A Drunkard's Attempt to Murder His Child 1884


A dissipated looking man about 35 years old was brought before Justice Walsh this morning by Officer Irwin, of the Tenth Precinct, who accused him of being grossly intoxicated last night at his residence in Fourth avenue and President street. The officer was called into the house by reason of certain shouts for help and cries of murder which he heard. He found his prisoner, whose name is William Wilson, alias "Bummer Wilson," Wilson's wife and a 3 year old child which was bleeding from a wound in its head and crying loudly.

Mrs. Wilson charged her husband with having tried to murder her child, but as the officer had seen no such attempt upon Wilson's part he simply arrested him for drunkenness, and told Mrs. Wilson that if she had any complaint to make she would have to lodge it in court this morning. This morning she appeared before Justice Walsh, and with her was Officer Rendich, of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Mrs. Wilson said:

"My husband has not worked for years. I have been married to him about eleven or twelve years, and when I first know him he was a sober and industrious man. I have two children living, one ten and the other three years old. He has often beaten and abused me. I have had to work and to beg when I couldn't get bread enough to eat. He would do nothing but lounge around liquor stores, and would do odd jobs to get money to drink with. Last night about ten o'clock he came where I was staying in Fourth avenue, near President street. He was, as usual, under the influence of liquor. He spoke roughly to me, and I asked him not to make any trouble as I was only living in the house through the kindness of Mrs. McCormack, who had taken pity on me and had given me shelter. He only answered with curses, and then going to the bed where my three year old boy was lying he ordered him to get up and dress himself. The poor child, of course, could not understand what its father said, and commenced to cry, whereupon he grabbed it out of the bed and banged its head against the woodwork of the lounge and the wall. I shouted for help, and got the child away from him. Then the officer came in and arrested him.

Officer Rendich said: "He's a notorious vagabond and has been arrested over and over again. I have got charge of the case on behalf of the society which I represent, and which will see that she and her two children are provided for. Mrs. Wilson is not a dissipated woman and gets work whenever she can, but what she earns is so small that she is unable to provide for herself and children. Her husband has been in the habit of beating and kicking her in a most brutal manner, and on two occasions when she was about to become a mother her children were born dead by reason of his brutal assaults upon her. Mrs. McCormack, in whose house she is now living, is keeping her for charity."

When Wilson was brought up before Judge Walsh he was asked if he pleaded guilty to the charge of drunkenness.

"You have been up here too often, Wilson," said the Judge," and I don't propose to be lenient with you this time. On this charge of drunkenness I shall impose a flue of $10 and costs, and commit you, in default of payment, to the Penitentiary for four months."

" All right, said Wilson, doggedly.

"I'm not through with you yet," continued the Judge, "you assaulted your wife, and almost beat the brains out of that innocent little child of yours. I will not try that case now, but will set it over until you come out of the Penitentiary, then I will take it up, and if what I hear is right I think you will have a good chance to go back to the Penitentiary for a longer tem and without a fine. You are a bad man and ought not to be at large."

Wilson's mother, a disreputable woman, died three years ago from excessive drinking.


Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: A Drunkard's Attempt to Murder His Child 1884
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle December 10, 1884.
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