Saturday, September 17, 2011

Child Care Provider Accused of Burning Babies In Her Kitchen Stove: Wilhelmena Eckhardt - 1906

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): New York. – Horrified by the alleged business of their mother, two daughters of Wilhelmena Eckhardt, of 126 East Ninety-third street, are said to have given to the police information which has landed her in the Tombs without bail and the authorities say she may have to face charges of murdering a dozen babies and destroying their bodies in her kitchen stove.

The daughters of Mrs. Eckhardt are Mrs. Wilhelmena Ihrig, of East Ninety-ninth street, and Mrs. Marie Shock, of Worcester, Mass. It is said that they gave a clue to John S. Cooper, attorney for the county medical society, which was followed by Assistant District Attorney Pinchot and led to a raid on the house of the woman by detective and the police.

Affidavits are said to be in the hands of the authorities, made by one of the daughters, charging the mother with destroying children to the number of at least twelve, within the last four months. It is said that the daughters revolted when the old woman wished one of them to engage in the business with her.

Mrs. Eckhardt was arraigned before Magistrate Walsh in the Tombs court yesterday. She denied the charges and declared her daughters had turned against her for reasons other than they gave. Saul J. Dichhauser, her attorney, says the allegations are only the result of bitter family animosities.

[“Murderer of Infants Charge Against Woman – Grave Accusations Against Mother by Her Two Daughters, Who Caused Her Imprisonment in Tombs.” The Washington Times (D.C.), Nov. 21, 1906, p. 8]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): New York, Nov. 21. – The spectacle of two women denouncing as a murderess the woman who brought them into the world, but whom they refused to call “mother,” was witnessed in the office of the district attorney today. The women are Mrs. Wilhelmina Ihrig of this city, and Mrs. Marie Schoch. The mother whom they accused is Mrs. Wilhelmina Eckhardt, who was arrested yesterday on a charge of having performed an illegal operation.

Both Mrs. Ihrig and Mrs. Schoch asserted that they did not wish to be known as the daughters of Mrs. Eckhardt, who, they said, is not worthy to bear the name “mother.” Both declared they had seen Mrs. Eckhardt kill hour-old infants and dispose of the bodies by burning them in her kitchen stove. They said also that they had seen Mrs. Eckhardt perform criminal operations upon women in her East Ninety-third street home and Mrs. Ihrig declared that her mother had quarrelled with her, because she refused to assist in burning the bodies of babies.

Mrs. Schoch told the district attorney that when she was three days old her mother wrapped her in a bundle of rags and cast her into the street.


She was rescued by her grandmother, who raised her, and with whom she remained until she became a woman. When she came to this country she found her mother conducting a disorderly house and she declared that her mother sought to have her become an inmate of the place. She refused.

The first she knew of her mother's present occupation, she said, was when Mrs. Eckhardt's little adopted son made a discovery in the house which led to the exposures and Mrs. Eckhardt's arrest. When she learned of the discovery made by the little boy, Mrs. Schoch said she went to her mother about it and she declared Mrs. Eckhardt proposed that they go into partnership. This she did, after consulting with a representative of the county medical society, and with a view of causing Mrs. Eckhardt's arrest. It was while occupying this position in her mother's house, she says, that she procured evidence which resulted in Mrs. Eckhardt's arrest. She declared that she i saw her mother perform an operation on Anna Jackson, otherwise Sally Brown, a colored woman, to whom a child was born in the house and her mother told her how easy it was to kill a child and to dispose of it by burning the body in the stove. She declared that “her mother actually did kill the baby by twisting its neck, and that afterward she burned it.

Mrs. Ihrig came here four months ago from Regensburg, Germany. She testified that she lived with her mother after coming here and that in August last she saw her mother burn the bodies of infants. She says that she quarreled with her mother because the latter wanted her to burn the bodies in the stove. She told the district attorney also the name and address of another woman who. she said, had seen Mrs. Eckhardt burn the bodies of infants.

[“Babies And Burned Them - Revolting Occupation Of A New York Woman. Daughters Denounce Mother As Murderess.  - Saw Her At Awful Work - Twisted Necks of Hour Old Infants. - Bodies Then Burned in the Stove.” The Topeka Daily Capital (Ks.), Nov. 22, 1906, p. 2]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): New York. – Wilhelmena Eckhardt, an aged mid-wife, who was arrested a few weeks ago charged with mid-wifery, baby farming, the murder of infants by burning in a stove and several illegal operations, one on her own daughter, was to-day sentenced to two and one half years in the penitentiary. Clemency was asked on account of old age.

[“Light Sentence For Baby Farmer,” The Pensacola Journal (Fl.), Dec. 22, 1906, p. 1]



For more cases of “Baby Farmers,” professional child care providers who murdered children see The Forgotten Serial Killers.


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