Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ellen Etheridge, Texas Serial Killer Who Murdered 4 Children - 1913


Jun. 1913 – Beulah Etheridge, 2, step-child, poisoned with lye, died
Jun. 1913 – Harrison Etheridge, 8, step-child, poisoned with lye, died
Oct. 2, 1913 – Oscar, Etheridge, 5, step-child, poisoned with arsenic, died
Oct. 2, 1913 – Richard, 9, step-child, poisoned with arsenic, died
Oct. 2, 1913 – Pearl Etheridge, 7, step-child, poisoned with arsenic, but recovered.

Ellen Etheridge intended to murder all 8 of her step-children

 FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 6): The strange case of the three children of James C. Etheridge, a farmer of Bosque county, two of whom died after eating a hearty dinner at home last Thursday while the third was made seriously ill, took a sensational turn at a late hour Sunday, when Mrs. Etheridge, the stepmother of the unfortunate little ones, was arrested and lodged in the county jail at Meridian on the charge of murder.

The arrest of the stepmother was made by Sheriff W H W Randal, who drove out to the Etheridge home, eighteen miles from the county seat, accompanied by County Attorney J F. Dillard and Frank McDonald, the county health officer.

~ Spencer’s Gruesome Quest. ~

The victims of the mysterious case are believed to have been poisoned, the father and stepmother coinciding in this theory with the county authorities present and physicians who investigated the case The character of the poison that killed the two boys, one 5 years old, the other and almost ended the life of the seven-year-old girl, will not be positively known until the analysis chemist who has been employed by the county to make a chemical analysis of the stomachs and livers of the dead children complete his scientific quest. The viscera have been in the chemist keeping since night.

Although yesterday Prof. Samuel R. Spencer was at work in the chemical laboratory of the science building at Baylor university applying the tests that will determine whether the two boys were poisoned and the nature of the poison that caused their deaths. Prof. Spencer says he will probably be able to make a report by tomorrow night.

~ Sheriff Randal Talks. ~

Sheriff Randal of Bosque, discussing the case with a reporter for the Morning News yesterday, said that the rest of Mrs. Etheridge had been decided upon after a conference between the county attorney, the health officers of the county and himself. The sheriff said that when he searched tie home of the Etheridges he found a small package containing a whitish powder in a trunk in Mrs. Etheridge’s room. This package he confiscated. Mrs. Etheridge’s was totally at a loss to explain the sudden deaths of the children. She was as much mystified as the officers.

~ Poison, Says Chemist. ~

The package of whitish powder was turned over to Dr. McDonald, the health officer, who brought it, with the organs taken from the dead bodies, to the Baylor laboratory. It required but a short time for Prof. Spencer to ascertain that the powder contained arsenic in large quantity. Following the report of the chemist. Sheriff Randal and Health Officer McDonald held another conference. As a result of this conference came the arrest of the stepmother of the Etheridge children.

~ Protests Her Innocence. ~

Mrs. Etheridge will be given preliminary hearing before a county magistrate probably today. She denies emphatically that she had any knowledge of the presence of poison in the house, but agrees with the doctors and the county authorities that she had any knowledge of the presence of poison in the housed, but agrees with the doctors and the county authorities that the symptoms exhibited by the three children indicated that they were poisoned. She told the sheriff and other officers that she was completely at a loss to understand  how the little ones could have got hold of the deadly powder, if they were the victims of arsenical or any other form of poison. She stated that the only powder she had placed in the trunk was a package of medicinal salts.

~ How the Little Ones Died. ~

The first of the three children to show distress after eating dinner was the fife year old boy. He complained of pains and nausea about half an hour the family had left the dinner table, the nine year old boy and

~ The Girl Survives. ~

When Dr. Thomas Compton, a practitioner in the country, arrived at the Etheridge home in response  to the call of the father and stepmother of the children the two boys [bois] were past medical aid. He administered emetics and applied other remedies community used by physicians to counteract the effects of deadly poisons taken into the system, but the two boys were soon in saying the life of the little girl and she is now ion the road to recovery.

