The Murder of Dr. Chapman: The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover

Overview

A gripping story of a wily con man, a woman's seduction, and a ghastly crime. With exceptional skill, Wolfe braids trial transcripts, intimate love letters, and period recollections into a compelling historical thriller that culminates in a courtroom drama as timely as any in today's headlines. Connoisseurs of sensational murder stories, from Lizzie Borden to O.J. Simpson, shouldn't miss this one.

"Has all the elements of a good novel."

-L.A. ...

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The Murder of Dr. Chapman: The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover

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Overview

A gripping story of a wily con man, a woman's seduction, and a ghastly crime. With exceptional skill, Wolfe braids trial transcripts, intimate love letters, and period recollections into a compelling historical thriller that culminates in a courtroom drama as timely as any in today's headlines. Connoisseurs of sensational murder stories, from Lizzie Borden to O.J. Simpson, shouldn't miss this one.

"Has all the elements of a good novel."

-L.A. Times

"Wolfe has always been a keen observer of contemporary true crime: here she delves deeper into history to disinter a quintessential con man."

-Publisher's Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
… [Wolfe] succeeds in writing an affecting portrait of a desperately romantic woman and an audacious, inept con man. — Mark Essig
Publishers Weekly
"Murder was the favorite subject [of books and newspaper stories], and... murders that took place within the privileged class excited the greatest interest," writes Wolfe in this fascinating historical re-creation of an early 19th-century scandal. Lucretia Chapman, a wife, mother and headmistress of a boarding school near Philadelphia, and the man who called himself Lino Espos y Mina, a sociopathic liar who was the catalyst for her husband's murder, are as colorful characters as one is likely to find in true crime tales. Lino, in particular, seems to defy the laws of rationality. He turned up dirty and penniless at the Chapmans' door, boasting that he was the aristocratic son of a Mexican general who was governor of California, and was heir to gold and silver mines in his native country. Dr. William Chapman, a noted scientist, had doubts about the man who henceforth boarded with them, but Lucretia fell under his spell and soon became Lino's lover. After two years, Lino either poisoned Dr. Chapman himself or inspired Lucretia to do so. Nine days later, he married the supremely gullible Lucretia, who continued to believe his outrageous stories about why his money never arrived. Eventually arrested for murder, Lucretia and Lino were given separate trials. In a demented act of vengeance, Lino viciously maligned Lucretia with newly invented lies in a memoir he wrote before he was hanged, thus making him one of the first people in America to try to make money by publicizing his criminal activities. Wolfe's assiduous research has re-created the background and trial events in specific detail-she acknowledges the essential help of a contemporary (1832) book chronicling the trial by William Du Bois. Wolfe (Wasted) has always been a keen observer of contemporary true crime; here she has delved deeper into history to disinter a quintessential con man who cut a wide swath along the eastern seaboard among people eager to believe they were in the presence of royalty. (Jan. 9) Forecast: Recent media stories about an uneducated Frenchman who penetrated rarefied social circles in the U.S. by claiming to be a Rockefeller descendant should pique readers' interest in this account of a similar situation. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Wolfe is the author of several true-crime books, including the 1990 Edgar finalist Wasted: The Preppie Murder. Her latest real-life thriller recounts the dubious circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. William Chapman in the early 19th century. Chapman, who claimed to have a cure for stuttering, lived near Philadelphia with his wife, Lucretia, a schoolteacher, and their five children. The story unfolds as one of love, lust, and betrayal. Lino Espos y Mina, a con artist who boarded in the Chapman home, had an affair with Lucretia. The couple married soon after her husband's death, arousing community suspicions. Two infamous trials ensued, in which each was charged with poisoning Chapman. A Philadelphia court convicted Lino, and he was hanged in 1832. Wolfe uses ample primary and secondary sources materials like those found in Patricia Cline Cohen's The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Nineteenth Century New York and Carlos Flick's The Oddingley Murders. Public libraries should purchase this book, but history or criminal justice undergraduates would also enjoy reading it.-Gayla Koerting, Univ. of South Dakota Lib., Vermillion Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A sordid case that spread sensation like wildfire across an 1830s America just beginning to flex its national brand of jurisprudence. Historical crime annals can wax dry as a crust unless their contemporary chronicler captures the tenor and texture of the times, the prevailing moods and opinions, and delivers them to the reader without breaking stride. True-crime veteran Wolfe (Double Life, 1994, etc.) gets good grades on all counts. Readers will feel every jolt, jostle, and spasm of motion sickness, for example, on the 1831 stagecoach ride from Albany to Syracuse taken by fallen fugitive Lucretia, widow of William Chapman, whose desperation is underscored by the harrowing journey itself. In addition, the author builds suspense for the fatal encounter by fleshing out the backgrounds of the three main characters literally from the cradle: Lucretia, the comely but imposingly statuesque New England teacher; William, the portly recovered stammerer who envisioned a commercial windfall in curing other sufferers and rescued the schoolmarm from spinsterhood in 1818; and the ingratiating Lino, the very prototype of a Latin lover, whose character flaws ran so deep that he couldn't help running a scam on any provincial Pennsylvanian standing within earshot, if only for the exercise. To this menage, add marital discord and a Philadelphia pharmacist willing to dispense four ounces of arsenic to someone claiming to plan a venture in taxidermy. (Remember, at some point in history, every "likely story" could have sounded thoroughly plausible.) The author then unravels agonizing death, growing suspicion, primitively gory forensics, detection, flight, capture, local political intrigues, and prosecution,leading to a pair of trials perhaps exceeded in impact on a fledgling nation only by that of Aaron Burr for killing Alexander Hamilton. Slightly marred by the author's tendency to wandering wordiness, but lovers of the genre will certainly forgive her.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450235549
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/12/2011
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Wolfe is the author of several books, including the Edgar Award-nominated Wasted. She lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

