FULL TEXT: Chicago, May. 11. – One of the atrocious crimes in the police annals of the city have just come to light. Mrs. Annie Grabant confessed that she murdered her two stepdaughters, who were burned to death in the home, No. 136 Homan avenue, Wed night. Mrs. Grabant is at a hospital being treated for her injuries which are severe, Frederick Grabant, the husband of the woman, was a widower when he married her six years ago. He had two daughters from the first the second Mrs. Grabant was jealous of the girls and the neighbors say, abused them. She not only beat them, but would, it is said, sear their bodies with hot irons; make them take nauseous concoctions and whip them till they fainted if they made an outcry, thrust them out of doors with little clothing on in the winter time and subject them to the tortures of hunger by making them sit by unfed while her own four children ate their meals.
Neighbors complained to the Humane Society numerous times, and she was warned repeatedly by that organization to do better. Wednesday evening their father kissed the two when he went to work and that served to drive the woman into a frenzy. She wrote a letter to her husband, addressing it to the family residence, and put it in the mail. According to her story to-day, she forced her four children to go to bed in a front room and the two stepdaughters to go in a room, off the kitchen.
Mrs. Grabant chloroformed her children so that they would not suffer pain from the fire with which she intended to kill them, but was not so merciful with her husband’s hated girls, she wanted them to suffer. She then saturated their clothing and their bed with kerosene and laid a trail of oil from the bed to the gasoline stove. She turned up the flames in the latter until the gasoline tank became so hot that it exploded and not only fired the oil train, but set fire to her own clothing as well.
The explosion aroused neighbors, who turned in an alarm. The fire department was quickly on the ground and battering the doors, which had been nailed, the firemen rescued Mrs. Grabant’s children and herself, but were too late to save the unfortunate stepdaughters.
Mrs. Grabant was taken to the County hospital. In her confession Mrs. Grabant said she had intended to commit suicide, as well as to the children. Her sole desire was to make Grabant suffer as she knew he would, when he learned how his daughters died.
[“Chicago Woman Confesses Murder – Pursued Two Daughters To Death. – Crime Committed To Spite Husband – Chloroformed Them and Then Set Fire to the Bed Upon Which They Were Jealous of the Girls.” Syndicated (AP), Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, Va,), May 12, 1900, p. 1]
For more examples, see Step-Mothers from Hell.