It is possible that Mrs. Etheridge will not be brought into the justice’s court at Meridian until the report of Prof. Spencer on the result of his chemical analysis is received by the county authorities.

[“Suspicion Falls On Stepmother Officials Of Bosque County Charge Mrs. Etheridge With Murder. – She Is Arrested And Jailed - Woman of the Hills Accused of Poisoning Husband’s Three Children, Killing Two.” Waco Morning News (Tx.), Oct. 7, 1913 , p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 6): The report of Prof Samuel R. Spencer, the analytical chemist at Baylor  university, who has been employed by Bosque county to make an examination of the viscera of the two children of J. D. Etheridge, farmer, will probably be submitted to the authorities through Health Official Frank McDonald of Meridian tonight or tomorrow. He had not completed the analysis at midnight last night.

Chemist Spencer, who will be a star witness in the case, if Mrs. Etheridge is indicted an called to trial on the charge of double murder that now stands against her, is naturally reluctant to discuss the case at this time.

~ The Silent, Sombre Quest. ~

All day yesterday Prof. Spencer, coatless and with brow furrowed by tense thought, labored at his scientific task in the laboratory, surrounded by mortars, crucibles, test tubes, Remsen burners and other weird paraphernalia of his craft, probing for the poison the authorities believe the organs of the dead children to contain.

Upon the result of this ghastly quest may depend the life or liberty of the stepmother of the dead children, who now languishes in this county jail at Meridian. She is constantly under the surveillance of Sheriff H. W. Randal or one of his deputies. Mrs. Etheridge has become quiet and thoughtful since she was placed in the jail and refuses to discuss the case further than to reiterate her protestation of innocence.

~ Twice Married. ~

She has been twice married and say« she had one child by her first husband.

Little or nothing is known of her personal history by the people of the sylvan spot in the hills where the Etheridges have lived since the marriage last March. Mr. Etheridge had eight children at that time. His second wife is 47 years old. Her child of her former marriage died before she was married the second time.

~ Little Pearl's Story. ~

The authorities have learned from little Pearl, the 7-year-old girl who exhibited the same symptoms as her brothers Oscar, 5 years old, and Richard, 9 years, and whose life was saved by the prompt application of emetics  which had no effect on the ill fated pair, that the three children bread and milk given to them at 11:30 Thursday morning. When they ate dinner, shortly after noon, three of the children of Mr. Etheridge, a boy 13 and two girls, 13 and 17, respectively, ate with them. These latter three were not made ill.

Dr. C. C. Coston, who saved the life of the little girl with the greatest difficulty, and who lives at Womack, has stated to the Bosque authorities that Mr. Etheridge's family has been peculiarly unfortunate with his children. Two sons of Etheridge, 2 and 10 years old, respectively, died last June, and he has never been able to determine what malady carried them off.

County Attorney Dillard says that the case of Mrs. Etheridge will not come before the grand jury until next December until something occurs to cause a special grand jury to be summoned.

[“Spencer Is It Work Probing Viscera Of Etheridge Children For Poison A Tedious Task.” Waco Morning News (Tx.), Oct. 8, 1913, p. 12]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 6): No additional charges of murder will he made against Mrs. J. D. Etheridge, stepmother of the two children who died suddenly In the Etheridge home on the Looney ranch, Bosque county, Oct. 2. Nor will the county authorities further pursue the inquiry they began with a view to ascertaining the cause of the deaths of the two children who died last June.

This announcement was made to the Morning News last night by Sheriff H. W. Kendal. The sheriff said that County Attorney H. S. Dillard, Dr. J. Frank McDonald, the health officer and himself were content with the evidence they have accumulated in support of the charge of double murder made against Mrs. Etheridge, who remains a prisoner in the county jail at Meridian. No effort to secure her release on bail has been made.