The Murder of Dr. Chapman

The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover


By Linda Wolfe

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2004 Linda Wolfe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-3705-4



CHAPTER 1

Bucks County, Pennsylvania

June 1831


Early on the morning of June 19, 1831, Dr. John Phillips, one of the most highly regarded physicians in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was awakened in his Bristol home by a persistent banging on his front door. Phillips arose reluctantly. It was a Sunday, and he'd hoped to sleep until it was time for church. God knew he needed some rest. But he wasn't like some of the doctors who were practicing nowadays, the kind who put their own needs first and turned away patients when being called upon didn't suit them. Some of those shirkers didn't even have diplomas. Others had them, but from places he'd never heard of, and as far as he was concerned, if a doctor hadn't been trained as he was, at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, he had no use for him, none whatsoever.

Still sleepy, he threw off his covers and peered out the bedroom window to see who was making the commotion. It was Mina, that Spanish or Mexican fellow who was boarding at the home of his good friend Dr. William Chapman. A handsome fellow, with olive skin and deep-set anthracite eyes. Tiny, though. But many men looked small to the six-foot-tall Dr. Phillips.

Bounding downstairs on his long legs, he let the foreigner in and, hoping the clamor hadn't disturbed his wife and children, asked him who was sick. One of the Chapmans' children? One of their students? William and his wife ran a boarding school at which Lucretia taught reading, writing, and comportment, mostly to young ladies, though she had a few male pupils, too, and William gave speech lessons to stammerers who sought him out from all over the country, and even from Europe.

In a torrent of garbled English, the foreigner began answering Phillips's questions. He was difficult to understand, but after a while the doctor was able to gather that it was William who was sick. He'd been throwing up since Friday night.

Nothing unusual about that, Phillips thought. It was almost summer. Cholera morbus time. In the warm months people frequently came down with that nasty stomach affliction that made them regurgitate all they ate and turned their stool to water. There wasn't much a doctor could do—just wait till it subsided, which it almost always did.

Still, according to the Mexican, Lucretia Chapman was insisting he come over and have a look at William. So Phillips dressed himself, got into his carriage, and followed the voluble man over to the Chapman house, which was ten miles away in the town of Andalusia.

When he arrived, Lucretia and William's brood of five children and half a dozen or so of their students were just finishing breakfast. Lucretia, looking harried, was serving them herself. Her housekeeper, she explained, had recently quit.

She was a striking woman, buxom and almost as tall as Phillips himself, with pleasing features and a cascade of fashionably bobbing reddish-brown curls, a head of hair that belied her profession. She offered him some food, but he declined and went upstairs to look at the patient.

