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1878: May Phillips, wife of Isaac, of Jersey City, murdered their babe boy

  • Mamie
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03 Feb 2015 08:01 #1612 by Mamie

A Young Mother's Story of How She Poisoned Her Child.

(New York Post.)
At nine o'clock Friday morning a young woman fashionably dressed walked into police headquarters, Jersey City, and inquired for Chief of Police Nathan. When the Chief presented himself she exclaimed excitedly: "I have murdered my child and wish to surrender myself into custody."

The Chief, astonished by the suddenness and horror of the announcement, suspected that she had either been drinking or demented, and invited her to a seat in his private office for a conference. To him she said that her name is May Phillips. Two years ago she was married to Isaac Phillips, a plumber, doing business in Jersey City. Phillips' family were very much opposed to the union, but they went to live with them at No. 379 Second street. Phillips' family, she said, treated her with indifference at first, but of late have evenced the bitterest animosity toward her. They so embittered her life that she decided a few days ago to quit the house and endeavor to make a living for herself. She went to New York, and was fortunate in finding a situation. She had a five months' old babe-a boy. When she went away she left it with her husband's relatives. She visited the child a few days ago, and her sister in law said that she would have to provide for the child herself.

Mrs. Phillips started out in the street with her child in her arms. She could not earn her living and take care of the child herself, nor could she afford to pay some one else for taking care of the babe. She was disheartened, and in her despair she went to Irving's drug store on Grove street and bought some laudanum. She intended to kill both herself and the babe. She gave the child half a teaspoon of the narcotic. She then took a dose herself. That which she herself took had no effect upon her. The child became somnolent, and at 2 o'clock on Thursday afternoon it died. Two hours later the body of the little one was carried by herself and her husband to a burying ground, and buried. "I have had no peace of mind since," she said, continuing her story between her sobs. "I am a murderess; my conscience has been killing me by degrees. I have eaten nothing since the dear little fellow died. I must do something to atone for my crime, and this morning I concluded to surrender myself to the officers of the law."

The woman, who is about twenty years of age, was sent to the cells on a charge of murder. Coroner Gannon was notified, and will have the body exhumed for a post-mortem examination. An inquest will be held in a day or two.

Source: Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, Wednesday, September 11, 1878; Pg. 1, Column 7

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