~ Will Not Exhume Bodies. ~

The authorities have abandoned the original intention of asking the county commissioners for a fund to be used in exhuming the bodies of the children who died. Her children who died last June and having a chemical analysis made of  the viscera from the bodies. This decision was arrived at after a conference, the officers deciding that the case in hand is sufficient to occupy their attention for the present.

The first emotional outburst made by Mrs. Etheridge since she was incarcerated in the Bosque county jail at Meridian came yesterday when the county authorities informed her of the finding of arsenic in the viscera of the two children who died Oct. 2.

“Man ought to be as charitable as God,” she said, reiterating her innocence of the horrible crime with which she is charged.”

The charge of murder is standing against the mistress of Looney ranch and she seems to fully realize the seriousness of her position. The county attorney, H. S. Dillard, Dr. J. Frank McDonald, the health officer, and Sheriff H. W. Randal, who are handling the case, are convinced that their search is ended.

~ Sheriff Randal’s Work. ~

Replying to questions asked by a reporter for the Morning News last night, Sheriff Randal said:

“We believe that the two children who died last June in the Etheridge home went to their deaths in the same manner as Oscar and Dick, who were poisoned last week. We have about decided that there is nothing more for us to do except present our case in court.”

In his hunt for evidence in this case, which promises to be most celebrated n that criminal history of this section of the state, if not one of the most celebrated in the criminal annals of America, the sheriff of Bosque exhibited extraordinary perseverance and detective skill. While little if anything of the antecedents or personal history of the woman is charged with the double murder are known when she came to Bosque last January, Sheriff Randal succeeded in eliciting a great deal of information concerning her.

~ She Came from Abbott. ~

He says he is prepared to show when he goes into court that the poison he found in the trunk of the same character as the poison extracted from the viscera by Professor Spencer, that evidence is now in his hands. The sheriff also learned that Mrs. Etheridge came to Bosque from Abbott, Hill county, where she lived with her mother. The mother of Mrs. Etheridge died in Abbott at an advanced age two years ago.

In his conversation with the accused woman since she was locked up, the sheriff learned from Mrs. Etheridge that she first met the widowed ranchman and farmer, whom she afterwards married, while she was working as housekeeper for her brother-in-law, Mel Malone, whose home is near the Etheridge ranch.

~ Mother Gave Her the Package. ~

Questioned by the sheriff about the package of poison in her trunk, Mrs. Etheridge said she was not aware of the deadly character of the powder. She said her mother had given it to her to keep when they were living in Abbott. That was about six years ago, four years before her mother’s death. She said she presumed her mother had bought the poison to kill rats. Sheriff Randal has sought in vain to locate the druggist who said the arsenic oxide. He said last night he had abandoned that end of the quest as hopeless. He is inclined to the belief that the poison taken from Mrs. Bosque county, Meridian or Womack.

~ Neighbors Not Sympathetic. ~

Feeling among the citizens of the county is bitter against Mrs. Etheridge, according to the statements made by county officials in the last several days. She has no sympathetic friends, apparently, for she has been permitted to languish in solitude since the charge of murder was made against her.

Sheriff Randal was asked last night as to the attitude of the woman’s husband toward her since her arrest. “Mrs. Etheridge has little to say about the case,” he replied. “When I was arrested Mrs. Etheridge has little to say about the case,” he replied. “When I was arrested Mrs. Etheridge her husband remarked that he did not believe her capable of committing such a crime as we charged her with but if she was guilty he wanted to see her dealt with only as guilty persons deserve.”

~ She Has No Counsel. ~

“Has Mrs. Etheridge employed counsel to defend her?” the sheriff was asked.

“No,” he replied. “To this time she has had no legal adviser, but I am unable to say what is the intention of Mr. Etheridge in that respect. He called to see today, but he said nothing about employing a lawyer to defend his wife.”

The sheriff added that while the people of the county are evincing the liveliest sort of interest of interest in the case he did not think County Attorney Dillard would ask for a special grand jury. The next regular grand jury will be convened in December.