William was pale, his corpulent body so flabby and white that, lying in the middle of the big marital bedstead, he looked like a beached whale, and the bedstead itself like an island in an archipelago of beds. It was surrounded by a scattering of the trundle beds the Chapmans used to accommodate very young students.

He felt weak, William said to Phillips. He'd been vomiting copiously. Could it be because of the pork he'd had for both dinner and supper on Friday?

William wasn't a medical doctor. He was a scientist, but he'd taken a few courses at the University of Pennsylvania's medical school. Phillips respected him. He told Chapman it could have been the pork, but most likely it was cholera morbus, the cause of which no one could say precisely.

Cholera morbus wasn't the same ailment as cholera, the virulent bacterial disease of the intestinal tract that was, even as William lay sick, advancing relentlessly from its birthplace in India across the European continent. Phillips had heard about that deadly Asiatic cholera, which in a year would reach the shores of America and produce one of the most frightening epidemics the young country had ever known. But on this bright June morning in 1831, cholera, with its notorious ability to kill within hours after delivering its first symptoms, had yet to cross the Atlantic, and cholera morbus was not a killer. Indeed, it generally got better in just a few days. After examining William, Phillips prescribed a light diet.

His plump friend was well enough to be annoyed by that recommendation. "A beefsteak," William said testily, "would do me more good than anything else."

But Phillips was adamant that he eat lightly. He directed Lucretia to feed William rice gruel. And chicken soup. He might even have a little of the chicken with which she made the soup. "Not much," he advised. But the broth would be very good for him. "He may eat plenty of that."


Phillips was busy the next few days. He had a great many patients, spread out over the entire area of lower Bucks County, and he was the consultant of choice among the county's medical men, the doctor they turned to when they had particularly difficult cases. But on Tuesday, after hearing that William Chapman was still sick, he made up his mind he'd drive to Andalusia the next day and check on him again.

When he got there on Wednesday Lucretia informed him, to his surprise, that William had been so violently ill the night before that she'd called in another doctor, his colleague Allen Knight. Knight had given the Chapmans the same diagnosis Phillips had: cholera morbus. He'd also given them a prescription for calomel drops. But she and William had objected to the drops, Lucretia said. Calomel was a purgative, and William didn't need any more purging. What he needed was for the purging to stop. And it hadn't. He was purging himself constantly now.

Phillips went upstairs to have a look for himself, and he realized at once that William was considerably worse. His limbs felt cold and clammy. His pulse was barely perceptible. His skin was discolored—a rash of dark spots had sprouted under his eyes and alongside his ears. More, he seemed to have gone entirely deaf. He kept asking anxiously, his brow a web of taut lines, whether he was going to recover. But when Phillips tried to explain his condition to him, he couldn't understand a word.

Get me a slate, Phillips directed Lucretia.

She brought him one from a classroom, and he chalked out an opinion. William couldn't read the words. He couldn't get his eyes to focus.

Worried about the dire turn his friend had taken, Phillips decided to remain at the Chapman house. He ate a quick supper in the dining room, then returned to the sickroom. So did Lucretia. Her boarder and one of William's older students, a Vermonter, had volunteered to assist with the nursing chores, to apply cold vinegar compresses to William's aching head and to empty his foul- smelling sick basins. Nevertheless, Phillips noticed, Lucretia was doing most of the chores herself.

Phillips felt sorry for her. She was one of the best educated women in the county. She knew literature, history, even a smattering of science. Knew how to sing and accompany herself on the piano, too. Yet here she was, spending her time bathing a dying man's clammy limbs, sponging the vomit from his lips, wiping feces off his body and bedclothes. She didn't seem to mind. She was doing everything most attentively, he noted. Most tenderly.

At midnight she was still up and in the sickroom with him when a neighbor, a crusty farmer, came over to lend a hand. "I'm drowsy," Lucretia confided to the man, "drowsy from waiting on Mr. Chapman." Phillips heard her, and when, shortly after she spoke, Dr. Knight stopped by again, Phillips took advantage of the younger doctor's presence by announcing that he would like to rest for a while and recommending Lucretia do the same.

