Brutality: A Few Specimen Wife Beaters 1875


There seems to be a wife beating mania in the Eastern District at present. There are doubtless many cases never reported. Two of the three cases recorded below only came to light through the necessity of having the wounds dressed after they had assumed a dangerous aspect. The wives refused in two cases to swear out warrants for the arrest of their "lords and masters."

On Sunday night last Ellen Mulcann, aged thirty-four years, and residing at No. 26 Withers street, was attending to her domestic duties when her husband entered, considerably under the influence of liquor. He had many faults to find with the way the household affairs were managed, and wanted his supper forthwith. It was spread on the table for him, but he still continued to find fault. The wife remonstrated, and told him that if he took less rum he would see things in a better light. This remark enraged him, and jumping up he squared off and commenced a vigorous onslaught on her, pounding her fearfully about the face and arms. He blackened her eyes, and forcing her to the ground brutally kicked her in the ribs. One of the latter was broken, and now her side is much swollen. Her cries of murder brought the other occupants of the house to her assistance, and probably saved her life.

Nothing was heard of the case until yesterday, when she called at the Eastern District Hospital to have her wounds dressed. After relating the above story to Surgeon Lindley, he advised her to swear out a warrant for the arrest of her husband, but this she positively refused to do.

Struck With An Ax

Susan Noon lives at No. 152 Sixth street. She has had frequent "rough experiences" at the hands of her husband, has learned to be careful while he is under the influence of liquor, as his temper is "ugly." ON such occasions she keeps near the door, and in case he develops any signs of "ugliness," she takes to her heels. Sunday night last he reached home intoxicated. She upbraided him for his drunken habits, and he retorted by telling her to "shut up." She seems not to have done so, but rather allowed her passion to get the better of her judgment, inasmuch as she neglected to use her usual precautionary tactics by moving toward the door. The husband instantly seized an ax, and before she could run away he dealt her a powerful blow on the forehead, from which she fell insensible to the floor. Some of the other occupants of the house heard the noise and the cries of the children that their mamma was killed, and went into the room to find the woman bleeding profusely from the forehead, the bone of which was laid bare. They went to the drug store and got some plaster and restoratives. When she revived she begged that the matter should be kept quiet. Her wishes were the more readily complied with, as her attendants had an antipathy to the police, engendered, doubtless, by a too frequent acquaintance with them, judging from the number of brawls which occur in the neighborhood. The wound, however, became too dangerous for amateur skill, and yesterday the woman had to apply to the Eastern District Hospital for medical aid. She, too, could not be induced to make complaint against her husband. The wound is a bad one.

Threw Her Down Stairs

William Barrington and his wife Elizabeth live at No. 152 Eagle street, Greenpoint. William frequently indulges in liquor to the extent of forgetting next morning what occurred the previous night. Monday night, while in this state of semi-unconsciousness, he had a quarrel with his wife, and dragging her to the stairway pitched her down. By a vigorous use of her lungs she attracted a large crowd of people, and with them an officer, who locked William up in the Seventh Precinct Station House. Justice Elliott adjourned the case for hearing till tomorrow.

Website: The History
Article Name: Brutality: A Few Specimen Wife Beaters 1875
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle July 28, 1875
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