~ Chemist Spencer’s Report. ~

Prof. S. R. Spencer, chemist, chemist at Baylor University, who made the analysis which resulted in the discovery of arsenic in the viscera of the two dead children., yesterday submitted a report of his findings to Dr. J. Frank McDonald, health officer of Bosque county, Dr. McDonald said:

“I don’t care whether the examination of other parts of the remains of those children is made or not. This is sufficient.”

Dr. McDonald also intimated that the authorities of Bosque county have developed many things in connection with the death of the children. Principal among those is a clue which the officers believe will lead them to the place where the arsenic was obtained and how.

In regard to a further examination into the matter by him, Professor Spencer said last night:

“I failed to find a trace of any other poison in the examination made for arsenic, but had intended to pursue the analysis to determine if other poisons were present. However, Dr. McDonald said he did not care whether other poisons were present or not, as what the authorities wanted to know most of all was whether the analysis would show arsenic.”

Professor Spencer said the amount of arsenic extracted from the viscera was so small as to be difficult to give the exact weight.

“However, he said, “the amount I found was not by any means all they took. The poison could have been found in the tips of their fingers as well as the viscera, as it goes into every part of the body.”

~ One Grain Will Kill. ~

Asked what amount of arsenic would cause death, Professor Spencer said:

“All the way from one grain up – that depend upon the person and on whether they are accustomed to taking the poison as a tonic. About two grains ordinarily is a fatal dose for anyone. In children of course the amount required to kill would be smaller.”

Dr. McDonald, while he did not give out what the officers of Bosque county were doing towards an investigation., stated that some important developments had occurred within the past two days. He believes the authorities will trace the arsenic to the place where it was sold, and in which event they hope to unravel a number of perplexing questions which now confront them.

[“Bosque officers Change Plans Will Not Exhume Bodies Of Children Buried Last June. – Content With Case In Hand – Sheriff Says Officers Satisfied With Evidence Accumulated With Chemist’s Aid.” Waco Morning News (Tx.), Oct. 12, 1913, p. 7]


FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 6):

~ Chronology of the Etheridge Case.

• January, 1913 – Ellen Walker West Etheridge becomes the mistress of Looney Ranch, Bosque county, by marrying J. D. Etheridge, the proprietor, a widower with eight children.
• June – Two of the eight children of Etheridge, 2 and 10 years, respectively, die suddenly; deaths attributed to acute indigestion.
• October 2 – Three children of Etheridge – Oscar, 5 years; Richard, 9, and Pearl, 7 – fall to the floor in convulsions after eating dinner. Family physician saves life of the little girl, the two boys dying.
• October 5 – Mrs. Etheridge arrested and lodged in jail at Meridian by Sheriff H. W. Randal, on charge of double murder. Sheriff finds package of arsenic oxalic in the woman’s trunk.
• October 6 – Viscera of two dead children sent to Baylor university for chemical analysis, with white powder.
• October 7 – Prof. S. P. Spencer, analytical chemist, reports to the Bosque authorities nature of poison in package.
• October 10 – Chemical analysis of viscera discloses presence of arsenic oxalic.
• October 14 – Mrs. Etheridge confesses she poisoned the first two children with concentrated lye and the second two with arsenic.

Mrs. Ellen Walker West Etheridge, who is in jail in Meridian awaiting a preliminary examination on the charge of murdering her two stepchildren, has made a confession to the authorities of Bosque county which, if it is not based upon the hallucinations of a diseased mind, classes the former mistress of Looney ranch as a twentieth century Lucrezia Borgia.

~ Confesses Four Murders. ~

The woman has confessed, according to County Attorney H. S. Dillard, that she not only poisoned the two children Oscar and Richard, who died in convulsions Oct. 2, but that she is also the murderess of the two children of Etheridge, 2 and 10 years old, respectively who died last June. The authorities say that the woman was insanely jealous of the children of Etheridge, her second husband, because she believed she was lavishing too much attention upon them and neglecting her. So she planned to remove them, after she had brooded for a long time over her imaginary woes.