She accepted his suggestion gratefully, said, "Call me if I'm wanted," and went into another room to lie down. Phillips lay down, too, stretching out on a mattress in a spare room and falling asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow. But around three in the morning he awakened abruptly and hurried into William's room. What he saw was dismaying. William had fallen into a coma, and his bowels were emitting a bloody discharge.

The end was in sight, Phillips realized. He summoned Lucretia, who woke the children, and the six of them gathered around William's bedside. In hushed voices the family prayed, while Phillips bent over his friend to monitor his passage from earthly travail. The coma, he noticed, had brought a peaceful look to William's face. Gone were the traces of anxiety that had marked it earlier. As to his breathing, it was shallow—barely a breath at all. Then, as the first faint grays of the June dawn began to light up the room, he saw that William had stopped breathing.

Straightening up, Phillips glanced worriedly at Lucretia. The poor woman was a widow now. Just forty-three years old and a widow. A widow with five fatherless children to look after. What would become of her? As gently as he could, he told her that her husband was dead.

But dead of what? he wondered. Of cholera morbus? Now that he'd witnessed the appalling progression of William's disease, he wasn't entirely sure.

CHAPTER 2

Cape Cod and Philadelphia

1804–1818


The first time Lucretia fell in love, she was sixteen. It was up on Cape Cod, where her parents had been born and many of her aunts and uncles still lived. She herself was from Barre Plains, in an inland part of Massachusetts, but she adored the Cape, its gilded northern light, long beaches, and wild ocean that washed the very wharves of the villages and the seaside gardens of her relatives, and her parents often allowed her to spend the warm months there. The spring in question, the spring of 1804, she was visiting her aunts and uncles in Harwich when a boy named Mark Holman began courting her and telling her how comely she was.

She was comely, auburn-haired, tall, and with the erect bearing of her father, Zenas, who'd been a militia colonel in the Revolution, so pretty that Harwich had chosen her to be its Queen of the May.

As for Mark, he was bright and bold and seventeen. In the middle of the Maypole festivities, the two of them slipped off into the piney woods. They stayed there, blissfully alone, for several hours, and when they returned, there was a terrible commotion among Lucretia's aunts and uncles. They were Winslows, descendants of the pious Edward Winslow who had helped found America's first permanent settlement, and the Winslows were famously upstanding. Lucretia's great-grandfather Kenelm Winslow had been the keeper of the Sabbath peace in Harwich. Her grandfather Thomas Winslow had been both a physician and a judge. Her father had been a justice of the peace, at least before he'd moved to Barre Plains and taken up land surveying. The Winslows didn't approve of girls going off unchaperoned into the woods. But when Lucretia told the family that she and Mark were figuring to get married, she was forgiven her transgression. Her relatives gave her their blessings, and she went home to her parents and began planning her wedding.

She was grappling with whom to invite, and whether to wear the traditional wedding dress of gray or brown silk, and whether to hold the ceremony up on Cape Cod or in the local Congregational church where Zenas and her mother, Abigail, worshipped, when at summer's end Mark changed his mind. He sent her a letter saying he didn't want to get married after all, that instead he wanted to go to college. And he went off to Yale and left her in the lurch.

She was a figure of disgrace after that, not so different from the girl one of her neighbors in nearby Worcester had written about in a book, a girl who was so ashamed at being jilted that she went out and hanged herself. Lucretia wasn't the type for such a desperate, depressive measure. She lived with her shame, remaining at home, in sight of the twisty road she'd imagined would carry her far away, looking after her younger siblings, and hoping that sooner or later she'd find another young man to love and marry.

But she didn't, and finally, when she was twenty, an age well past that at which most of the girls she knew were not just already married but already mothers, she realized that, married or not, she wanted to leave Barre Plains. She also realized that if she was going to do so, she'd best have some way to support herself. Fortunately, there was newly a way. All over the fledgling country, schools were mushrooming. There weren't enough educated men to teach the press of pupils, so unmarried women, provided they had some education, were suddenly in demand to fill the gap. Lucretia had received an education, had even shown a particular aptitude for reading and writing. She took a job as a schoolteacher. Up at the Cape.

