie's Wild West)
Casey then "leased" the building out to Willard Wright and Charles Fleming who in turn used the name "Willard Hotel" ( via Henry C. Trost Historical Organization).  The Tucson Citizen (9/2/1902) and the Arizona Daily Citizen (9/3/1902) as posted online, was said to have quoted the hotel decor of the building as being "solid oak and birds eye maple", with "iron bed steads", Brussels carpets, large windows that were elegantly curtained and that each bedroom had different carpets and rugs. In fact, it was said "no two carpets were alike for each room."  Certainly, the design and thought given to decorate this hotel took a person with impeccable taste and class. It was supposed to be the grandest hotel known to the area for that time period.

According to a blog known as "Laurie's Wild West", she writes that an article in the Star (July 8, 1903) stated that within less than a year of the Grand Opening, Wright and Fleming could no longer afford the rent of the hotel. They requested a reduction in the rent of the hotel to Mr. Casey but he would not compromise. Instead, it is mentioned that Casey even turned the water off at the hotel after being told they could not make their regular payments for their lease. It seems that Wright and Fleming were booted out and Casey took back control of his hotel.

Newspaper archives confirm that Casey then hired William Siewert, to help him manage the hotel. Did Casey turn over the "ownership" of the Willard  to Siewart, but continued to be the manager and proprietor all the while residing in the hotel? I cannot say for sure, however, Casey remained the manager and proprietor in recorded documents and I haven't seen any records state that he sold the hotel to Siewart.  Regular advertisements in the Bisbee Daily Review of that time period show that every weekly ad referred to Mr. Alexander Casey as the "Proprietor and Manager" of the hotel. It also mentions that Casey had re-opened the hotel as of September 1, 1903.

The Shootout

At around 5 pm, on October 27th, 1903, Alex Casey went crazy in his own hotel. As the Bisbee Daily Review (October 29,1903) states, Casey was "tanked up on whiskey" in his room (#11) "entertaining himself loudly, swearing and calling for vengeance." Many of the staff at the hotel were concerned by the noise he was making from his room that they approached Mr. Siewart to see if he could quiet him.

Mr. Siewart came down the hall to Casey's room just as he was opening up the door into the hallway. He had his Winchester Rifle and a six-shooter with him and he was hell bent on causing a ruckus. Mr. Siewart thought he would try to calm the situation by trying to shake hands with Mr. Casey and saying,
"How are you Mr. Casey? Haven't seen you today."

His diplomatic approach to distract Mr. Casey fell on deaf ears, as Casey threatened destruction to everyone in the building. He then went on a rampage, running out towards the office and then outside to the north of the building. He saw Mr. Gleamer (the hotel head waiter) and "took a couple pot shots at him," but missed. Then Casey went back into the hotel shooting 40 shots and leaving the hallways, doors and walls of the first floor riddled with bullet holes, and guests terrified for their own safety.


The paper stated, "It is a little less than miraculous that someone or a dozen were not killed. Bullets struck the door of the main entrance and marks checkered all over the plastering of the office and hallway."

The authorities were called in, and Constables Frazer and Pacheco arrived shortly thereafter. Although Casey resisted arrest and a gunfight ensued, eventually he was apprehended by Constable Pacheco. During the ruckus, both Pacheco and Casey were wounded in the shoot out. Thankfully neither one of their injuries proved to be serious. Pacheco had been shot in the left arm while Casey had graze wounds on his face and under the arm pit area.

After he had been sent to the County Jail, friends of Casey spoke out, mentioning that he seemed to be "mentally unbalanced", especially after a few drinks. It seemed as if the honeymoon was over between Casey and his wife Cora, and friends mentioned his constant abuse to his young wife.

You see this wasn't the first time Casey had been arrested for assault. In fact, after marrying Cora and moving to Tucson, Casey had started drinking a lot more than usual. He began to strike his wife and beat her regularly, always threatening to kill her and tormenting her into submission. Sadly, no one did anything to intervene and help this poor girl so it had escalated to an altercation where Cora had him arrested. Obviously suffering from "battered woman's syndrome," instead of fleeing her abuser she took him back and even managed to get her husband out of Jail on a peace bond for the amount of $3,500.00, although the Judge lowered it to $1,500.00.  After the hotel fiasco, this was the second incident where Casey had caused harm so the authorities planned on keeping him in jail this time.


The  Tragic Event

According to the Bisbee Daily Review (November 17, 1903), it states, "Tired of a full life of sorrow, the wife of Alex Casey took the poison which ended her unhappy life- expired in great agony."
It goes on to state in great detail the date of her tragic suicide. According to eye witness accounts told to the newspaper was that earlier in the week Cora had received a note (either by way of Casey's attorney Roscoe Dale or A.W. Smith), notifying her to vacate the room in which the couple had been living. Basically, she was served an eviction notice that was ordered by her husband.