~ Killed First Two with Lye. ~

In the alleged confession Mrs. Etheridge said she killed the two children last June by administering concentrated lye to them in food. The two who died in convulsions Oct. 2 she killed with arsenic, the poison which Prof. Samuel R. Spencer found in the viscera of the dead children when he made chemical analysis at the instance of the Basque county authorities. A package of the poison was found in the woman’s trunk when it was searched by Sheriff H. W. Randal, who arrested her. She told the sheriff at the time of her arrest that white powder in the package was medicated salts. Later she said she did not know what the package contained; that it had been given to her to keep by her mother six years ago.

~ She Kept to Herself. ~

Mrs. Etheridge is 47 years old, of short, stout build and has heavy, dull features. Although she had been living for many months in Bosque county, she was personally known to but few of the people off the community. She kept to herself, rarely mingling with the women of the neighborhood.

~ Insanity Probable Plea. ~

In view of the statements made by friends of the family of the accused woman, it is believed that her counsel will submit a plea of insanity when she is arraigned on the charge of murder. Another warrant will be issued charging her with the murder of the two children who died last June. It is probable that the inquirt into the marital experience of Mrs. Etheridge will be resumed, the authorities having been informed that she was three times married before she met Etheridge.

Persons who have known the woman for may years, however, assert that the statement regarding her multiplicity of husbands is but one of her own wild hallucinations. They declare that she was married only once before last January and that her husband’s name was West. He died about two years ago.

~ Sympathy for the Accused Woman. ~

Mrs. Etheridge has been of feeble mind since her birth, according to J. J. Turner, a well-known Mrs. Etheridge for more than a quarter of an itinerant preacher of the “Hardshell Baptist” persuasion, according to Mr. Turner. Her father is now living in Matagorda county, Texas, engaged in farming.

~ Ellen Walker Her Maiden Name. ~

He was never regularly ordained, but was known for many years in Hill County as “Parson” Walker. The accused stepmother of the Etheridge children was Ellen Walker when she married a farmer named West, who died some years ago. After the death of her mother’s home in Abbott and lived with her until her death.

~ Harmless, Weak-Minded Girl. ~

Ellen Walker was regarded by the people of Abbott who knew the Walker family as a harmless, weak-minded girl, devoted to her mother. She was remarkable for her strength and endurance and her ability to do more work in a day than any man in the neighborhood.

After the death of her mother, two years ago, she left Abbott, and her former neighbors heard no more of her until she married J. D. Etheridge, the Bosque county widower.

~ Married Second Time Last January. ~

She went to Bosque county to work as housekeeper for her brother-in-law, as housekeeper for her brother-in-law, Mel Malone, whose place is but a short distance from the Looney ranch on which Etheridge lived. She was married to Etheridge in January of this year. there are scores of people in Abbott who will testify to their belief that Mrs. Etheridge is a mental incompetent, Mr. Turner says.

~ Sympathy for the Woman. ~

There is abundant sympathy for the accused woman in Hill county, this old acquaintance of the Walker family declares, for the reason that those who know her history are convinced that if she is guilty of the crimes charged against her she is mentally irresponsible. Her old neighbors in Hill county, this old acquaintance of the Walker family declares, for the reason that those who know her history are convinced that if she is guilty of the crimes charged against her she is mentally irresponsible. Her old neighbors in Hill county, however, do not believe Mrs. Etheridge committed the double murder. They are inclined to the theory that the children were poisoned by some secret enemy of Etheridge living Bosque county.

~ Was a Faithful Daughter. ~

The reluctance of the Hill County folk to accept the theory of the Bosque county officers, according to Mr. Turner, is due to the fact that the devotion of Ellen Walker to her father and mother when she lived in Abbott was regarded as something almost sublime. The girl was one of the main supports of the family. To earn money for her mother, after her mother and father separated, Ellen went out to work for the neighbors. Every penny she earned for years was brought by her to her mother. No work was too hard for her.

