Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Catherine Miller, Pennsylvania Serial Killer - 1904


FULL TEXT: Lebanon, Pa., June 2 – No sooner was Catherine Miller laid in her grave than the village of Fredericksburg, where she lived and died was startled to hear that the kindly old spinster had confessed on her deathbed to the commission of four murders.

Three times the old woman told her strange, almost incredible, story of crime committed in the name of mercy.

“I killed my mother, Mrs. Jacob Miller sr., my brother Jacob Miller and my sister Mrs. George Albert because they so sick that death was a blessing I gave them white powders.”

“I killed the baby born to my niece while she was visiting me because the child was a disgrace. I thrust a pin into its soft little head and it died in a minute.”

Miss Miller, who was eighty three years old made this confession separately to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Zeigler with whom she made her home. She repeated it in the presence of a son of the Zeiglers. Then, declaring that her mind was at rest for the first time in years she fell asleep and died.

That was last Friday. Today, after the funeral the old woman’s story was made public. Miss Miller was an aunt of Mrs. Zeigler.

[“Confesses Murder of Relatives Declares She Poisoned Mother Brother and Sister to End Their Brain of a Baby.” Jun. 22, 1904, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Lebanon, June 22. Miss Catherine Miller, an aged resident of Fredericksburg, seven miles from here, just before her death last Friday, confessed to four murders about forty years ago. On Monday, the day following the funeral, Mrs. Frank Ziegler, of Fredericksburg, with whom Miss Miller lived, made known the confession.  

Miss Miller said that forty-six years ago her niece came from Illinois in disgrace. As the young woman had to go back home and the infant would have revealed her story, Miss Miller killed the child by 'thrusting needles into its brain and smothering it.

Later, Miss Miller said, she had given "white stuff" to her brother, Jacob Miller, her mother, Mrs. Jacob Miller, and her sister, Mrs. George Albert.

She became very angry at the Ziegler family for their disbelief in her story, saying: Don t you think 1 know what I did." On two other occasions she gave the same story to neighbors. As to motive, she said that all three of her adult relatives were very ill and she wanted to relieve their suffering and misery.

The Zieglers tried to keep the statement a secret. Old residents point to most convincing circumstantial evidence in the case. Dr. Smith, of this city, who attended Jacob Miller, says that "he died of an inflammation after a very short illness." He also remembers that the mother's and daughter's bodies were swollen to such an extent that it almost prevented placing the lid on the casket.

[“Woman Said She Four People - Dying, Miss Catherine Miller Confessed She Killed Relatives in Order to Save Them Pain. - Crimes Committed 40 Years Ago.” Harrisburg Independent (Pa.), Jun. 22, 1904, p. 7]

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Three other deathbed confessions:
1869 – Mrs. White – Lafayette Township, Sussex County, NJ
1873 – Mrs. York – USA, Moeaqua, Il.
1883 – Emma Stillwell – USA, Waterford, Oh

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Milwaukee’s Anti-Alimony Club - 1927


FULL TEXT: Milwaukee’s Alimony club got off to a flying start last night at its organization meeting, following a dinner in the Plankinton hotel.

Louis Wishrod, Chicago organizer of the Illinois Alimony club, after which the Milwaukee organization is patterned, was there. He told of the good work going on in Chicago, and urged them to start a membership campaign. They are going to do it, too, but whether they will solicit divorces court litigants, advertise in the newspapers or have “chasers” stationed at the Circuit court alimony window to interview prospects, is stll undecided.

The membership of the club numbers seven, and two of these. Attys. J. D. Sammarco and A. W. Cutright and the club’s counsel. Dr. H. W. Taylor, 370 Twenty-second street, was the organizer and E. R. Weeks, 778 Mineral street, is secretary.

The other three members, who as yet hold no office, are Mrs. Katherine Maezini, 59, of 1330 Wright street; Mrs. Lillian Strothman, 914 Fifty-second street, and C. R. Allen, 1704 North avenue.

Mrs. Marzini’s predicament is that after having gone through several courts and interviewed numerous judges and attorneys, she can’t find out whether she is divorced. She is not living with her husband, however.

Mrs. Strothman is not divorced. Moreover, she and her husband are living together happily. She is just “interested in the movement,” she says.

The club has no constitution, no by-laws, buts purposes, the same as those of their Illinois brothers, are as follows:

To create public sentiment, to promote legislation and to strive to remedy and prevent some of the causes and evils of separation and divorce.

To secure protection for children, particularly very young children. we have no desire to eliminate alimony in meritorious cases.

To prevent fraud, perjury, blackmail, conspiracy and extortion now practiced in domestic litigation.

To discourage scandalous and obscene testimony not vital to the issue.

To promote reconciliation and discourage separations and divorce for trivial causes.

Recognizing that domestic cases have many ramifications we pledge ourselves to promote social justice in all matters that affect the family life.

They agreed further that they favor alimony! Yes, sir. Favor it! That is – in meritorious cases.

[“Alimony Club Organized; Now The Want Members,” The Milwaukee Sentinel (Wi.), Sep. 13, 1927, p., 2]

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For more revelations of this suppressed history, see The Alimony Racket: Checklist of Posts

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