Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mrs. Christian, Texas Serial Killer - 1883

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Galveston, July 5th. – A San Antonio woman named Mrs. Christian has confessed to wholesale poisoning. The case his for some months been in the hands of detectives, who are gradually closing the cordon of facts, but many of the particulars are yet shrouded in mystery, and much of the history of this Borgia has not yet been made public. The crimes originated in the New England states, one of them being in Boston, where an investigation leading to developments at present unknown was first instituted. The woman has had in all two or three husbands, each of whom it is learned died very suddenly. The details of one of her diabolical deeds are quite fully known. In the early morning of November 3, 1881, one J. B. Burkett, a stage driver, with two passengers, Mr. Howell, of Gonzales, and George M. Boston, of Chicago, arrived at the camp, thirty miles north of Laredo.

The place was occupied by a Mexican to a tend to the horses, a boy, and the woman, Mr. Christian. Mrs. Christian. The weather was cold and before serving breakfast, brought a bottle of liquor and handed it with a flask to Burkett, who invited the two passengers and the Mexican hostler to join him. Both drank, and then he passed it to the Mexican, who several times declined, but finally took a small drink, Mrs. Christian remarking, ‘‘Don’t insist. The Mexican may think you want to poison him.” The invitation was again extended to the woman, and she refused, saying it was too bitter, which bad been remarked by the others. Mr. Burkett then drank all that remained, and immediately accused the woman of putting quinine in it. Mr. Ilston complained of his neck and head, and instantly fell backward, followed shortly by Burkett, in convulsions, and both breathed their last in a very short time.

Mr. Howell procured a quantity of lard oil from the woman, and then vomited freely. He afterwards had convulsions, but did not become senseless. The Mexican, immediately after taking his small drink, was mentally affected by the poison, and suicided by drowning before the poison had its direct and fatal effect. Mr. Howell began to recover in two or three hours. When the woman reached Laredo she said she was Mr. Burkett’s wife, and laid claim to a hack and animals and other effects, evidently believing the hack and animals belonged to him; but in this she erred, and thus secured no financial benefit from her fiendish act. It is said, however, that one of the motives for the assassination of Burkett was to prevent developments of certain facts in a civil suit which has been pending in the District Court, and the poisoning of the other two men became necessary through circumstances. The belief was entertained at the time that Mrs. Christian had willfully and deliberately done the poisoning, but there was no direct proof, and she managed to escape the law.

[“A Female Poisoner In Texas.” The Sacramento Daily-Union (Ca.), Jul. 6, 1883, p. 2]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): A FEMALE BORGIA has just confessed to having poisoned seven men. The affair has long been in the hands of the police, and it was known that her three husbands all died suddenly, but that was all. Three years ago a stage-driver and two passengers arrived at a camp at the further extremity of the State, the place being occupied by a Mexican and the poisoner, Mrs. Christian. This good Christian, to warm the hearts of her guests, produced a bottle of liquor, which was partaken of by the four men, who all agreed that it was bitter. Almost immediately the three men fell into convulsions and died. The Mexican, being effected by the poison, jumped into the river and drowned himself while the Christian woman went off to the town whence the party came, and represented herself as the wife, or rather widow of the driver, and laid claim to his effects, but failed in this villainy, as she made a slight mistake in his belongings, and so reaped no benefit from her terrible act. No evidence being brought to bear at the time she went free, although suspicion pointed to her. Lately, she has been captured, and confessed to having poisoned these three [sic] men, as well as her three husbands. 

[“American Gossip. (By ‘Silver Pen' in the Auckland Herald) - A Female Borgia. – The Manawam Standard, Rangitikri Advertisrer And West Coast Gazette (Palmerston North, New Zealand), Sep. 28, 1883, p. 2]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): San Antonio, Tex., Dec. 23. – Mrs. Christian who some time ago was charged by several newspapers in this State with having poisoned Mr. Coolbaugh, a well-known attache of the press and the Rio Grande Railway, it being said at the time that Coolbaugh was her seventh victim, has been arrested here, charged with causing the death of Louis Brenner a few days ago. She was Brenner’s mistress. The morning beforehe died the pair quarreled abnd she left the house. It was given out that Brenner’s death was occasioned from painter’s colic. An analysis of his stomach is now progressing by direction of the County Judge. Notwithstanding the woman’s alleged record, this is the first time she has been arrested.

[“A Borgia In Texas.” The Milwaukee Sentinel (Wi.), Dec. 24, 1883, p. 2]



Husband #1
Husband #2
Husband #3
Mr. Burkett
Mr. Ilston
Mr. Howell, survived
Unnamed Mexican



For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.


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