~ Many Ready top Testify. ~

She frequently toiled in the cotton fields because she could earn more money for her mother as a cotton charged against her she is mentally irresponsible. Her old neighbors in Hill county, however do not believe Mrs. Etheridge committed the double murder. They are inclined to the theory that the children were poisoned by some secret enemy of Etheridge living in Bosque county.

[“Bosque’s Lucretia Borgia Confesses Four Murders – Mrs. Ellen  Walker West Etheridge’s Story Of Crime. – Crazed By Jealousy – Thought Husband Loved The Children Too Much. – She Is Preacher’s Daughter – Multi-murderess Well Known in Abbott and Hill County – Regarded as Weak Minded by Neighbors.” Waco Morning News (Tx.), Oct. 15, 1913, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 5 of 6): Meridian, Texas, Dec. 23 – Mrs. Ellen Walker Etheridge is guilty of the murder of four of her stepchildren and of a an attempt to murder a fifth. The jury that tried her for her life on four indictments charging murder and one charging attempt to murder so decided yesterday [Dec. 23, 1913] after one hour’s deliberation. The trial was held in the Eighteenth district court, Judge O. L. Lockett presiding.

The jury’s verdict was carried in each case of murder a penalty of life term in the penitentiary. In the case of attempted murder. Mrs. Etheridge was given five years in prison, the total of the punishment prescribed thus being four life terms in the penitentiary with five years added.

The modern Lucretia Borgia was first tried on the indictment charging her with the murder of five-year-old Oscar, whom she poisoned with arsenic last October, when the poison was administered to three of the children. Oscar and Richard died, but little Pearl recovered from the effects of the poison. In two other separate indictments she was accused of the murder of two children, who died from the effects of concentrated lye administered to them in June.

The first verdict, convicting the woman of the murder of Oscar, resulted in the abandonment of the further defense, Attorney A. P. Word, who was approached by the court to defend Mrs. Etheridge, she being without means to employ counsel, submitted a plea of guilty in each of the remaining cases, throwing his client on the mercy of the court and jury.

While the result of the first trial occasioned surprises, the sudden termination of the sensational case was unexpected. It was generally believed that the woman would be in court several days at least, and an adjournment over Christmas was anticipated.

Mrs. Etheridge having confessed to the four murders while she was incarcerated in the Bosque county jail at Meridian, her attorney confined the defense to the plea that the woman was an imbecile an d had been mentally irresponsible since her childhood. Several witnesses were put on the stand by the defense, whose testimony tended to show that the murderess had never been a normal person, even in her infancy.

During the examination of the witnesses the prisoner sat with a stolid, stupid expression on her countenance, apparently unmoved even when the prosecuting attorney drew a vivid word picture of her monstrous crime. Mrs. Etheridge seemed neither to see nor hear what was transpiring in the court room. Nor did she change countenance when District Clerk Robert Summers read the verdict of the jury sentencing her to life imprisonment.

She was led away to jail by Sheriff H. W. Randall carrying the same dull, lifeless expression on her face that she wore when she entered the little court room earlier in the day with a prospect of being acquitted on the ground of imbecility. There she will remain until the sheriff is advised by the state prison authorities that the prisoner can be received and started on her life term.

The father of the murdered children, James D. Etheridge, second husband of the woman, was not in the court room when the verdict was returned. He repudiated his wife some weeks ago when she was guilty, beseeching him in a dramatic scene in the jail to forgive her because she had been driven to murder by her love of him. As Etheridge left the jail without answering her, he said to Sheriff Sandall:

“If she is guilty I want no more to do with her. I would stand by her if she were innocent, but if she were innocent, but if she has killed my children she will have to go to route.”

Thereafter he visited the jail no more. During her incarceration prior to the trial Mrs. Etheridge was abandoned by all her former friends. Three or four times she was visited by near relatives, but none of these employed counsel for her defense. It was persistently stated by the woman’s relatives that she was mentally irresponsible and had been always unbalanced.