She taught there for five years, correcting numbers and alphabet letters on the slates of a roomful of children, most of them boys, some just out of their cradles, others great gangly fifteen-year-olds. But Mark never again asked her to marry him, nor did any other young man, and in 1813, when she was twenty-five and well on her way to being a spinster, she decided to go to Philadelphia and take a teaching job there.


Philadelphia! Lucretia had been jouncing for nearly a week along log-lined corduroy roads and crudely surfaced turnpikes when, in September, she caught her first sight of the prosperous city on the Delaware. Steamboats had recently begun to ply their way down the river, and she could have boarded one in New Jersey and gone at least part of her way on the water. But it was wartime. British ships were stationed downstream. Lucretia had chosen a stagecoach company that advertised overland routes that were safe despite the war, then endured such a rattling and shaking that, at times, she'd feared she and her fellow passengers would be hurled to the bottom of their cramped carriage or tossed up against the roof so hard their skulls would be crushed. But they'd made it to Philadelphia without calamity, and now, through the carriage's tall, leather-shaded windows, Lucretia started seeing gleaming white marble buildings; wide, regular avenues; and an extraordinary crush of people—merchants in frock coats, women in stylish high-waisted gowns, soldiers in blue and scarlet uniforms.

The vision excited her, and when the driver reined the horses to a stop, she stepped eagerly from the coach, ready to start what she was certain would be a new and better life. How could it not be? She would be living in Philadelphia, the largest, wealthiest, and most culturally vibrant city of the new American republic, and she would be teaching at a new French school, an evening school for adults. Her French was rudimentary. But she'd taught herself enough to be able to instruct beginners, and Jean Julien Bergerac, the man who had hired her, had been happy to offer her a job. Everything French, from the couture to the quadrille to the language, was in fashion now that France had allied itself with America in the war against the English. Indeed, so popular had France become that it seemed as if everyone wanted to learn the country's language—four new French schools were due to open in Philadelphia that very autumn. Bergerac had been hard-pressed to find teachers with any French at all.

He was there to meet her. He kissed her hand, inquired after her health in heavily accented English, and told her he'd rented elegant and spacious quarters for his academy on an excellent corner, New Market Street and Stamper's Alley. Then he accompanied her to the baggage shed to retrieve the luggage she had sent on ahead.

It wasn't there—not her bundle of bedding, or her case of toiletries, or her trunks, the two trunks she had packed so carefully with all her dresses, cashmere shawls, and lamb's wool petticoats and drawers. Somewhere en route, all her possessions had disappeared.

Distraught, Lucretia asked Bergerac what she should do, and he told her not to worry. He'd advertise her loss in the local papers, he said, and with luck the bags would turn up. With luck they'd not been stolen, but had merely fallen off the baggage wagon; whoever had found them would happily return them once he knew their rightful owner.

Lucretia doubted it. She had reason to distrust the honesty of her fellow men and women. But she kept this to herself and accepted Bergerac's offer to pay for an ad for her, several ads if necessary.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Murder of Dr. Chapman by Linda Wolfe. Copyright © 2004 Linda Wolfe. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Bucks County, Pennsylvania: June 1831 1
2 Cape Cod and Philadelphia: 1804-1818 7
3 Marriage: 1819-1828 27
4 Lino: 1829-1830 43
5 Bucks County, Pennsylvania: June 1831 69
6 Betrayal: July 1831 89
7 Departures: August-Mid-September 1831 109
8 Friends and Foes: Late September-Early December 1831 129
9 Pennsylvania v. Lucretia Chapman, Part One: Mid-December 1831-Mid-February 1832 153
10 Pennsylvania v. Lucretia Chapman, Part Two: February 22-25, 1832 185
11 "Yesterday I Was a Wonder": April-June 1832 205
Epilogue 235
Endnotes 241
Bibliography 283
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First Chapter

The Murder of Dr. Chapman
The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover

Chapter One

Bucks County, Pennsylvania
June 1831

Early on the morning of June 19, 1831, Dr. John Phillips, one of the most highly regarded physicians in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was awakened in his Bristol home by a persistent banging on his front door. Phillips arose reluctantly. It was a Sunday, and he'd hoped to sleep until it was time for church. God knew he needed some rest. But he wasn't like some of the doctors who were practicing nowadays, the kind who put their own needs first and turned away patients when being called upon didn't suit them. Some of those shirkers didn't even have diplomas. Others had them, but from places he'd never heard of, and as far as he was concerned, if a doctor hadn't been trained as he was, at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, he had no use for him, none whatsoever.

