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Lumberjack held for murder | Turning Back the Pages

One Hundred Years Ago

May, 1914

Lumberjack held for murder

Melvin Hitchcock, of Wilmington, a brawny lumberjack, is in the Essex County Jail at Elizabethtown, held to await the action of the grand jury on a charge of murder in the first degree. Hitchcock and another lumberjack named Cannon, who is being held as a material witness, went to the home of Mrs. Hannah Ovitt, in Lake Placid, on Saturday night, May 2, 1914 and the three had a carousal during which they were heard quarreling. At 2 o’clock in the morning the house was discovered on fire. After the firemen extinguished the flames they found the dead body of Mrs. Ovitt wrapped in a mattress behind a coach. The coroner found wounds on her head which probably caused her death. The men were found in a log driver’s camp near the village where they were employed.

The woman came from a reputable family, but was somewhat demented and had become a victim of the drink habit. It is believed that Hitchcock killed her and than fired the house to hide his crime.

Mistake could be fatal

Suffering from a severe headache on Sunday morning, Mrs. Richard A. Lane, 9 Jefferson Street, Glens Falls, went to a medicine cabinet to obtain a remedy. In separate envelopes of similar appearance were headache tablets and bichloride of mercury tablets which had been procured to be used as a disinfectant for a wound on her hand. By mistake she took the poison. In a short time her husband noticed that she was very pale and called her attention to it. She told him that her stomach seemed to be burning and she was afraid that she had taken the wrong tablet.

Before going to a physician he called in a neighbor who promptly gave Mrs. Lane the white of an egg for an antidote. If her life is saved, she will owe it to this simple remedy which may have absorbed the deadly poison before it entered her system. The physician attending Mrs. Lane says she has a chance of recovery owing to the fact that the antidote was promptly administered but only time will tell as she will be in critical condition for the next two or three weeks.

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