18 March 2015

On This Day: Dead baby found in box

A dead female infant was found in a box, reported the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer On This Day in 1880. The lengthy article gave the family information as a background, identifying the mother’s father and sister before identifying her even. The woman, that is the mother of the child in question, was Miss. Christina Denning, daughter of Irish immigrant John Denning. 

Christina Denning worked as a domestic for several respected families in Lancaster. She was reportedly “of good character” so when she fell ill and remained home sick for a week, there was no reason to question her.  

However, it seems that one evening before Valentine’s Day she went to her sister’s house and asked if she could keep some clothes there at the Weimer home on South Chestnut Street. Her sister, identified only as Mrs. John Weimer, said yes but her husband soon said no. Christina then asked Mrs. John Modinger, the wife of a marble cutter who lived on South Christian Street, to store some items there.  

It remained there until yesterday (17 March 1880) when Mrs. Modinger noticed an unpleasant odor coming from the box. It was then discovered that inside the box was the decomposing remains of a fully developed female newborn, wrapped in a woman’s wrapper and aprons. 

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 18 March 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.