THE CUMBERLAND ALLEGANIAN Micro HN4899 085082 1847/51
Monday November 10, 1851 issue
The case of Mrs. Nancy W. Hufford, indicted for the murder of Mrs. Rebecca Engle by administering arsenic, was taken up for trial on Friday, 31st of October 1851.
The prisoner having plead "not guilty" to the indictment, the following jury was empanelled: Dominick Mattingly, Samuel Vroman, William Anderson, Aza Beall of Thomas, Adam Gower, Amon Wilson, John Long, Alpheus B. Beall, Jacob Rawlings, Thomas U. Davis, Geo. P. Mong, Joseph Hughes.
Mr. Schley, the State's Attorney, opened the case, in an impressive address to the jury, detailing the facts he expected to prove. He was followed by Col. McKaig, who presented a statement of the facts the defense expected to prove.
Dr. John H. Patterson was the first witness called for the State. He was called to see Mrs. Engle on Sunday the 21st September 1851. She was complaining, as is usual before a lady's confinement; her labor commenced about 11 o'clock, and lasted until about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Her labor was very easy, though a little protracted; I left there on the afternoon, I told Mrs. Engle that on Monday she should take some purgative medicine---castor oil or whatever she had about the house.
I saw no more of her until Wednesday, the 24th inst.; and on Saturday, the 28th I found Mrs. Engle salivated tremendously, her gums were almost detached from her teeth, they were very black, and her tongue very dry, so much so that the saliva from the mouth would not keep the tongue moist. She complained of a great burning from her mouth to her stomach; by these symptoms and complaints, I was taken by surprise, for I knew I had given nothing to produce such results; her skin was very hot, burning up; she was not exactly thirsty, but constantly wanted her mouth cooled with water; she was very sallow and delirious; her stools were black, and she persisted in a refusal to take caster oil, because she said she could not keep that on her stomach. I then gave her a small dose of calomel mixed with rhubarb; it was in two powders; one to be taken that night and one in the morning. There was no smell, no mercurial odor about her breath. I went again to see her on the morning of the 29th, and she was improving; when leaving I told her I would come again as soon as I could. The Monday following her confinement I gave her a dose of salts, which is supposed to have had the arsenic in. She afterwards told me the salts would not lay on her stomach; that it made her vomit every thing up; she did not say who mixed the salts; her skin was then very dry; saw no cataneous eruptions on Tuesday, which day I found her much better; this was the 1st of October; she was so much better I concluded she would get well without any more trouble. The persons in the house thought she had the Scarlet Fever, because of some eruptions on her body; I examined them well, saw no indications of Scarlet Fever. The pimples on the skin were strange; I never saw anything like them before; they were full of clear water, and of various sizes; they were over her body so far as I examined; she did not say anything about the salts she had taken. I thought at one time she may have had the puerpual fever, but finally concluded she could not have it, because she complained of no pain below the pit of the stomach. That day Mr. Engle and myself went to the election; the next I heard of Mrs. Engle she was dead, and I was so much shocked when I heard of it that I remarked there had been foul play; I had no suspicions before that.
I then called on Drs. Bruce, Harman and Carr to go out and see if we could get a post mortem examination. Her husband objected to it because all her relatives were not there; this was the day she died. Drs. Carr, Bruce and myself went again on Friday.--We nearly extracted all the stomach and proceeded to an examination. I told those present to be attentive, as I had never been present at an examination of one dying from poison. I wanted them to be particular and notice what happened. I took out the stomach ring carefully; and tied both orifices so that it might contain the contents.
Dr. Bruce assisted me to take out the stomach.-- Dr. Carr was near me. I made a slip of the knife, and cut off too short the piloric orifice, which is the upper orifice. When I made the cut, Dr. Bruce walked away and said he was satisfied, on account of the smell. Found the viscera all inflamed. We placed the stomach in Dr. Harman's office. On account of Dr. Harman's sickness, I made no examination for a day or two. The inside of the stomach was very much inflamed; the mucous lining was perforated in many places, and the villeus membranes had on them splotches resembling a burn.
On Saturday we made an analysis of a part of the stomach, but the tests were not satisfactory. About a week after Mrs. Engle's death we disinterred the body for another examination. We took from it different portions of the viscera, a portion of the liver and intestines, &le., and determined to send them to Professor Aiken, of Baltimore, for examination. We concluded she had been poisoned by arsenic.
Cross-examined. Upon the first examination the physicians concluded from the garlicky smell, arsenic had been given her. This was the reason Dr. Bruce said he was satisfied. I told him before hand to notice what odor was emitted. I did not cut the stomach short purposely. Nothing was said to the spectators about garlicky smell. My opinion is that the heat of the stomach is sufficient to emit the smell of garlic when arsenic is administered in small doses; there is a contrariety of opinion among medical men on this subject. Dr. Patterson further substantiated the facts elicited in his examination in chief, and stated that the jar containing the stomach aria other portions were sealed up with wax in his presence, and addressed to professor Aiken, upon the subject. Mrs. Hufford's whole conduct excited suspicions.