Cora had confided in Mr. Siewart that she was "heart broken" when she received the notice, that she didn't have anyone in the world to turn to and that she wanted to die and end her troubles. On Thursday the 12th of November, she went to the Pima County Jail to visit her husband. She had wanted to speak to him about leaving Tucson and moving back to Gleason so she could stay with her brother, Bud Taylor. It is unknown as to what the reaction or answer Casey gave her, but he did order that she be given $50.00 when she left.

By the time she arrived back at the hotel, she spoke to her maid, and stated that she had saved $75, "enough to bury her." It seemed as though Cora had taken time to think the decision over about committing suicide, and that this was not just a "spur of the moment" idea.

The very next day (Friday the 13th), Cora appeared to be deeper and deeper depressed. She spent the entire morning on the west porch of the hotel alone. By 2 o'clock in the afternoon she had phoned Fleishman's drug store in town and requested a bottle of carbolic acid be delivered.

Her friend, (and I suspect that she was her maid), Miss Conlon attempted to stay with her in her room that evening to keep an eye on her. However, just before the 9 o'clock hour, Cora insisted that she wanted to be alone. As soon as Miss Conlon retired to her room next door, Cora wasted no time attempting her suicide.  Around 9 o'clock, Mr. Siewart was making his rounds of the hotel when he heard "groans issuing from the room occupied by Mrs. Casey and he went towards the door to see what the trouble was. As he was about to turn the knob, the door opened and Mrs. Casey fell forward on him, crying, "I am dying, I am dying!"

Mr. Siewart carried her to bed and called for the doctor, however it took nearly 15 minutes before Dr. Olcott arrived to tend to her. Although he tried remedies to help her and even pumped her stomach, it was too late. The paper stated, "She suffered the most excruciating agony from the effects of the poison as witnessed by the expression on her face and the twisted position of her body when death relieved her of the awful suffering."

Mr. Culver, the Coroner viewed her body and ordered that she be taken to the Reilly Undertaking parlors, where they would view her corpse the next morning for a "Coroner's Jury."  After she was removed from the room, her Bible was located under the foot of her mattress with a note stuffed inside of it. It read:

"November 13.-  
Send all my clothes and belongings to Rebecca Taylor, Eldon Mo.
I am out of my misery now. When I am dead I hope that Casey will be happy.
I want to be buried in Tucson. I die where I was cursed.
Had other people not meddled, he would have done different.
Smith is to blame for it. I have always done what is right and I am not afraid to die.
- Cora

According to the papers, when Casey found out that his wife had taken her own life he went into shock. Then he broke down in tears as if he had gone mad. "What have I done that this should happen!" he yelled out from his jail cell as he begged God to take his life. He crawled onto his cot in his cell, buckled over crying out "Cora! Cora!"  He was inconsolable and friends believed that he basically went mad at that point.

So Who Was Smith?

Cora's suicide note blamed Smith for the destruction of her marriage and for her suicide. So who was he? From what I have found, he was A. W. Smith. What he did for a living I cannot seem to find, however he was somehow connected with Roscoe Dale (Casey's attorney) and he had "Power of Attorney" over Casey, which I am guessing means Smith may have been his accountant, thus the reason he had P.O.A. over Casey's finances while Casey was in jail and unable to manage his affairs on his own? (just a guess). But then, why wasn't his attorney in charge of that? Who knows...

When Smith was questioned about his "meddling" of the Casey's life, he stated "never at any time had I interfered in the family affairs of the Casey's....at all times I endeavored to reconcile Mr. and Mrs. Casey." It was also said that Smith seemed grieved at hearing of Cora's death and that he was adamant that he did not serve Cora with the "eviction" note, that he was ordered by Casey's attorney to do so, but that he "unqualifiedly refused."

Although there is never a mention on what sort of  issue prompted Casey's acts of violence or madness, one can only assume that perhaps stories of possible infidelity, improprieties or even money troubles could have been the cause of this whole mess. From Cora's own admission, she was adamant that she had "always done what was right." This makes me think that she wanted to once and for all clear the air on any doubts or speculation that either her husband or  possibly others may have questioned about her character.

Casey's Consequences

By December of 1903, Governor Stoddard had denied the application of pardon that was requested by Alex Casey in his "assault with a deadly weapons" charge he was being held for. He had been ordered to serve a six month sentence and pay a $50 fine. Casey's friend, who happened to be the local Justice of the Peace, had attempted to reduce his sentence to time served (33 days) and to pay a larger fine of $250.00.  Being that Casey had already served the 33 days and paid the fine upfront, the JOTP was just about to order Casey's release when the Sheriff actually refused. He claimed that he wanted the State to look over the case, being that they had "inherent jurisdiction" over the matter.

