A Woman Found Strangled In A New York Tenement House 1896


Annie Meyers, a young woman, 22 years old, was probably murdered early this morning in her room on the second floor, rear, of 202 East Twenty-ninth street, New York.

She was known to the police of the East Thirty-fifth street station as Dutch Maggie, and was an habitué of Third avenue. Whether the young woman took her own life or whether she was murdered is a mystery that the police of the East Thirty-fifth street station are now trying to solve. The circumstances surrounding the case lead to the belief that she was murdered and the means of her death apparently confirm this theory. She was strangled by a stocking, which had been tied around her neck and knotted twice under her left ear. The police have arrested Samuel Meyers, the man who says he is the husband of the woman, and he is suspected of knowing more about the case than he has been willing to tell up to this time.

It was about 1:30 o'clock this morning when Samuel Meyers ran around the corner of Third avenue from Twenty-ninth street, and shouted for the police. Policeman Tyler of the East Thirty-fifth street station heard him and ran up. He asked Myers what was the matter and Meyers said that his wife had been murdered. "She has been strangled to death," he said. Policeman Tyler whistled for assistance, attracting the attention of Policemen McIntee and McCarthy, beside a young man named Fitzsimmons. The five then started in a hurry to the apartments of the Meyers. They occupied two small rooms on the second floor, rear, of the tenement house, at 202 East Twenty-ninth street, two doors east of Third avenue. On entering the sleeping room of the couple, the body of the unfortunate woman was seen in a sitting posture upon the bed. The back of the woman rested against the head of the bedstead and the body was inclined slightly to the left, so that it rested upon the elbow. Around the unfortunate woman's neck was tied a stocking. It was knotted twice under the left ear and was so tight that the result was strangulation. One of her eyes was blackened, but it was afterward proven that this was the result of a fight which she had had several days ago.

There were no signs of a struggle. The only thing which gave rise to the belief that the woman had struggled for her life was the fact of there being a corset lying upon the bed which had the steel ribs broken and it was torn. This corset the woman must have taken off before an attempt was made on her life. She wore a loose wrapper over three underskirts. The fact of her wearing the wrapper precluded the idea that the corset was torn from her body in a struggle. She had on no shoes or stockings and one of the stockings she had worn was the article with which her life had been taken.

Policeman Tyler felt the body on going into the room and finding it to be warm he sent a hurry call for an ambulance. On its arrival Dr. Williams, the ambulance surgeon, worked over the woman for several minutes and then pronounced her dead. He said that life could have been extinct for only a short time. The policeman then placed the husband under arrest and took him to the station house. Sergeant Fagin was behind the desk and on learning the facts in the case he awoke Captain Martens and the latter with Detectives Becker, O'Rourke and Pender started in to investigate. Captain Martens first questioned Samuel Meyers, the prisoner. He said that he was a jeweler by profession, but that he had not done any work at his trade for some time. He at first said that he left his wife at home at 8:45 o'clock to go out and then he said it was 10 o'clock. He went to a cafe on Rivington street and did not return to his home until 1 o'clock and on opening the door to his apartments he found that his wife had been murdered. He then ran out of the house, he said, and summoned the police.

On searching the rooms Captain Martens found a dozen packs of cards and this with other evidence in the possession of the police has given rise to the belief that instead of being a jeweler the man is a gambler by profession. The husband denied that he and his wife had had any quarrel. it was learned that the couple moved into the room in which the woman was found dead just a month ago. Previous to that time they lived at 207 East Forty-third street and 235 East Twenty-fifth street. At both of these places it was said that the couple were dispossessed on account of their habits. The front part of the same floor on which the woman lived and died is vacant and the tenants who occupy apartments on the floor above say that they heard no noise in the Meyers' apartment during the night. This fact led to the belief that the woman killed herself. Several of the policemen interested in the case are of the opinion that the woman tied the stocking about her own neck and deliberately committed suicide. They say that she could have easily tied the stocking around her neck and strangled herself and that suicides by this means are not infrequent.

Nobody could be found who could give any information concerning the woman's previous history except that she came from Germany. While the woman had never been arrested by the police it was said by them that she was a familiar figure on Third avenue. Captain Martens said that he believed that the woman was murdered and that in searching the room he made a discovery which, while in itself it may seem slight, may lead to the person who committed the crime. On the cooking stove in the room where the woman was found was a little crockery butter dish in which was a cigarette holder containing a small portion of a cigarette which had been smoked. Meyers said that neither he nor his wife smoked and the captain is of the opinion that the woman had a strange man in the room who is the owner of the cigarette holder and that it was he who committed the deed. For what cause is not known.

One peculiar feature of the case is that when the husband was searched at the station house there was found in his pockets all of his wife's jewelry, which consisted of a pair of earrings and a watch and chain and $32 in money, which he said belonged to his wife. He admitted without hesitation that the things belonged to his wife and that he had taken them from her person after he had found her murdered and for safe keeping. It was subsequently learned from Meyers that the name of the woman before he met her was Hannah Altman and that she had a mother living at 90 Ridge street. He said that be first met the woman in Newark and that they agreed to become man and wife without going through the formality of a ceremony and that since that time they had been living together.

Captain Martens will investigate the story of the young man as to his movements after he left his wife at home.

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: A Woman Found Strangled In A New York Tenement House 1896
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle September 2, 1896
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