Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mrs. Alice Danbrough, Illinois Serial Killer - 1879

FULL TEXT: Mrs. Alice Danbrough, living about three miles north of Lebanon was arrested a few days ago on a charge of poisoning her husband, Thomas Danbrough, and his brother, George Danbrough. The circumstances, so far as now known, are that Danbrough and his wife and two children and his brother George lived together in apparent harmony. George was industrious, miserly, and was supposed to nave some money. Sixteen months ago he died suddenly, but nothing particular was thought of it, and the event was soon forgotten. About nine months ago Thomas Danbrough also died very suddenly. Suspicions were aroused that all was not right, and a post mortem examination was demanded by his friends, but Mrs. Danbrough objected so strongly to having her husband's body mutilated, and seemingly suffered so much grief at his death that the examination was waived and the circumstances passed off their minds.

Some days ago Mrs. Danbrough went to Lebanon and entered a charge of rape against George Listen of East St. Louis, who she testified came to her house with a drawn knife and pistol and demanded the gratification of his lust, and compelled her to yield to his wishes. He also stated he had a letter which would prove that she had poisoned her husband and brother-in-law. This letter was subsequently obtained by defective Tipton and Harrillson, and proved to be from John Freeland, of East St. Louis, a brother of Mrs. Danbrough, and threatened to expose the poisoning of the two men if she did not send him three dollars. Freeland was immediately arrested, and he and Liston and Mrs. Danbrough are now in the Belleville jail. The grand jury of St. Clair county is now investigating the matter.

It is said that Mrs. Danbrough has admitted the act of poisoning, having given her husband arsenic and laudanum and her brother-in-law strychnine. It is also stated that Mrs. Danbrough had contemplated murdering a Mrs. McCloud, a neighbor, so that she might marry her husband, but these latter statements are not fully corroborated.

[“Highly Sensational. – Arrest of an Illinois Lucretia Borgia – A Wholesale Poisoner.” (from The Times-Journal Lebanon, St. Clair county, Illinois). Fort Wayne Sentinel (In.), Oct. 13, 1879, p. 2]


Thomas Danbrough, husband, died circa Jan. 1879
George Danbrough, brother-in-law, died Jun. 1878
Mrs. McCloud, allegedly intended to murder


For more cases of this category, see: Female Serial Killers of 19th Century America (as of January 20, 2014, the collection contains 61 cases)


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