Finding Ancestors wherever their trails led

Oneida County
New York
Genealogy and History

Crime News

Robert Miller who was to have been hung on the 9th inst. in Oneida county, has been reprieved by the Governor until Friday the 20th of this month. [Northern Journal (Lowville, NY) – Thursday, December 19, 1839; JD, Sub by FoFG]

The Utica Observer states that Messrs. Jason Parker and Co. have lost within about a fortnight for 30 to 35 horses on the route between Manlius village and Utica. Their death has evidently been caused by poison administered by some base scoundrel; for which wanton destruction of life and property a state prison would be too lenient a punishment. [Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pa) January 25, 1826. Submitted by NP]

Matilda Meyer Confesses to Setting Fire to a Home-A Nice Girl for Child’s Nurse, New York, Mercury.

Yorkville, Oneida, N.Y.: A young girl, named Matilda Meyer, was arrested in Yorkville Police court, yesterday, charged with the terrible crime of arson. The complainant was Mrs. Mary Oppenheimer, of No. 40 East Sixty-Fifth Street, with whom Matilda has lived as child’s nurse for the last eight months.  For some time past Mrs. Oppenheimer and the other servants in the house have been missing articles of jewelry and children’s clothes.  Matilda was suspected, but she stoutly denied the charge. Last Wednesday Mrs. Oppenheimer missed several small dresses of value, and being unable to connect the larceny with anyone else in the house, she directly accused Mathilda of being the thief. Matilda went out, intending as she said to go down to her mother’s at 941 First Avenue.  Instead of doing so, however, she went to a store and purchased a quart bottle of kerosene, with which on returning to the house, she saturated the wood-work around the flue in the cellar and then set fire to it. The other servants discovered the fire in time to be able, unaided to extinguish the flames with a few pails of water. Matilda was privately questioned by Justice Wandell, who could hardly believe that one so young-she is only sixteen years old, and artless in manner-could be guilty of a crime for which, if found guilty, she would be sent to prison the greater part of her life. The girl admitted her guilt at once, saying that her object was to secure an opportunity of leaving the house in excitement and confusion the fire would cause with the stolen clothing which she had bundled up and hid in the front basement; she wanted the clothing, she said, for her two little sisters, and the bracelets and ring which she had stolen from other servants she intended to wear herself. The latter articles were found in her mother’s rooms. The mother and sisters had been told by Matilda that she had found the articles on the street, and had requested that they be put away for her until she go big enough to wear them. Matilda also stated that the bracelets were the first articles she had ever stolen. How when came to take them may be a warning to all youngsters contemplating a career of crime. One day some months ago someone in Mrs. Oppenheimer’s house left a window open in the parlor. Mrs. Oppenheimer’s son accused her of being the person who had been so careless, and search immediately instituted to see if anything had bed stolen, and while the search was in progress Matilda saw the cook’s bracelets lying on a table in her bedroom. The idea then entered her mind that if she appropriated the bracelets the theft would be attributed to burglars. That was her first time to steal, she said, and once since she had been impelled by some invisible power to steal other articles. She could find no means, however, of getting the articles from the house and she packed them all in a bag which she hid in the basement. As already stated, her idea in setting fire to the house was simply to make an opportunity to take the bag form the house undetected. The flue, which might also have been the means of a serious conflagration furnished a draft for the smoke, which, rushing into the ventilator, filled the basement and thus alarmed the other domestics. The precinct police were not notified, and the accused was arrested on a warrant. She was committed for trial in default of 3,000 bail. Matilda innocently asked, after going down stairs, whether she was to be detained until morning in that horrid place. It was evident that she did not realize the enormity of her crime. [The Advertiser-Courier (Hermann, MO), April 7, 1880, p 6;  Submitted by R. Line]



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