Still sleepy, he threw off his covers and peered out the bedroom window to see who was making the commotion. It was Mina, that Spanish or Mexican fellow who was boarding at the home of his good friend Dr. William Chapman. A handsome fellow, with olive skin and deep-set anthracite eyes. Tiny, though. But many men looked small to the six-foot-tall Dr. Phillips.

Bounding downstairs on his long legs, he let the foreigner in and, hoping the clamor hadn't disturbed his wife and children, asked him who was sick. One of the Chapmans' children? One of their students? William and his wife ran a boarding school at which Lucretia taught reading, writing, and comportment, mostly to young ladies, though she had a few male pupils, too, and William gave speech lessons to stammerers who sought him out from all over the country, and even from Europe.

In a torrent of garbled English, the foreigner began answering Phillips's questions. He was difficult to understand, but after a while the doctor was able to gather that it was William who was sick. He'd been throwing up since Friday night.

Nothing unusual about that, Phillips thought. It was almost summer. Cholera morbus time. In the warm months people frequently came down with that nasty stomach affliction that made them regurgitate all they ate and turned their stool to water. There wasn't much a doctor could do -- just wait till it subsided, which it almost always did.

Still, according to the Mexican, Lucretia Chapman was insisting he come over and have a look at William. So Phillips dressed himself, got into his carriage, and followed the voluble man over to the Chapman house, which was ten miles away in the town of Andalusia.

When he arrived, Lucretia and William's brood of five children and half a dozen or so of their students were just finishing breakfast. Lucretia, looking harried, was serving them herself. Her housekeeper, she explained, had recently quit.

She was a striking woman, buxom and almost as tall as Phillips himself, with pleasing features and a cascade of fashionably bobbing reddish-brown curls, a head of hair that belied her profession. She offered him some food, but he declined and went upstairs to look at the patient.

William was pale, his corpulent body so flabby and white that, lying in the middle of the big marital bedstead, he looked like a beached whale, and the bedstead itself like an island in an archipelago of beds. It was surrounded by a scattering of the trundle beds the Chapmans used to accommodate very young students.

He felt weak, William said to Phillips. He'd been vomiting copiously. Could it be because of the pork he'd had for both dinner and supper on Friday?

William wasn't a medical doctor. He was a scientist, but he'd taken a few courses at the University of Pennsylvania's medical school. Phillips respected him. He told Chapman it could have been the pork, but most likely it was cholera morbus, the cause of which no one could say precisely.

Cholera morbus wasn't the same ailment as cholera, the virulent bacterial disease of the intestinal tract that was, even as William lay sick, advancing relentlessly from its birthplace in India across the European continent. Phillips had heard about that deadly Asiatic cholera, which in a year would reach the shores of America and produce one of the most frightening epidemics the young country had ever known. But on this bright June morning in 1831, cholera, with its notorious ability to kill within hours after delivering its first symptoms, had yet to cross the Atlantic, and cholera morbus was not a killer. Indeed, it generally got better in just a few days. After examining William, Phillips prescribed a light diet.

His plump friend was well enough to be annoyed by that recommendation. "A beefsteak," William said testily, "would do me more good than anything else."

But Phillips was adamant that he eat lightly. He directed Lucretia to feed William rice gruel. And chicken soup. He might even have a little of the chicken with which she made the soup. "Not much," he advised. But the broth would be very good for him. "He may eat plenty of that."

Phillips was busy the next few days. He had a great many patients, spread out over the entire area of lower Bucks County, and he was the consultant of choice among the county's medical men, the doctor they turned to when they had particularly difficult cases. But on Tuesday, after hearing that William Chapman was still sick, he made up his mind he'd drive to Andalusia the next day and check on him again.

When he got there on Wednesday Lucretia informed him, to his surprise, that William had been so violently ill the night before that she'd called in another doctor, his colleague Allen Knight. Knight had given the Chapmans the same diagnosis Phillips had: cholera morbus ...

The Murder of Dr. Chapman
The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover
. Copyright © by Linda Wolfe. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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