As on yesterday when the trial began, the court room was crowded to its utmost capacity today. Scores of people came from great distances in the surrounding country to witness the trial of the most celebrated murder case in the history of Bosque county.

[“Mrs. Etheridge Is Found Guilty – Multi Murderess Gets Four Life Terms And Five Years Additional. – Reach Verdict in An Hour – First Tried on Indictment Charging Murder Of Five-year-old Oscar.” Waco Morning News (Tx.), Dec. 24, 1913, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 6 of 6): Huntsville, Tex., Feb. 21 – A 64-year-old woman, Mrs. Ellen Etheridge, has a longer sentence than any other convict in the Texas prison system.

Seventeen years ago Mrs. Etheridge was found guilty in Bosque county of murder of four of her stepchildren and attempted murder of a fifth and assessed four life sentences and one of five years.

The woman allegedly poured lye down the children’s throat. The fifth child, a boy of 13, ran for medical treatment and later was the state’s leading witness.

When she arrived at the Goree state farm for women, four miles south of here, Mrs. Etheridge’s complexion was fair and her hair was dark. Today her hair is streaked with silver and her shoulders are stooped.

A model prisoner during the long confinement, Mrs. Etheridge still hopes for a pardon that she may die a free woman. She is given the privilege of roaming the woods and farm without a guard. She returns to be locked behind the bars. In her spare time she makes lace and sells it to the public, acquiring in this way enough money to have her body sent home if she should die in prison.

[“Aged Woman Faces Longest Sentence of Any Convict Now in Penitentiary of Texas; Entered Pen 17 Years Ago,” Denton Record-Chronicle (Tx.), Feb. 21, 1930, sec. 2, p. 1]


EXCERPT: Ellen’s confession of her crimes addressed to her husband:

“Jim, I did it all, darling, but I want you to forgive me. I did not mean to do anything wrong. The children are out of their misery now and you know how poor we were. We could never have raised them as we ought. My mother always said that her children who were dead were a greater consolation to her than those who were living. You know none of these children who are gone had reached the age of accountability to God, and I am sure they are all right now. I have asked God to forgive me and he has heard my prayer. I want you to be as good to me as God was. Be a friend to me if you can, Jim.”

[“She Will Ask Mercy - Mrs. Etheridge, Multi-Murderess, To Attempt No Defense. – Ill-Starred Woman Has Broken Down Completely – Relatives May Come to Comfort Her.” Waco Morning News (Tx.), Oct. 16, 1913, p. 10]
For more examples, see Step-Mothers from Hell.


  1. Replies
    1. Seriously?? I just saw this on Investigation ID. You have any pictures of her that you can post?

      My mom worked with the great great great(?) niece of John Wilkes Booth. I guess she hadn't seen a picture of him in a long while because when I pulled it up for her online (because I asked if she looked anything like him) she looked like she'd seen a ghost! I asked her what was wrong and she said that this woman was basically a female clone of him! She said it was shocking how much they looked alike. It really creeped her out. It still!

    2. Did she get paroled or die in prison?

    3. She was released from prison and lived with her sister, my grandmother, until she died. Sorry would have to dig up photos to get the right dates. She was called Ainty by the family. My grandma lived in Oregon at the time of her release. I have a little trunk she used, that was made by the male prisoners at Huntsville Prison. She was housed I the ladies section.

  2. My great aunt was Blanche Taylor Moore. She had even come to my grandma's house for family reunions, and bring homemade cookies-at least that's what my dad says, that he used to eat her cookies. We were family on the Taylor side.

  3. Wow! That's crazy! But I guess if you think about it, everybody is related to somebody. I mean, when we see these stories, we somehow think that they are pod people or! The majority of them do have families that they belong to.

  4. "Jeff Davis Show"
    These stories are almost unbelievable
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    Staff Sgt USAF Vet 80 - 92
    26 years - Radio TV Blogger
    Host "Jeff Davis Show"