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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Death of Twins

January 8, 1902 Sumner Press

A Coroner’s inquest was held at the residence of E. P in southeast Christy township over the bodies of two infant children. Twin babies were born Monday evening December 23 to Mary, the unmarried daughter of E. P.

Dr Hockman attended the birth. The children were both alive and apparently healthy when born. On request from the doctor that the children be washed and clothed he was told that no clothing had been prepared. He was asked to say nothing about the births of the children, but this he informed them could not be done, as he was compelled by law to report all births. Dr Hockman also told the family, that the children must be taken care of or there might be trouble.

The neighbors, who several days after, inquired in regard to the children, were told by the family that the children had died the next day after being born. The talk and suspicious grew and Coroner Lewis being notified, came and held an inquest. The bodies of the children were taken up from where they had been buried in the garden in a paste board box. The bodies had not been washed but showed no marks of violence.

The evidence of the family was they died a natural death. The jury brought a sealed verdict of death from neglect. The affair brings a feeling of sadness in view of the high character always born by E. P. Those who have always known him don’t want to believe he had done anything wrong. We hope a full investigation will clear the family of this terrible charge.

Miss Mary P., the mother of the children, is about 16 years of age and for several previous months has been living with an uncle near Friendsville, from which place the family had many years ago moved to Lawrence County.

Miss Mary and her sister Miss Ruah were arrested Monday evening and taken to Lawrenceville for preliminary examination. It seems to the Press rather risky business taking a woman ten miles from home in January just thirteen days after confinement. Justice could have been served fully as well if the warrant had been deferred a week longer.

The Lawrence County News reported the next day that Dr Hockman stated at the inquest that one of the children was a healthy child, while the other was rather puny. Dept. Sheriff Carr brought the girls to Lawrenceville and on account of the poor health of the mother they were boarded at the Vandament house. States Attorney Lackey filed information against them for concealing the death of the illegitimate children.

Judge Youngblood held the preliminary hearing for bail for the two girls charged by the coroner’s jury with the murder of the infant children of Mary P.. The prosecution made their case then the defense rested without any testimony. The court after a few preliminary remarks relative to the jury verdict, stated the girls would be held under a small bond fixing it at $200 each, which was given and the girls returned home that evening. Foster and Cunningham represented the defendants and States Attorney Lackey prosecuted.

Ed. Note: No further news has been discovered from the local newspapers as to the outcome of the trial. The editor of the Press while concerned in the paper about the health of the mother and the reputation of the father had no problem printing the full names of the participants to add to the rumors already circulating. Sensationalism sells newspapers. Even though this took place over 120 years ago, we chose not to do so. You can of course look up the article in the Sumner Press.


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