Casey had the help of some pretty powerful friends, including Judge Reilly from Tombstone. Even multi-millionaire mining man, Martin Costello attempted to vouch for his friend Alex Casey in order to secure his release. A "writ of habeas corpus" was sworn out and heard by Judge Davis in Yuma, and  the Judge dismissed that. Eventually the executive clemency was sought by Casey, and it was then that the Governor denied his pardon as well.

Eventually he was able to be released, and newspapers claim that he had made plans to leave the country. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find when and where he was released or when he finally left the U.S. back to his homeland. I did find his death notice posted in the Tombstone Epitaph on February 6, 1910. It stated that he had "recently" moved back to Cookstown, Ireland where he died from pneumonia on January 14th, 1910.


Where Is Cora Casey Buried?

I have been searching for a way to locate burial records for Cora Casey, to no avail. According to her death records, her body was taken back to Eldon, Missouri and buried there. I have not been able to locate where in Eldon she is buried.  So the mystery of where Cora's final resting place still remains unknown, for now. I intend to keep searching for answers.

I have since entered her information into the Findagrave database online. I have the hope that if someone comes across her headstone in a cemetery somewhere, then they can see I have made her a memorial on Findagrave with her information on it and can add her photo and burial information to it. Feel free to visit Cora's virtual memorial here.

Conclusion

During my research to find out Cora's story, I unfolded so much more than even I expected to find. Even at the turn of the Century this was a certain case of domestic violence at its worst. Not only did Alexander Casey beat Cora physically- as confirmed by his own friends accounts, but he mentally and emotionally scarred her beyond the point of repair. The damage was so severe and so overwhelming that ultimately it pushed Cora over the edge, to the point of suicide.

I must confess, while I was reading Cora's story, I could relate to her. I could sympathize with her situation, as I too have been victim of a domestically violent marriage. I recalled the initial phase of the relationship, being so happy, but then so suddenly the person changing like Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Feeling like it was something I had done wrong, it was my fault that he was abusive to me. I convinced myself that I must have done something to deserve the way he treated me. I recall a drunk man screaming at me, cursing obscenities and claiming that he would kill me on a regular basis. I also recall several times where he nearly did take my life, and times I considered ending mine as well.

No one should have to suffer through these sorts of relationships, as they are volatile and dangerous.  Perhaps Cora thought she could fix Alexander, but she learned in the end that he was not fixable. He had the problem, he had issues he didn't want to deal with. Sadly, Cora had no one to go to confide in and no one wanted to step up to help her. Thus in her lonely, depressed and fragile state, death seemed to be her only option.

Cora's case is so similar to that of cases seen even at the present day. Her death could have been avoided if she had been helped in time. When I read Cora's story, I feel like I am reading my own story. One that could have ended the same way as Cora's, but one I decided on my own to have a different ending. I changed my situation for the better and removed myself from the abusive relationship, and I will never go back. Everyone deserves to live without fear. Sadly, Cora couldn't be given that safety and security in life that she needed so badly. Although her death is one so tragic and so sad, let's take heart in the fact that perhaps in death, she finally reached that peace she yearned so badly for, far away from Alex Casey.   REST IN PEACE CORA TAYLOR CASEY---

To read more about Cora Casey, as well as other mysterious and bizarre tales from the past, purchase your copy of: 
"STORIES OF THE FORGOTTEN: INFAMOUS, FAMOUS & UNREMEMBERED" AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON! 

(J'aime Rubio, Copyright 10/6/2013)
Also published in the book, "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered" by J'aime Rubio, 2016.

Acknowledgments:

Thank you to Andy Taylor for the recent photos of the Willard Hotel aka Pueblo Hotel and Apartments, which is now an attorney office building.

Thank you to Laurie Powers, from Laurie's Wild West Blog, for the photo
and for the additional information on the Willard Hotel's vast history.

Also, thank you to Barry Davis, from Piccaretta Davis PC (law office) 
which is located in the original Willard Hotel building.

Sources:
Tombstone Epitaph 3/23/1902
Tucson Citizen 9/2/1902
Arizona Daily Citizen 9/3/1902
Star 7/8/1903
Bisbee Daily Review 10/29/1903
San Francisco Call 11/14/1903
Los Angeles Herald 11/14/1903
New York Times 11/15/1903
Bisbee Daily Review 11/17/1903
Coconino Sun 11/21/1903
Bisbee Daily Review 12/15/1903
Arizona Republican 12/25/1903
Tombstone Epitaph 2/6/1910
"Laurie's Wild West" blog
Henry C. Trost Historical Organization

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