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Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Mystery Solved by a Skeleton.

Little Murders
(From New York Tribune, September 12, 1884)


A Mystery Solved by a Skeleton.

Complicity of a Wife in the Murder of Her Husband and Children.
[By Telegraph got the Tribune]

Beaver Falls, W. Va., Sept 11.—The mystery surrounding one of the most remarkable crimes committed in the Coal Valley has been cleared up by a singular chain of circumstances. Some fifteen years ago the family of John Ireland lived in a cabin a short distance from this town. The family consisted of husband, wife and three children. One Thompson, who had been in the neighborhood for some months was a frequent visitor at the Ireland cabin, called there one morning and found, so he at the time reported, the dead bodies of the three children, all young lying on the floor in pools of blood. Ireland and his wife were missing. Thompson gave an alarm at the nearest house a mile away and a search for the missing people was made. After some time Mrs. Ireland was found gagged and bound to a tree. She affected to be nearly frantic and claimed that her husband had committed the deed. As he was missing she was believed. Soon after Thompson and the woman began living together. They quarreled frequently and one day she was found dead in her bed. No inquest was held and it was given out that she died of heart disease. Thompson disappeared four or five years ago.

On Tuesday, a party of boys came to the mouth of a shaft that had been sunk years before for coal, but for some cause was abandoned. While standing at its edge one of them dropped a knife into the shaft. They determined to recover it. Precautions were taken against foul air and by the aid of a rope and torch the boy was lowered to the bottom a distance of twenty-five feet. A scream of terror caused him to rapidly draw up when he declared there was a skeleton in the shaft. The authorities made examination and brought up few bones and a rusty tin tobacco box. In it was found a document written by Ireland saying that Thompson aided by Ireland’s wife had attempted to kill him but at first only stunned him, that recovering he discovered the three children dead. Seeing he was alive they again beat him and carried him out for dead and threw him into the shaft. He recovered and wrote the note after vainly calling aid. Undoubtedly Mrs. Ireland was bound to the tree by her accomplice to throw suspicion on the husband.




2 comments :

mycatisaudrey says:
March 6, 2017 at 3:21 AM

That poor man, to have his wife and her lover kill his kids then throw him in a hole to die. Why couldn't she have just run away with the man? Money, probably. I wish she would've been convicted and hung.

LadyMohan says:
March 9, 2017 at 1:10 AM

I agree! I'm glad he was able to tell his story, though he must've died an awful death.

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