Turning Back The Pages

Update - infanticide at Mineville

In the 30 years this column has been running, the story that has received the most attention ever was in the May 7 and 14, 2011 editions of the Adirondack Journal. It told of the headless bodies of two babies, girls about seven months old and thought to be twins, who were found hidden May 5, 1911. The two babies were discovered near a stump by several boys playing ball at the mouth of the abandoned Old Bed mine at Mineville which had been deserted for many years. A boy whose last name was Sharrow said that the bodies were carefully and neatly sewed up in a cloth sack.

Dr. R.T. Saville, who lived close by, was of the opinion that the children had been dead for about three weeks before they were found. Their heads could not be located although a thorough search was made in the area where the bodies were found. An inquest was held by Coroner Marshall and no verdict was returned. Police searched desperately in an effort to solve these heinous murders and a vague reference in the newspaper was made that there was suspicion that pointed strongly to a woman as the guilty person and that they believed that the mystery would soon be solved. I could find no further reference to the case in later issues of the Warrensburgh News.

I enlisted the help of Barbara Whitford at the Richards Library who is skilled at computer research. She found no information in other Adirondack newspapers that the case had ever been solved, but she uncovered additional interesting pieces to the puzzle.

Within a short time after the discovery of the decapitated Mineville girls, the bodies of two other infant children were found in Northern New York, one in a suitcase near Plattsburgh which had evidently been thrown from a train and another near Port Henry, less than a week old, that had been cast up on the shore of Lake Champlain. No clues were ever found to help solve these inhuman crimes and to bring the perpetrator to justice. It is an unsolved case lost in the mists of time, not unlike that of Jack the Ripper, with all the people involved dead and gone and many untold secrets buried along with them. I’d like to hear from anyone that has any further information.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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