Peter Baker was next called for the State. The prisoner bought arsenic from me about ten days before Mrs. Engle's death. She got calomel at the same time. She said she had a sore leg, and a doctor in Pennsylvania had advised her to use it as a salve. She came to my store some time after Mrs. Engle's death, and said she might be censured but that she had applied the medicine she got from me to her own use. I told her she had done wrong in giving that. She said she was persuaded by Mr. Engle to go and nurse Mrs. Engle during her confinement, and that she had not wronged any one, but had done all she could for her. Samuel Engle, for State.-- Mrs. Hufford was my wife's nurse in her last illness; she gave all the medicine. I never asked Mrs. Hufford to come to my house to attend to my wife. I have known Mrs. Hufford about sixteen years--have been very intimate. She has often requested me to marry her. She never said anything against my wife. My wife and myself have often been at her house; eaten there often. Mrs. Hufford came to my house four days before my wife's confinement, unexpectedly to me. She told the neighbors around that she was going to nurse my wife during her confinement. She was my wife's nurse and gave her all the medicine.
I was present when Mrs. Hufford gave the dose of salts; before she took the salts she was pretty well and cheerful, but after she had taken it she became very unwell, and vomited continuously all the week. She complained of a burning from her mouth to her stomach. She seemed to get weak and sinking gradually the whole week. She vomited some blood; her spittle was thick and slimy; she became very delirious.--Mrs. Hufford tried to account for my wife's wasting away so. My wife's skin was very hot; her breast was full of small white blisters; her breast and legs were full of spots. My wife was a stout healthy woman, and was doing as well as she could do until she took the salts. In the night, when my wife was so ill, I went to the bed and found her in a great sweat. I said then she would get better, inasmuch as she was sweating. Mrs. Hufford then said it would be her last sweat.
Cross-examined.--My wife was very delirious after she took the salts; have been very intimate with Mrs. Hufford; carried on a courtship with her once; she afterwards assisted me in my domestic concerns. We often took meals at her house in Grantsville; she always treated me and my wife very kindly. Rev. Mr. Knepper, for State.--First saw Mrs. Engle on Friday, 26th September, five days after her confinement. Her pulse was quick, more so than it ought to be. Her skin was dry, and tongue much farred; She was feeble and .quiet.--Saw her again on Friday, the 30th Sept. Her mouth was very sore, and tongue very much farred indeed; it was of a brownish color. Her breath was very strong, and of a peculiar odor, it partook of a metallic smell. She was somewhat delirious. Mrs. Hufford was in the room while I was there, and seemed uneasy. Walked backwards and forwards more than was necessary, and said it was the medicine which made Mrs. Engle so sick, so the doctor said. She repeated this several times. I had no conversation with Mrs. Hufford about Mrs. Engle.
Was present at the post Mortem examination; smelt the garlic as soon as the knife came in contact with the entrails. Never heard arsenic would produce a garlicky smell. I then went into Mr. Engle's kitchen. Mrs. Hufford was there and asked if the doctors had found anything in the stomach, and said if anything was there, the doctor put it there, and let him attend to his own business.
Cross-examined.-- My suspicions were first excited when I saw Mrs. Hufford walk from the table to Mrs. Engle's bed. Then I suspected foul play. Heard no one suspect Mrs. Hufford at that time; never told any one of my suspicions, but my wife; I told her on Friday. Was present at the examination; did not hear Dr. Bruce speak of any smell coming from the body; think Dr. Carr made some remark; do not know what it was; Dr. Patterson said nothing about it; heard nothing said to those present about noticing the smell which would proceed from the body.
Dr. Carr, for the State--Was at the first examination of the body; formed no opinion as regards the cause of her death; concluded the next day that she died from the effects of arsenic. Did not know that Mrs. Hufford had bought any arsenic anywhere. Did not see Mrs. Engle before she died. (The doctor went into an elaborate explanation of the effects of arsenic upon the stomach, brain and liver.) The most peculiar thing which attracted my attention at the examination of the body, was a very strong, garlicky smell, which was emitted, which is an evidence of the presence of arsenic. A number of medical books were cited to sustain this principle. Thinks the human stomach could be brought to such a heat as to emit the odor of .garlic upon the application of arsenic. Knows of no authors who mention such a case. Dr. Carr underwent, a short cross-examination, in which he substantiated his examination in chief. Mrs. Hetty Garlits, for state.--Mrs. Hufford told me she was going to nurse Mrs. Engle when she was confined; I was with Mrs. Engle at the time of the birth, the case was not an easy one; I had a conversation with Mrs. Hufford. the morning after the birth; Mrs. Hufford said she was afraid Mrs. Engle was going to have a hard. time, because she had worked so hard all the summer, and had been complaining very much; Mrs. Engle told me she had been vomiting ever since she took the salts on Monday morning, and that her stomach seemed full of slime, but complained of no burning in the stomach.
I saw Mrs. Engle again the 1st. day of October; she was very bad; Mrs. Hufford told me The had given her the salts on Monday, and that it was the Doctor's orders, the next morning I was sent for to see Mrs. Engle die; Mrs. Hufford was getting breakfast after the corpse was laid out Mrs. Hufford said she would offer to live with Mr. Engle all the winter and take care of the child, and if she did not stay all the winter she would a couple of weeks and make Mr. Engle some shirts; Mrs. Hufford seemed a little uneasy while Mrs. Engle was dying Mrs. Hufford was attending to the child.
Cross-examined.-- On Monday week, after the confinement, I first saw Mrs. Engle. She did not complain of any burning in the stomach; she only said her stomach was full of slime. Mr. John Engle, Mrs. Engle, Mr. Drane and myself were attending to Mrs. Samuel Engle when she died. Mrs. Hufford was then attending to the child.
