FULL TEXT: Many of our people doubtless remember the sudden death, sometime in November last, of Mr. A. W. Drake, formerly of this city, but living for a year previous to his death on his farm, east of Moweaqua. At he time of his death his mother-in-law, Mrs. York, was keeping home for him, he having been a widower for several years. Soon after the death of A. W. Drake, Mrs. York went to Kansas to live with her own son. A few days ago she died suddenly and on her death bed made the astounding confession that she had committed several murders, all the victims being her own relatives.
The first victim was her own husband whom she poisoned in September, 1865. The other victims of her fiendish operations were Mrs. A. W. Drake, her own daughter, two children of A. W. Drake, the wife of B. R. Drake, formerly of this city, and lastly A. W. Drake, while in charge of his family as housekeeper; soon after whose death she went to Kansas to live with her son. Not satisfied with the terrible work of death already done, she prepared a dose of poison for her own son, who had offered her the hospitalities of his home for the balance of her life. Not having an opportunity to administer the dose for a day or two, she set it aside till a convenient opportunity should offer to carry out her hellish design. One morning soon after preparing the poisonous mixture, she was feeling slightly unwell, and went to the cup where she had placed the cup containing the poison, and where she had also placed a cup containing some simple preparation her ailment. By mistake she swallowed the fatal dose she had prepared for her son. Being taken terribly sick, a physician was summoned who at once discovered the presence of poison, and told her there was no help for her. Overwhelmed by the certainty that death stared her in the face, she proceeded to detail the terrible facts we have given above.
It will be remembered that there was considerable talk at the time Mr. A. W. Drake died, about the very sudden and mysterious manner of his death; and that the contents of the stomach were sent to St. Louis for analysis, but for some reason the process was never gone through with. We understand that the contents of the stomach are still in existence, together with a bottle of Vinegar Bitters which. Mr. Drake had been using for a few days previous to his death; all of which will probably be thoroughly analyzed.
This terrible affair rivals in enormity any thing of the kind that has transpired in a generation, and develops a depth of depravity and wickedness which we are glad to know is extremely rare.
[“Another Borgia! - Murderess Meets A Speedy And Fearful Retribution. - Takes By Mistake Poison Which She Had Prepared For Her Own Son. - The Mysterious Death of Several Persons Well Known in Decatur Accounted for by Her Death Bed Confession.” The Daily Republican (Decatur, Ill.), Jun. 14, 1873, p. 3]
►Three other deathbed confessions:
1869 – Mrs. White – Lafayette Township, Sussex County, NJ
1883 – Emma Stillwell – USA, Waterford, Oh
1904 – Catherine Miller – Frederickburg, Pa.