Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Lizzie Hart and Sadie Bigelow - 1886

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I came across another interesting news story today. It is of a double suicide which is most commonly between two lovers - these being two women named Lizzie Hart and Sadie Bigelow in Boston in 1886. From the history gathered, it seems that the two girls were of the same age and both from St. John, New Brunswick. They moved together to Boston in about 1883 and the two women lived together for the majority of that time - with the exception of a brief marriage of Miss Hart to an unknown man. This marriage was an "unhappy" one she back in with Miss Bigelow. The women then moved to New York briefly before returning to Boston in early December of 1886. They found lodging together at a hotel for four days under assumed names and seem to have decided to commit a double suicide together before moving to the hotel - which they did on Christmas Day. Miss Hart told a friend that Miss Bigelow was determined to kill herself after learning of her mothers death, and miss Hart loved her too much and would not let her die alone. Incredibly sad. It is impossible to say whether or not this was a lesbian relationship - but the mutual effection for each other (or at least Miss Hart's effection for Miss Bigelow) is clear.

Here are the original articles, both are from the same newspaper althoug they were reprinted in several papers across the country. I have found duplicated in at least five other states.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio)


December 30, 1886

TWO YOUNG LIVES ENDED
A Sensational Double Tragedy Resulting From a Lover's Quarrel

BOSTON, Dec. 30 - The last sad act of the most sensational tragedies ever enaccted in this city occurred this forenoon at Mount Hope cemetery, when a double casket, containing the earthly remains of two young and pretty women, was lowered into a double grave. The story of the death of these two women is a tragic one. Neither had seen twenty years, yet both had found that life was not worth living, and had in each other's company completely bidden adieu to the world on what, to most people, in the happiest day in the year, Christmas.

Sadie Bigelow and Lizzie Hart were respectively eighteen and nineteen years of age. The former was a decided brunette, quite pretty and with dark brown hair and eyes. She was a ready talker, and a favorite with all who knew her. The latter was a handsome blonde with blue, facinating eyes, golden hair and a slender, stylish figure. The girls were born in St. John, N.B. Two or three years ago they came here and secured situations at small salaries as saleswomen in the store of Jordan, Marsh & Co. No ill word was ever breathed against them. Some time after coming to Boston Miss Hart married a Boston man of respectable connections, whose name is not given. The marriage proved an unhappy one, and the couple separated, the wife returning to live with Miss Bigelow.

Last fall they heard of an opportunity to better their condition in New York, and going there entered the dry goods store of Simpson, Crawford & Simpson. The situation proved only temporary. Two weeks ago the girls returned to Boston. They were unable to get work and they soon became utterly discouraged. Among their few friends here were two youmen men of good character named Henry Villard and Richard Reynolds. It is said that these young men had offered the girls pecuniary aid, but the latter were too proud to accept it. On Christmas afternoon the young men treated the girls to a dinner at Verdellis' restaurant. After dinner they repaired to Villard's rooms, where a telegram was found announcing the death of Miss Bigelow's mother. The young men escorted the girls to their horse car, and on the way a quarrel arose between Villard and Miss Hart about some attentions the former had recently shown to some other women. The party separated in ill-humor, the men returning to Villard's quarters where Reynolds was to sleep. At 1 a m Villard was aroused by a knock at this door and on opening it he found Miss Hart in an exhausted condition and just able to say that she and her friend had taken "Rough on Rats". The girl was laid on the bed, a doctor summoned, and antidotes applied, but too late, for after suffering agonies for six hours she died.

Before dying, upon being asked what could have induced her to poison herself, she said: "Lizzie was so sorry that her mother deid that she wanted to die too. But I would not let her die without me, so I took the poison too, I love her more than my life." She also said that she had determined in the horse car to commit suicide. They got off the car, bought the boxes of "Rough on Rats" went home and took the poison in water. Lizzie felt the effects first and lay down to die. Sadie then repented her act and started out for help. She took a cab for Villard's rooms firsts, stopping at a street telegraph office and ordering a messenger to send a doctor to assist Miss Hart. The messenger thought she was drunk and did not obey. On going to the girls' lodging house the young men found the half naked body of Lizzie Hart stretched out ont he rumpled bed, cold in death.

It is stated an autopsy held yesterday showed that Miss Bigelow was enciente. Medical Examiner Draper, however, was seen at midnight and refused to disclose the results of the examination.

December 31, 1886

BOSTON's DOUBLE SUICIDE
Belief That the Act of Lizzie Hart and Sadie Bigelow Was Premeditated.

BOSTON, Dec 31 - It is now believed that the suicide of Lizzie Hart and Sadie Bigelow was premediatated. On the Tuesday before their death they took a room at a lodging house under fictitious names, Lizzie Hart giving that of Flora Sammes, and Sadie Bigelow that of Mrs. Johnson. This was done, it is thought, in view of their contemplated suicide and in order to conceal their identity. The landlady says that both "Mrs. Sammes" and "Mrs. Johnson" came well recommended. They appeared more than ordinarily good natured and happy. "Mrs. Sammes" or Lizzie Hart frequently played with the children but seldom had much to say to the lady of the house.

During the four days they were at the house the young women had no gentlemen callers, except on Christmas afternoon, when their friends, "Henry" and "Dick," called to take them to dinner. The story that the girls bought "rough on rats" on Christmas night fails of substantiation, and it is now supposed that they procured the poison at an earlier day. It has been denied that they were employed at Jordan, Marsh & Co.'s under any of the names given; but Villard and Reynolds, the young men with whom they supped on Christmas, say that the acquaintance was formed at that store.
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