Mrs. Knepper, for the State-- Mrs. Hufford told me, some time before Mrs. Engle's confinement, that she was going to be her nurse; that she did not want to do so, but Mr. Engle insisted and she consented. I saw Mrs. Engle on Friday, the fifth day after her confinement, for the first time; she was very sick, indeed. Mrs. Hufford told me that Mrs. Engle had passed three large lumps which looked like liver. This was in the presence of Mrs. Engle who did not speak. Mrs. Hufford told me Mrs. Engle had suffered like a brute, and if Dr. Patterson, the drunken hog had attended to his business, it would not have turned out so. My daughter asked Mrs. Hufford if she did not buy ratsbane last Monday; she said "No" in a rough manner. She said she got some last Winter for the rats, but it was gone. I told Mrs. Hufford that Knepper, Engle, and Patterson believed Mrs. Engle had been poisoned. She threatened to sue them for saying so. She never said anything against Engle's wife to me. She said Engle often wanted to marry her but she would not have him.
Cross-examined.-- Mrs. Miller, my daughter and myself were present when Mrs. Hufford spoke of Ratsbane This conversation occurred the Monday after Mrs. Engles confinement, and charged me not to say any thing about it. When Mrs. Hufford denied buying arsenic, it was publicly rumored through the neighborhood that Mrs. Hufford had poisoned Mrs. Engle. Mrs. Hufford said she would make people smoke for talking about her so, and that Dr. Patterson told her on Friday (the fifth day after Mrs. Engle's confinement,) that all the women he attended in child-bed this season generally had the same vomiting that Mrs. Engle had. The Dr. did not tell me so--we have not spoken for six months. Mrs. Hufford was the only one who told me so, which was on the day I was to see Mrs. Engle
By State-- The summer before Mrs. Engle was sick, Mrs. Hufford told me she could never bear Mrs. Engle, and she never liked any of her family. Eight or ten weeks before Mrs. Engle's confinement, Mrs. Hufford told me voluntarily that she was going to nurse Mrs. Engle's and that Mr. Engle would not let her rest until she consented to do so. When I was at Mrs. Engles she often told me she had a very bad taste in her mouth.
Miss Knepper, for State.-- Was present at a conversation at Mrs. Millers, about Mrs. Engle.--Mrs. Hufford was there and said she had no friends, but she had money, which would make her friends. I said "Mrs. Hufford, you bought Rats bane, at Peter Baker's didn't you?" She said "no--I got some last winter to kill my rats but it is gone."
Mrs. Perry Long,(Savilla daughter of Samuel) for State.--I live about a mile from Samuel Engle. On the 9th of September I had a conversation with Mrs. Hufford; she said she was going to nurse Mrs. Engle. I said Mrs. Hufford you were above coming to nurse me when I was sick." Mrs. Hufford then said she was not fixed then as she is now, and. that the devil was not in her as big then as it is now, or she would have come if the devil stood under the door. I was at Mrs. Engle's about 11 o'clock the day after Mrs. Engle's confinement; she was very bad, and vomited twice while I was there. Mrs. Hufford gave her a bowl of soup; she did not vomit after she took the soup; the soup was given her after dinner. Was there the next day-week after that when Mrs. Hufford gave Mrs. Engle some medicine that night in molasses; after that I thought she got worse and seemed more restless.
Cross-examined.-- Am Mr. Engle's daughter, When I got to Mr. Engle's house, Mrs. Engle was vomiting, she said she had been very sick; she did not complain except that; I remained there until 4 o'clock; she did not vomit or complain any after I went there; on the Friday before Mrs. Engle's death I went again to see her, she was very bad and past speaking; no one in the room but father, Mrs. Hufford and myself; she had a dry cough all the time I was there, and spit up a good deal of phlegm, it was thick and ropy, and hard to get out of her mouth; I was in the room all the time; Mrs. Engle threw her arms over her breast; I was confined 5 or 6 weeks before Mrs. Engle was confined; when I asked Mrs. Hufford to come and nurse me, she was keeping house, but she was not doing so when Mrs. was confined, she was boarding with her sister, Mrs. Yeast. Resumed by the State.--I was at Mrs. Engle's the day of the election. Mrs. Hufford seemed to give Mrs. Engle cream of tartar water and milk, after that Mrs. Engle got much worse; did not see Mrs. Hufford mix the medicine, after taking it Mrs. Engle got flighty, and did not know any one; she was much better on Wednesday morning before she took the medicine. I sat up with her all Tuesday night; Mrs. Hufford did not give her anything during the night; Mrs. Hufford gave her two tablespoonfuls of milk; the third spoonful Mrs. Engle kept in her mouth a little while, then turned her head and let it run out of her mouth.
Cross-examined.-- Mrs. Engle did not rest very well on Tuesday night; threw her
limbs about, after she took the medicine in molasses; did not vomit after she
took the milk on Wednesday; there was something like water running from her
mouth, all the time I was there; it seemed very thin.
Mrs. Brown, for State.--Mrs. Hufford came to my house the second or third Sunday in August, and said that Dr. Patterson swore Mrs. Engle would die this fall, and Mrs. Hufford said several women in the neighborhood would die this fall.
