14 March 2015

On This Day: Deranged wife of chicken thief dies

The wife of a chicken theft was found dead, reported the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer On This Day in 1881. The deceased was the wife of William Watson. She was found by Eli Dunlap. 

The article states:
The body of the wife of William Watson, colored, serving a term in the county jail for chicken stealing, was found on Thursday, by Eli Dunlap, in an old cedar firld on the Welsh Mountain. It was almost totally covered with water. Deputy Coroner Weaver, of East Earl, held an inquest. The verdict was “death from exposure.” Mrs. Watson has been more or less deranged ever since her husband and his son were convicted for chicken stealing and sentenced to terms of imprisonment in the Lancaster jail. She was very much respected as a colored woman by her neighbors, and it was thought by the people of this neighborhood that she did all she could to prevent her husband and son from leading the life they did. But since their conviction she has led a harmless life wandering about among her people and the last seen of her was just one week before she was found dead. There had been no search made as it was supposed that she was with some of her friends. The supposition is that she wandered about the hill, lost her reckoning, and as night came on hand and a blinding snow storm was raging, she lay down in this hollow to shelter herself from the storm and perished from the exposure. She will be buried at the county’s expense. 

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 14 March 1881. 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.