The Affair of the Veiled Murderess: An Antebellum Scandal and Mystery

The Affair of the Veiled Murderess: An Antebellum Scandal and Mystery

by Jeanne Winston Adler

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Overview

An account of a mysterious murder committed in nineteenth-century Troy, New York, and the sensational trial that ensued.

Troy, New York, 1853. Two Irish immigrants—a man and a woman—die shortly after drinking beer poured by a neighbor. Was it poisoned? And if so, was their slayer the beautiful mistress of an important Democratic politician? Many Trojans soon answer yes to both questions, but others question the guilt of the glamorous accused. Rumored to be the once-respectable Miss Charlotte Wood, a former student at Emma Willard’s elite Troy Female Seminary and the runaway wife of a British lord, her identity remains in doubt, and the air of mystery is only heightened by her decision to remain hidden behind a veil during her trial, which earns her the nickname “The Veiled Murderess.” As the affair widens to include the antebellum social and political worlds of Troy and Albany, the blossoming scandal threatens important people on both sides of the Atlantic.

Drawing on newspapers, court documents, and other records of the time, Jeanne Winston Adler attempts to come to an understanding of the truth behind the strange affair of the veiled murderess. In the process, she addresses a number of topics important to our understanding of nineteenth-century life in New York State, including the changing roles of women, the marginal position of the Irish, and the contentious political firmament of the time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438435480
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 07/02/2015
Pages: 323
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jeanne Winston Adler is the author of Early Days in the Adirondacks: The Photographs of Seneca Ray Stoddard and the editor of In the Path of War: Children of the American Revolution and Chainbreaker’s War: A Seneca Chief Remembers the American Revolution. She lives in Salem, New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Troy, New York, 1853

PART ONE: Henrietta Robinson, spring 1852–spring 1853

1. River Street

2. May 25th

3. The New Prisoner

PART TWO: JOHN C. MATHER, BIRTH(1813)–spring 1853

4. Introducing John C. Mather

5. Rise

6. Trouble

PART THREE: PRETRIAL, JUNE 1853–APRIL 1854

7. Contagion

8. Long Hot Summer Into Fall

9. Limbo Time

PART FOUR: Trial, May 1854

10. Day One—Officers of the Court

11. Day Two—The Doctors

12. Day Three—The Veil

13. Day Four—Bombshell

14. Day Five—Some Antebellum Lore

15. Day Six—Verdict

PART FIVE: THE VEILED MURDERESS, JUNE 1854–AUGUST 1855

16. Settled But Not Settled

17. Breaking of the Storm

18. More Mather

19. Trends

20. Charlotte Wood

21. Lively Season

22. “Admiral Pagnum’s Daughter”

23. Angel of Mercy

24. Departure

PART SIX: Irish Answer, 1851 and the DEEPER PAST

25. Susan Gaynor

26. Immigrants and Others

PART SEVEN: LATER LIFE AND LEGEND, SEPTEMBER 1855–MAY 1905

27. The Sing Sing Years

28. Auburn

29. Charlotte Doolittle Norris

30. Finale

PART EIGHT: CONCLUSION

31. What Really Happened

Appendix I: The Wood Daughters
Appendix II: The Duke of Kent Business
Notes
Index

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