Cross-examined.-- When Mrs. Hufford said several women would die this fall we were talking about Mrs. Jacob Yeast, who had been complaining a long time. Mrs. Hufford said she was going to nurse Mrs. Engle, and would do all she could for her, notwithstanding Dr. Patterson said she would never recover.
Mrs. Florence Yeast, for State.--Had a conversation with Mrs. Hufford about Mrs. Engle's confinement; She said Dr. Patterson told her that Mrs. Engle would never get over this sickness.
Cross-examined/--Am a daughter of Mr. Samuel Engle (No record of this daughter); my father told me to tell Mrs. Hufford to come up to his house to nurse Mrs. Engle during her confinement I did so; Mrs. Hufford went up that day, which was the Tuesday before Mrs. Engle's confinement.
Mrs. Ridgely (Catherine 3rd wife of Samuel?), for the State.--Saw Mrs. Engle the day before she died. I got to her house at 11 or 12 o'clock in the evening. When I got there she was much better when I left she was dying. Mrs. Hufford gave her a roast apple first; then some milk. she seemed to get better a little while after, and in about two hours she got worse. Mrs. Hufford gave Mrs. Engle a spoonful of milk, and asked her if it was good. Mrs. Engle only murmured, and Mrs. Hufford smiled. Mrs. Hufford seemed to be pleasant and kind, and moved about the house as though she was at home.
Cross-examined.--The apple was given Mrs. Engle after dinner. Mrs. Hufford's manner was pleasant, kind and attentive. Do not know what was in the cup; it looked like milk mixed with water. She gave the milk a few minutes after the apple was given.
By .State.--Mrs. Engle's bosom was a good deal broken out with little white blisters; when scratched they became purple; they were all over her arms. The cheek was swollen; her eye was natural; underneath the eye was a dark gum color. Did not cough or try to vomit while I was there. Mrs. Hufford. told me Mrs. Engle always said from the first she never would get well.
Miss Dui(r)st (Hired help or Durst relative?)for State.--Lived with Mrs. Engle since the 22d of June; Engle always treated his wife well. Mrs. Engle did not work more than common; washed the linen of Mrs. Engle's bed; saw stains; there was a stain on the chaft about the size of my hand.
Cross-examined.--Did not notice any stains. Before Mr. Engle died, I put the bed clothes on which she was confined into soak myself; don't remember any stains.
Dr. Patterson recalled by State. Never told any one that several women would die this fall. Never said that Mrs. Engle would die, or have a hard time of it. Never apprehended anything serious in Mrs. Engle's confinement. Dr. Patterson repeated a part of his former examination.
Cross examined. Told Mrs. Engle's family, the Sunday week after she was confined, that all the women I attended had this vomiting. Such was the case. Never told this anywhere else previous to that. I have opened five or six bodies with a view to discover the cause of death. Made a post-mortem examination of a man who was supposed to die from arsenic. No decomposition had taken place in Mrs. Engle's body when I first took out the stomach. Discovered nothing in that stomach like the yellow sulphuret of arsenic. Our tests were not sufficient to discover anything; for that reason we concluded to send the parts to Baltimore. At the second examination of Mrs. Engle's body, there was also a strong garlic smell, fully as strong as it was the first day. The putrefaction, at the second examination, was confined to the throat, and extended down to the stomach.
By the State. --From the symptoms laid down in the books I was led to believe that this woman had been poisoned. Had no suspicions until after her death. Had no conversation with John Yeast, in which I said Mrs. Engle would have a hard time.
Dr. Bruce, for State--Was requested by Dr. Patterson, the day Mrs. Engle died, to assist him in a post mortem examination. Did not make it that day. Next day Patterson, Carr and myself made the examination. We took out the stomach, which was given in my charge. I took it to Grantsville, and put it on Dr. Harman's table, in his office. Dr. Harman was sick that day, and we postponed the examination until the next day, so that he might be present. There was an appearance of violent inflammation of the stomach and bowels. When the stomach was opened there was a strong garlicky smell emitted. From the appearance and smell I concluded she had been poisoned. Dr. Patterson told. me before the examination that he suspected something of the kind.
Cross-examined.--When we first went to Engle's house, Patterson told him of his suspicions. I thought the garlicky smell had been produced by arsenic. Dr. Bruce here explained the effects of arsenic on the stomach, &c. Was present when the contents in the jar were sealed up. Harman and Patterson requested me to write to Professor Aiken, of Baltimore, which I did. I did not see what had been put in the jar. I described the articles as Harman dictated. The jar was Nell sealed and directed to Professor Aiken. Was not present when the tests were applied.
Upon this evidence, the State rests its case for the present. The prisoner was much affected, and wept constantly.
Dr. Harman, for the defense.--Have been a physician sixteen years; was educated in Germany; resides now in Grantsville; have dissected many bodies. On the 2d of October I was called on by Dr. Patterson, who said Mrs. Engle had died suddenly, and he suspected she had been poisoned. I said it was best to have a post-mortem examination. When we went to Engle's house Mr. E. would not consent to the examination. Next day, which was Friday, I was sick. Drs. Patterson and Carr came to my house in the evening, and requested me, if I was able, next day, they would make an examination of the body.
On Saturday afternoon I was able to sit up, and make the examination, in the presence of Drs. Carr and Patterson, and Rev. Mr. Knepper. The stomach was brought in on Friday afternoon. I don't know by whom. It was wrapped in a white handkerchief, and laid on my table. The lower part of the stomach was cut below the lower curvature.
