What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 23 hours ago
More in Crime
Not-so-good old days
Readers of the Oxford Democrat's edition of February 26, 1850, were no doubt reassured that "big city crime" didn't happen in their neck of the woods.
The Murder of Miss Catherine L. Adams
The Coroner’s Inquest and Verdict — Shocking Developments. The body of a young woman shockingly mangled, was found on Saturday, in “Richardson’s Brook,” so called, a short distance from Methuen village, on the Lowell road, sewed up in a piece of bagging. The discovery was made by some persons on their return from church, who, actuated by curiosity, drew the sack from the water and opened it. It was first seen in that spot on the 5th of January last, by some boys who were fishing for “shiners,” and subsequently by numerous persons passing over the road between Methuen and Lowell, but attracted no attention further than a casual glance, supposing it to be a valueless piece of bagging frozen in the brook.
Information of the discovery was immediately conveyed to the authorities of Lawrence, and J. S. Curtis, Esq., coroner, took charge of the remains. In the meantime, the act of finding a human body exposed in that strange manner, in the quiet village of Methuen, exhibiting not only marks of deadly violence, but the more abhorrent and inhuman evidences of secret foul practice, very naturally created the most intense excitement in the community, which has continued up to the present time.
On Monday morning, Coroner Curtis proceeded to impound a jury of inquest, and take measures for a post mortem examination of the body. The latter duty was performed by Dr. J. H. Morse, assisted by other eminent physicians of Lawrence, and was thoroughly and scientifically performed. The bandages upon the face were discovered to consist of four thicknesses of cotton cloth, with cotton wadding underneath, the latter forced into the mouth and nostrils, and the whole fastened with a strong cord tied round her neck, sufficient to produce strangulation instantly. So tightly indeed was the cord drawn, that it was almost buried in the flesh back of the neck, and exhibited deep indentations in the cotton batting with which the unhappy girl was strangled.
Some faint scratches appeared upon the face, and the forehead exhibited marks of blows, but the skull was not fractured, as at first reported, and the examining physicians gave it as their opinion that the wounds upon the head were not, alone, sufficient to cause death. It was the supposition of the medical gentlemen, that the blows were given to put an end to her struggles, while the murderers were proceeding in their work of strangulation with the cotton cloth.
A further examination of the body brought to light practices surpassing in inhuman barbarity, if possible, what we have already detailed of the heart sickening and terrible tragedy. An attempt to produce abortion had been made, and the fetus, of about four or five months, had apparently been dissected with a sharp instrument and parts of it taken away by piecemeal. The evidence before the coroner upon this point we forbear to give. it is too horrible to contemplate.
The investigation of the Coroner continued from Monday until about three o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, when a verdict was rendered. It was shown that the deceased, Catherine Louisa Adams, had been intimate for something more than a year past, with a man keeping a stable in Lawrence, named Darius Taylor; that this intimacy first began in Lowell, the deceased being at the time a factory girl in that city. She subsequently came to Lawrence and worked in the mills, but owing to her intimacy with Taylor (to whom it was reported she was about to be married), she neglected her duties and was discharged. After passing some weeks in Boston with her friends, the deceased again made her appearance in Lawrence, and on the evening of the 31st of December last, she was seen to enter the house of Dr. Moses P. Clark, since which it does not appear that she had been seen alive. Among the witnesses called, was Taylor the lover of the girl, who was examined at considerable length. This witness made no attempt to deny the intimacy which had existed between the deceased and himself, and that he had advised her to consult a physician.
After a full and careful investigation, the Jury of Inquest rendered the following verdict. —
“That Catherine L. Adams came to her death between the evening of the 21st December last year, and the 5th of January following (1850), at the house of Moses P. Clark in Lawrence, by means of an attempt to procure abortion — followed by a blow or blows to the head with some weapon or instrument, and by suffocation from the application of cotton cloth over the mouth, done by some person or persons to the jury unknown.”
(Signed) J. S. CURTIS Coroner.
Dr. Clark and his wife had been previously arrested, and after the rendition of the above verdict, they were arraigned on the charge of murder before the police Justice, and their examination assigned for Tuesday, the 19th.
“The accused is a man of about 60 years of age, apparently in feeble health, and of most respectable appearance. His wife is much younger, and of prepossessing appearance. Dr. Clark is a regular bred physician, and has resided in Lawrence between two and three years. He was formerly a practicing physician in Georgetown, Mass.”
Miss Adams, the victim of this most sickening tragedy, would have been 19 years of age in April next. Her mother said two or three sisters are residents of this city. She possessed much personal beauty, and until her acquaintance with Taylor, was deemed, and no doubt she was, a virtuous girl. We believe, and we have good reason for the belief, too, that this unfortunate girl fell a victim to the basest and most villainous deception due to the part of Taylor, her pretended lover, and that from one miss-step, as weak and sinful under the circumstances that led her into it, she was led on, loving, confiding, and helpless, until the tragedy was completed. The criminal annals of the world can hardly furnish a more cruel and inhuman murder than the one detailed above, the facts of which are derived from the proceedings of the coroner’s inquest. Boston Republican
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today.
Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.