A Rum-Crazed Husband Kicks His Wife to Death 1873


After the lapse of six days only since the killing of the woman Mary Burns by her husband, the Eastern District again furnishes another equally sensational affair. Dissipation and its accompanying effects was at the bottom of the Burns affair and was likewise the indirect cause of this latter tragedy. The scene of the latter as in the former is laid in a tenement at No. 29 Ash street, Greenpoint, where, with other crowded and pent up families, dwelt that of one Thomas Mitchell, a laboring man, given to the reprehensible practice of strong drink. What little is known of the fatal affray between Mitchell and his wife, or that can be gleaned from his co-tenants, is entirely of a general character, and quite in keeping with the details of family scrimmages frequently occurring in such instances.

Last night, as was by no means unusual with the man, Mitchell, the alleged murderer of his wife, arrived home late in the evening and unquestionably drunk. Exactly what transpired between him and his wife, none of their numerous neighbors profess to know anything of a definite nature, and as in the Burns affair, they seemed to have cared very little. It is not at all unusual to find this class of people abounding in sympathetic utterances and the like, after one or more of them, as the case may be, have been severely injured or killed outright, they, from habit as much as anything else, perhaps, seeming to take such things for granted and as a matter of course.

Consequent upon his going home beastly drunk, his faculties deadened to all impulses of a manly or generous nature, Mitchell is believed to have first quarreled with his wife, or she with him, and the upshot was a blow of his fist which knocked her prostrate to the floor insensible. All the people in the house who pretend to know anything concerning the habits of the man and his state upon entering the house agree in the statement that Mitchell had often flogged his wife according to old country style, but never before apparently had injured her to any extent. No outcries on the part of the woman were heard in the house and only one of the tenants had a suspicion even that she had fallen to the floor in consequence of a blow.

In fact, subsequently to a brief time after Mitchell entered his apartments, nothing whatever was heard of either the man or his wife and it was supposed that they had retired for the night in peace and quiet. An entirely different state of affairs was revealed this morning, however, such as to set the occupants of the house in a commotion of excitement. Finding Mrs. Mitchell did not make her appearance as usual, an inquisitive neighbor took a look into the room, upon the floor of which the poor woman lay immovable and, for all the observer knew, dead. The discovery was quickly communicated to others, and in a very few moments the entire house was in arms and an officer summoned to arrest the supposed wife murderer. A hasty examination showed, beyond a question of doubt, that Mrs. Mitchell was, in truth, dead past all recovery, while close inquiry disclosed the fact that she had probably DIED FROM VIOLENCE, at the hands, as suspected, of her husband.

The latter, who had been awakened by the entrance of the people into his room, yet scarcely in the full possession of his senses, was secured by Officer Battersley, who conveyed him to the Seventh Precinct Station, followed by a crowd of women and children, many of whom would seemingly have lent a hand in stringing the miserable wretch up to any convenient lamp post.

Pending an investigation by Coroner Whitehill and a jury, which will be commenced this evening probably, the accused is held a close prisoner.

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Article Name: A Rum-Crazed Husband Kicks His Wife to Death 1873
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle June 4, 1873
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