First, examined the outer tunicus and found two or three spots; the stomach contains four tunicus, the muscular, salular, the nervous and the mucus; found two green spots on the back surface and lower part of the stomach on the outside, these spots are frequently found after one's death; I opened the stomach and emptied the contents, first putting the whole on a large deep dish so that none might be lost; I then put part in a long glass jar, well cleansed with rain water.
I opened the stomach I examined the inner coating; I found it very much reddened by the contents of the stomach, which was of a reddish brown color; after scraping off the reddish conlomation the tunious presented a healthy appearance with the exception of two round spots near the upper part of the stomach, the redness of the spots appeared like a net work of small injective little veins; the spots were even with the surface of the mucus coatings; there was no exhumation of black blood neither under the surface of the mucus coating or anywhere in the stomach; the mucus coating was very tough; I next proceeded to examine the fluid of the stomach; Doctor here gave a lengthy description of the tests applied; none of the tests detected arsenic.
I proposed to Carr and Patterson, not having the proper apparatus here for examination, to send part of the stomach and contents to Professor Aiken, whose examination would be satisfactory to all parties. They agreed to this. On Tuesday, the 7th, we determined we'd have to procure other portions of the body; Engle and Knepper came to get my opinion; I told them so far nothing in the examination showed poison; and as the first examination was not made in the proper way, I proposed to have the body disinterred again for a second examination, as there might be some other parts found that would show symptoms of arsenic; I said the sooner that the examination was made the better; Mr. Engle agreed to that.
Drs. Carr and Patterson were invited the next afternoon. Patterson and Carr and myself, Knepper, Walter, Engle (Walter Engle first son of Samuel) and Ikehorn, and one of the Custards (Custers?), went out and took up the body. 'When the coffin was opened, the head, neck and breast were much advanced in state of putrifaction; putrified fluid oozing out of the mouth; I said if the other parts of the body were as much putrified it was no use examining any further; putrifaction is proof against poison. I did not object to any examination further than that. The abdomen was much disturbed, swollen; a great quantity of gas was emitted. Examined the inner organs of the abdomen; the smaller intestines were very much disturbed with gas; were a yellowish brown color; no inflammation in the smaller intestines.--(Doctor here explained the condition of the stomach and other parts, and the parts taken out.)
We took the parts mentioned home. Next morning, Carr and myself went to Patterson to know what we should do with the parts; we all agreed. to send them to Baltimore, to Professor Aiken. I put them in a jar well cleansed; I put in the contents of the stomach, part of the liver, duodenum, leodunim and part of the stomach I got the last post-mortem examination. Did not send that part we experimented upon. I cut the stomach in two pieces; kept one part and sent the other part to Baltimore. I never put the stomach into hot water. Patterson and Engle came to my office and asked what I had done with the parts; I told them I had put them in a jar to send to Baltimore; I offered to show it to them; they said no, they had confidence in me; I told them what I had put in the jar; Bruce wrote down what I told him I had put in the jar; it was covered with paper, buckskin, and sealed with wax three times; then wrapped in paper and sealed with five seals. Seal was a stamp with a hand; scales representing Justice and a lion. After the jar was sealed and a letter written telling all the circumstances, a seal was put on the letter to Prof. Aiken like that on the jar.
Two days after that the jar was sent to Baltimore. Taking everything into consideration, my opinion is that Mrs. Engle did not die from poison, because 1st there was no inflammation in the stomach. There is a decided difference between inflammations and irritation. If the few spots indicated inflammation there would have been a swelling of the parts above the surface of the mucus coats. There was none of that. Dr. Harman continued to give his reasons at length, why he came to this conclusion.)
There were several symptoms before Mrs. Engle's death wanting. After the taking of arsenic there would have been a burning heat passing downwards to the intestinal canal, increasing by degrees. There ought to be a contraction of the belly; there ought to have been a vomiting of bloody fluid.; after a day or two there ought to be a feeling of icy coldness, alternating with great heat, which follows the coldness with an internal feeling that the body would be consumed by fire; generally convulsions before death. There are symptoms of typhus fever, which resemble the symptons of poison. (The witness explained what they were.) The condition of the gall bladder did not look like one poisoned. Cross examined. Mrs. Hufford was not in my house while the remains of the body were.
By Defense. Was not present at the examination in Baltimore. If any one had asked me the result, I would have told them.
By State.--Got a communication from Baltimore and gave it to Prisoner's counsel. Did not tell anyone else. I kept it to myself.
To Foreman.--There was no garlic smell when the body was opened, but much smell from a state of far advanced putrefaction. Was not present at the first examination.
Cross-examined.--Did not go to Baltimore on this business; am a believer in the Christian religion; never said I believed Jesus Christ was a bastard, and the son of a Roman soldier; believe in the Bible as the Word of God, so far as I understand it.
Professor Aiken; for defense. My business is a chemist; have devoted 21 years to the study of chemistry, and 20 years to teaching. The occasions when I nave been called up to make such examinations have been three or four; but it is my business every year to go through in my class the experiments, showing how they ought to be made. These experiments I go through every winter in relation to mineral poison. I received a letter from Bruce and Harman on Saturday, I think, preceding the 15th of October. The jar came on the following Thursday or Friday. I found a seal in the letter which I compared with the seal on the jar; they were both alike. The seals on the jar were unbroken. I opened it myself. In all such examinations I make two stages one is whether there is any mineral substance present, and the other, what it is.
