Jefferson County, NY


Presented to the Jeff. Co. Board of Supervisors during the week of Nov. 25, 1885
Source: Watertown Re-Union Newspaper, Nov. 25, 1885, p. 3:


January 10-Summoned to Adams to investigate death of MRS. AGENES THOMAS. Inquest held. Verdict, death by overdose of tartar emetic, administered at her own request by her husband, J. W. THOMAS, he supposing it to be rochelle salts, the poison being obtained from some person unknown.

March 30-Summoned to Carthage to investigate death of WILLIAM BECKER. No inquest held, death being from natural causes.

May 5-Summoned to Lyons Corners to investigate the death of EMORY VanSCHAICK. Inquest held. Verdict that he came to his death about October 9, 1884, by criminal means, and strong circumstantial evidence points to ARTHUR M. DUNCAN as being guilty of the crime and form said evidence we find that the fact.

June 11-Summoned to investigate the cause of death of ORIN T. GUEST, whose body was found lying in the water beside the large flume on Beebee's Island. No inquest held, death evidently having been caused by his accidentally falling into the water.

June 29-Summoned to investigate death of F. A. LEPPER of Coffeen St., Watertown. No inquest held, it being apparent that he had died of an overdose of chlorel administered by himself.

July 1-Summoned to investigate the death of MRS. DR. PORTER of Sackets Harbor. No inquest held, but postmortem examination made. Nothing was produced to show that there had been anything criminal done in the case. The question as to whether the treatment had been well advised was one not easy of proof, but that it had been criminal either by reason or neglect or otherwise was certainly shown to be untrue.

August 8-Summoned to investigate the death of MRS.AMOS WADSWORTH, who had died at 32 High Street in this city (Watertown) immediately after childbirth. The physician in charge was accused by the friends to have in some way mismanaged the case. The charge was shown to be unfounded.

August 12- Summoned to Sackets Harbor to investigate the death of ALBERT SMITH, a boy of 12 years of age who was found hanging in his father's barn. Inquest held. Verdict of suicidal hanging while laboring under mental aberration.

August 15-Summoned to investigate death of JOHN PARMER of town of Hounsfield. No inquest, death being produced by natural causes.

August 22-Summoned to investigate death of a young child named THOMAS EAGAN, at 22 Cedar St., in this city. The child had not been seen by a physician. This was one of the many cases among the poor in which a child falls ill and lives if it can and dies if it will. In these instances, it is sometimes difficult of decision whether ignorant neglect or a worse motive deprived the patient of that assistance which might save life.

September 15-Summoned to investigate death of DANIEL GETTINGS, who was found in the barn of the Engineer's Hotel, on Coffeen St., in this city about 3 a.m., lying under a horse. He had been crushed to death. no inquest was deemed necessary.

September 25-Summoned to Redwood to investigate the death of JOHN TOOHEY. He had been struck by an engine and killed, while crossing the Utica & Black River railroad tracks. No inquest held; investigation showing that the accident was due to his own carelessness only.


The report of G. H. WOOD of Antwerp makes the following showing:

December 10, 1884-Summoned to investigate the death of MRS. CHARLES CARPENTER, a young married woman of Antwerp, who was found dead in the house of her husband, who had left her a short time ago. She was in a delicate condition. No inquest was held, death being caused by a puerperal spasm.

May 12, 1885-Summoned to investigate death of DANIEL HORTON, who was found dead in an outbuilding near the residence of George Kelsey, of Theresa. A postmortem examination disclosed death by heart disease, and no inquest was deemed necessary.

August 15-Summoned to investigate death of illegitimate child of a servant girl in the village of Antwerp, which had been buried immediately after birth. No inquest was held, the child being stillborn.

Assisted in the removal from Indian River in Antwerp of the body of EZRA C. STERLING, age eight years, and granted a coroner's certificate of burial, it being evidently a case of accidental drowning.


Coroner S. L. Merrill of Mannsville, reported the following cases:

Held inquest on the body of ORA FEE, a lad of nine years who was accidentally killed in the town of Lorraine. Nothing of value was found on the body. The verdict was that he came to his death by having a stump of a tree accidentally turned back upon him.

Investigated the sudden death of JOHN BATES of Mannsville, and deemed an inquest unnecessary.


PERRY CASWELL, justice of the peace and acting coroner, reported a statement and inventory of all money and valuables found on the body of HENRY KENNEY, who was drowned off the steamer Algerian on the St. Lawrence River, opposite Clayton. There was $271 (or $2.71) in different kinds of currency and four silver pieces with holes punched in them of uncertain value. The property has been turned over to the County Treasurer.

GEORGE S. BUTTON, Justice of the Peace and acting coroner, reported that August 31 he held an inquest on the body of an unknown man found in the St. Lawrence River about eight miles below Clayton. The jury rendered a verdict that he came to his death by drowning, having August 20 voluntarily jumped from the steamer Annie Laurie, when about four miles above Clayton. Acting Coroner Button further reported that $464 (or $4.64) was found on the body, which sum had been deposited with the County Treasurer.

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