The Murder Of An Eleventh Month Old Child By His Drunken Father: 1870


The details of the murder of the infant, Joseph Lovett, by his father, yesterday the fact of which was published exclusively in the first edition of the Eagle show the crime to have been of a most revolting nature, and like three-fourths of the murders committed, it was the result of whisky drinking.


 Michael Lovett, is twenty-nine years of age, and a longshoreman by occupation, but has spent most of his time lately in drinking and lounging around the grocery store kept by his wife, at No. 289 Van Brunt street., near William, where they resided. He is of an ugly disposition, particularly when drunk. For several days past he has been drinking hard, and had abused his wife and threatened to take her life, chasing her with a knife and a weight, but not until yesterday did he attempt to put his threat into execution.


Being short of money, Lovett had repeatedly taken articles from the store and house to procure whisky. Yesterday morning he attempted to take a shawl belonging to his wife, for this purpose, but she interfered, and a quarrel ensued. He threatened to kill her if she did not stop "tongue-lashing" him as he called it. She sent to the Third sub-Precinct Station House for an officer to arrest him, but word was sent back that she must first procure a warrant. She gave her child Joseph, aged eleven months, to a little girl named Jane Smith, to hold, and was in the act of shutting up her store preparatory to going to Court for a warrant, when her husband, who was standing behind the counter, seized a cheese knife, and, just as she ran out of the door, threw it at her. the knife missed the mother, but struck and KILLED THE CHILD who was in the arms of the girl, Jane Smith. The knife entered the child's left lung, and caused death in a few minutes. The mother, almost insane with horror and grief, took her child into a back room of the house, and sent for a physician, but when the latter arrived the child was dead.

The murder of the child caused great excitement in the neighborhood, and officers soon arrived and arrested Lovett, who was taken before Justice Demlar and committed to Jail.

Information of the murder was sent to Police Headquarters and the Coroner's office.

THE INQUEST was held at the house where the murder was committed, yesterday afternoon, before Coroner Whitehill and a jury. As the facts of the case were plain, the Coroner did not think it necessary to take any testimony beyond that of the mother of the child, Jane Smith, aged eight years, was examined by the Coroner, who, between the sobs of the child, elicited the following testimony: About ten o'clock, Mrs. Lovett asked me to take it and hold it a little while; I did so, and when I had it in my arms a short time, and while I was minding it on the sidewalk in front of the store of Michael Lovett, and he was behind the counter, he threw a knife out of the store, which struck the child in my arms; I do not know whether Mr. and Mrs. Lovett were quarreling or not.


Annie Lovett, sworn, says: I am the wife of Michael Lovett, living at No. 289 Van Brunt street, he has been on a spree since Saturday evening last, and has been taking things out of the house, and selling them for liquor; I have tried to stop him, and he has taken a knife two or three times and threatened to cut me; this morning he wanted to take my shawl to sell and I took it away and he got angry; I sent to the Station House for an officer, and they told me to get a warrant; I commenced putting up my shutter for the purpose of going after a warrant, and had given my child to Jane Smith to hold, and at that moment, I saw my husband, who, at the time, was standing behind the counter in the store, throw a knife at me, I think it struck my child; I took the child into the house, and sent for Dr. McCauley; the child was dead when he came.


Dr. J. B. McCauley, sworn, says: I was called to attend deceased about 10 A.M.; found a wound such as might be produced by a butcher or cheese knife, on the left breast toward the top of the shoulder, apparently penetrating the upper lobe of the left lung; the wound was, without doubt, the cause of death.


The jury returned the following verdict:

"We find that Joseph Lovett came to his death by a wound inflicted by a knife thrown by the father of said child, Michael Lovett, which was thrown at the mother of said child, at the residence of said Michael Lovett, No. 289 Van Brunt avenue, August 11, 1870."

Signed: John Dockery, corner William and Van Brunt streets: Adolph Muigs, 242 Van Brunt street: John Leutbesher, 289 Van Brunt street; John Smith, Dikeman street; Nathan Bland, Van Brunt street; L. F. Hashagen, 350 Van Brunt street; W.G. Johnson, 242 Van Brunt street.


Website: The History
Article Name: The Murder Of An Eleventh Month Old Child By His Drunken Father: 1870
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle August 12, 1870
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