I employed the best means to find arsenic, or if anything of that kind, was present, or even in any state of combination. I used the experiment known as "Marsh's" Experiment. It is difficult to say how small a portion may escape discovery. I considered it safe to detect the one-thousandth part of a small grain. I put the entire contents of the jar to the test, and if there had been arsenic in any part I should have found it after I finished. My opinion is, from the result of my examination, there could have been no arsenic in these substances. Arsenic proper is a metal, black, brittle, and easily pulverized, and distinguished by the smell of garlic, which is only peculiar to the metal, and that only in vapor. This is the only solid containing arsenic which has that smell. White arsenic cannot emit a garlic smell so long as it continues white arsenic but can only produce that smell when the metal is extracted from it and set free (Professor Aiken went into an elaborate, lucid, and interesting explanation of the compounds of arsenic, and the effect of its presence in the human stomach.)
Dr. Samuel Smith; for defense--Have been practicing since 1817. Have had cases of poison; one by arsenic. Have seen many cases of poisoning from various causes. Have heard the symptoms of Mrs. Engle, from the physician and. others. Have listened carefully to the testimony, and have concluded positively that this woman did not die from arsenic. Have had a great deal of reflection about it, and such is my positive conclusion---first, the symptoms as described by all the witnesses, and Mrs. Engle herself before poison, that arsenic could not have been given; the symptoms occasioned by poison are much alarming; the patient must seek relief; it throws her in a state of collapse. Giving arsenic on Monday, when the salts were given, would have been alarming, and produced .such an irritability of the stomach as to prevent it retaining anything until the consequences of the poison would have been alleviated, which was not the fact here, as she retained soup and roasted apples, which would not have been the case if poison had been given; and the stomach would scarcely have retained one drop of cold, water.
From the testimony of Dr. Patterson, the stomach retained a close of calemel and rhubarb, which, he said next day operated well; this couldn't have been if she had taken poison. The pulse was a different one from what all authorities and my own experience taught me to know would have been the case, if poison had been given. Pulse was described as being quick and full; it would. have been very small and. weak if poison had been given; it would have been thread-like. Condition of the skin would have been entirely different; persons. suffering from arsenic, the skin is generally moist and cool; here it is described as very hot and dry; the coldness would continue until the reaction to the patient herself; it would be of intense burning; but to others cold as ice; the reaction would not take place full until the symptoms subsided so far as that there was a prospect of recovery. This has been the result of my own experience, corroborated by all the standard works.
Having attended a large number of cases of inflammation of the stomach, which is so nearly allied to this case that doctors can scarcely discriminate between it and the symptoms of poisoning. Many years ago I lost two interesting boys from poison, both living in the same family; it was a poison of vegetable matter; the symptoms in their cases were very much the same as those I saw poisoned by arsenic.
Years ago a stranger came into my office, and threw himself on the floor and exclaimed he was a dead man, as he had taken arsenic. I asked him where and when he had taken it. He said he had taken a drop on a ginger cake. I enquired, and the facts were corroborated. I kept him in my office that night; was constantly vomiting; insatiate thirst; purging a discolored water; as fast as he took water he threw it up; incessantly drinking and. vomiting all night; he would drink the water to quench the horrible burning in the stomach; next morning had the case removed, and continued to attend him; was a stranger to me. I attended him till the end of the 5th day; his sufferings continued as I have described, when he died. Next morning I went with Dr. George Perry, and had a post mortem examination. I did not examine the body as I would, if I only had a suspicion, because I knew arsenic had been administered.--The anxious expression of countenance, which is only seen in persons who have taken poison, is another symptom. I opened the body and immediately plunged the knife in the stomach--there was no garlic smell at all; very much the smell of a body dying from a natural disease; the coat of the stomach was badly ulcerated in different parts, the mucous membrane softened, and. all the coats were very much injected; I mean the veins of the stomach were enlarged and all injected with blood. The small intestines presented much the same appearance. The whole intestinal canal was very empty and presented very much the same appearance, but was not ulcerated all the way down Made no other examinations.
Some symptoms of this case are very much like that in the case I have just described. There are some symptoms in cases of poison that are common to almost all cases of fever. I came to the same conclusion in this case, from the following reasons; if a sufficient dose of arsenic was given to any human being sufficient to produce death in a few days, arsenic would be found in some parts of the system--I mean by chemical analysis. I speak now from the books. No portion of the human system is more likely to discover poison than the liver, stomach, duodenum or ileum.
The post mortem examination seemed to be very imperfectly performed, and I am at a loss what to say about it. A high degree of inflammation would not show on all the coats of the stomach--it might manifest itself outside, but then it could not have been seen inside. From the description of Mrs. Engle's mouth, I was very much at a loss to know of what character the sore mouth was on account of a very material discrepancy between Dr. Patterson and. Rev. Mr. Knepper on the subject.
Knepper described the gums separating between the teeth--a constant flow from the mouth of a thick, rough, ropy fluid--tongue farred and discolored--used a stick to cleanse the tongue--he also described the smell as being very unpleasant, and salivation.
Patterson said when he went to see this woman on Sunday she was tremendously salivated--I was very particular in putting this down, because, as a doctor, my opinion would be asked. He spoke of the condition of the tongue, as farred and dry, so dry that the flow of saliva would not moist it.
I understand from saliva that it means the flow of matter from the salivated glands; the description from Mr. Knepper convinced me that it came from the lungs, as he said it came up with a short hacking cough. I will now describe the gums and mouth, which I have met in my practice which so nearly allies that spoken of by Patterson, Knepper and others. Very frequently we meet with cases where the gums are very sore, separated from -the teeth, and of a grey color, and the breath exceedingly offensive. That is very much the appearance of scurvy in its incipiency.
I have frequently, in this region, seen cases of typhus which would present blackness of the gums and mouth, a delirium; a dark dry tongue; kicking about of the hands and feet; restless; dry, burning skin; burning of the throat and mouth; incessant thirst. In cases of typhoid fever, when salivation is produced; we pronounce our patient out of danger. Never smelt the fumes of garlic from the dead body, that I remember of. Never saw a case of salivation from arsenic in my life; have used arsenic internally or externally for thirty years. In none of my cases of poison was there any salivating.
I do not think the arsenics said will produce the odor of garlic in any heat; and I have reference to Prof. Aiken's testimony. Three hundred and eighty is the heat spoken of in the books as necessary -to produce the odor of garlic from them are arsenious acid. Unless it is converted into the metallic state, the smell of garlic is. no indication of the presence of arsenic. The heat of the body cannot be raised over nine or ten degrees above its natural temperature without being fatal. The effect of arsenic will always be worse on an empty stomach. If the patient had died from small doses, given for 8 or 10 days the arsenic would have been found in the stomach. In arsenic is given and. remains any length of time in the stomach, it is invariably absorbed. If arsenic remained in the stomach; I know no vomiting would carry away the entire effects of arsenic.
Cross examined.--Mrs. Engle was confined on Sunday, began vomiting on Monday; from the vomiting continuing several days I believe this woman died of a malignant typhus fever; I never knew of a case of typhus fever where salivation occurred as in this case; have seen malignant fever in which that burning of the throat, delirium, throwing themselves about, wild staring of the eyes, this condition of -the tongue and gums, but not salivation: have see cases of fever terminate in typhoid fever in forth-eight hours from when the fever commenced. (The doctor continued to substantiate his examination in-chief. Frequent reference was made to the swearing in a case for murder tried many years ago. Reference was made to show that physicians could be mistaken in their opinions.)
By Defense. Would not be content to believe arsenic had been administered unless chemical tests had been applied.
Dr. Thos. A. Healy, for defense.--From the testimony as to the symptoms before Mrs. Engle's death, and the appearances on the post-mortem examination; my opinion is the woman did not die from the effects of poison; but from typhoid fever. (Doctor H. gave at some length his reasons for his opinion.)
John Yeast, for defense--Previous to Mrs. Engle's confinement, Dr. Patterson said to him that her case would be dangerous.
Mrs. Yeast, for defense-I am a sister of prisoner, and she has lived with me since July, she has had a sore leg; she was in the habit of putting cream of tartar, arsenic and white lead on it; she used it in a wash. Defense here closed.
Peter Baker, for state, recalled.--On one occasion heard Dr. Harman say that Jesus Christ was a bastard, and a son of a soldier. He also said China was never destroyed by the flood.
Dr. Carr, for State, re-called.--Has heard Dr. Harman say that Jesus Christ was the son of a Roman Soldier Dr. Harman had the stomach in warm water, moistening it with his hands.--On opening the coffin for the post mortem examination, Harman contended 'that it was unnecessary to open the body. I am satisfied that Mrs. Engle did not die from Typhoid fever.
Dr. Patterson, for State, re-called. At the second examination, Dr. Harman objected 'to the body being opened. I understood all the stomach was to go to Baltimore. more.
Dr. Ohr, for State. Gave at length the symptoms of poisoning by arsenic; and the symptoms of typhoid fever. Could not give any opinion us regards the death without considering all the testimony in the case, which 'the Court would not permit.
Dr. Bruce, recalled by State. Dr. Patterson sealed the jar; the stamp belonged to Herman, and was left in Harman's office.
Dr. Smith, recalled by defense. "I gave as my opinion when up before, that Mrs. Engle had died of a very malignant typhus fever."
The evidence here closed--the examination of the witnesses having occupied four days.
On Wednesday morning James M. Schley, esq. on the part of the State, commenced the argument. He occupied about three hours. He was followed by George A. Desire, esq. on the part of the prisoner, in an argument of four hours length. On Thursday the argument was resumed by Thomas J. Mckaig, esq. for the defense. He occupied the morning session. In the afternoon, Francis Thomas esq. concluded the case, on the part of the state. "Engagements did not allow us to hear the arguments of counsel, which are represented to have been able and eloquent on both sides."
The jury retired to their room on Thursday evening about 7 o'clock On Friday morning they came into Court to obtain information; and were told they were the judges of the law and the facts. They again came into Court about 9 o'clock and rendered a verdict of NOT GUILTY.
We have availed ourselves of the report furnished for the Baltimore
Sun--abbreviating it in some parts.'
Hufford, Samuel married Nancy (Wootin, Yeast) Layman 9 feb. 1848
Hufford, Nancy married Holmes Wiley 23 April 1862.
Ken Engle comments:
Nancy had a few husbands which left her well off.
Holmes Wiley was the father of the Wiley sisters who married Walter Engle first son of Samuel.
Martha, the child born during this incident married Ross Compton from the family who built the historic Compton Mill in Salisbury PA.
I received this copy of a 1907 newspaper article re:The Trial
from Genie Ragan
I found this article from the (Cumberland) Evening Times, dated Nov 4 1907 and thought you might like to see it. I have transcribed it verbatim (including mistakes) and added my own notes. I also have the actual article if you would like to have it. Nancy Woodin Yeast was married to my ancestor John W. Layman who died in 1845.
"A Weird Story About A Woman"
(Nov. 4 1907 Cumberland ~ Evening Times)
"Tried for Poisoning Lady With Whom She Lived. In a recent paper published in your journal on the subject of Allegany county murders, I stated another would be furnished soon upon the same general topic or subject. I will now do what was then promised or suggested. The murder trials to be written up in this paper will be such as resulted in acquittal or in punishment less than execution.
The first of the kind to be recalled is that of Richard W. Clarke, of Flintstone. He was indicted at the April court, 1851, for the murder of his wife. In the following month he was tried for wife murder and was found guilty of murder in the second degree by a jury, and was sentenced to a confinement in the penitentiary for 18 years. His punisment.
The next case of the kind was that of the noted Nancy Hufferd, of what is now Garrett county. She was indicted at the October term of the Circuit Court for Allegany Co., 1851, for the murder of Mrs. Samuel Engle by administering poison to her at the birth of her first child, which caused her death in about a week after the birth of the child. Mrs. Hufferd being the nurse of Mrs. Engle in her sickness in which there was nothing unusual in the beginning, but suddenly she became alarming ill and died. Suspicions at once arose in and out of the Engle mansion that there had been foul play. The physician, Dr. J. H. Patterson was of that belief, and before the burial of the victim, he made a post mortem examination of her but could not make any discovery of the poison believed to have been administered to her.
She was buried in due time, but the belief and excitement spread over the whole neighborhood which led to the disinterment of the worman and a second post mortem examination was made by Drs. Patterson, Hermann and J. H. Bruce, who had just comenced the practice. The stomach was taken from the deceased and intrusted to Dr. Termann to be sent to Prof. Aikin, of Baltimore, for examination. The suspect, Nancy Hufferd, was promptly arrested and committed to the Allegany county jail in September, '57." [note: should read 1851]. "Her trial was had about the first of the following November before Judge Wiesel. James M. Schley state's attorney, and the great Frank Thomas were prosecutors. She was ably defended by T. I. McKaig and George A. Pearre. The jury were as follows: Domnick Mattingly, Sol Vroman, Wm. Anderson, Aza Beall of Thomas, Adam Gower, Amon Wilson, John Long, Alpheus W. Beall, Jacob W. Rawlings, Thos. D. Dawson, George P. Mong and Joseph Hughes.
All these jurors have been dead many years. John Long was the only home juror. The were 38 " [note: it looks like 38 but hard to make out] witnesses in this notorious case, for and against; nine living according to best knowledge and information. Five doctors, J. H. Patterson, H. Hermann, J. J. Bruce, S. P. Smith, T. A. Healy, all deceased for many years. Dr. Bruce, the yougest of five, left us in 1884, a great loss. But there remains one who will remembers [sic] this tragedy and even witnessed some of it.
The evidence on the part of the State was circumstantial. The main fact was that the accused had purchased about the time a lot of arsenic from a store in Grantsville with the remark she wanted to make salve for her sore leg, but there was no sore leg. There was no further tracing of the poison up to the time of this trial. Prof. Aiken testified that he found no arsenic in the stomach he examined. The woman was acquitted on the evidence adduced. But after the trial was over and Nancy Hufferd a free worman, the remainder of the deadly poison was found in a corner of a bureau drawer in the house of Mr. Engle. Who can say the verdict would have been the same if the remaining poison had been produced at the trial. She was acquitted according to the rules of law; but there was hardly one in the whole neighborhood believed her to be innocent. Her history was an unsavory one in a general way. She was married 4 or 5 times, certainly the former number.
Her first husband was John Yeast, a strong, healthy man, died unexpectedly if not mysteriously in 1834. Some slight suspicions then of of an unnatural death. In a short time she was again married; this time to John Layman, a very respectible man and a prominent one, died in 1845, a natural death from cancer. Her next marriage was with Philip Hufferd, of Somerset Co., Pa. In a few years she was again a widow - this husband died suddenly, it was said after eating pumpkin pie. Suspicions arose but no investigations or legal proceedings. She at once returned to her old neighborhood and was soon on the hunt of another husband. She had a choice but failed to get the one she wanted. This was only a short time before her trial. She persevered and in the course of a few years she found another husband in the person of Holmes Wiley, a well known citizen of Garrett county, but she did not live to see his death. They both died natural deaths many years ago.
There was this strange thing about this noted woman. She always wanted a man or husband, yet she never bore a child in her long checkerd life. She is remembered by only a few and cared for by none, it may be said. Dr. Patterson, mentioned, was a prominent physician of the old county twice elected to our Legislature. He took the sad death of his patient Mrs. Engle, very sorrowfully. He died three months later. Will state the writer saw the first post mortem examination at the request of Dr. Patterson. It was not a desirable spectacle. Two cases in our court int he same year involving wife murder. J.B. November 4, 1907."
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