Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mary Linnett (1878-1896)

This is an odd and, yet again, a sad case from the 1890s. Mary Linnett was born in about 1878, her father was a contractor. She developed an infatuation with her next door neighbor, an older woman named Frances Sharman. Under unknown circumstances, Mary tried to kill Miss Sharman and was put into an insane asylum. She was later released and developed a 2nd infatuation with a Miss Elizabeth Trowbridge, the niece of Judge Sherwood of Elgin, Illinois. Judge David Sherman was married to Philury "Lula" Trowbridge, daughter of Stephen Trowbridge. She had at least five older brothers, any one of which may have been Elizabeth's father. They were Barton (b 1830), Gardiner (b. 1836), Stephen (b. 1839), Levi (b. 1841) and Charles (b. 1844). On April 16, 1896, without warning, Mary shot and killed Elizabeth and then herself on South Street, very near to the Judge's home. An odd possible side effect of this was the death of Elizabeth's aunt, Lula Trowbridge Sherwood, who died a year later in October 1897 of "nervous prostration" - an emotional disorder that leaves you exhausted and unable to work.

Town of Russia, Lorain, Ohio - August 1, 1850
1850 United States Federal Census

Trowbridge, Stephen - m 46, farmer, born NY
Trowbridge, Almira - f 42, born NY
Trowbridge, Barton - m 20, born NY - farmer
Trowbridge, Asenath? - f 19, born NY
Trowbridge, Gardiner - 14 m, born NY
Trowbridge, Stephen - 11 m, born NY
Trowbridge, Levi - 9 m, born NY
Trowbridge, Charles - 6 m, born NY
Trowbridge, Philury - 4 f, born NY

263 South Street, Elgin, Illinois - June 10, 1880
1880 United States Federal Census

Sherwood, David - wm 32 born in Ill, pb NY - lawyer
Sherwood, Lula (wife) - wf 34 born NY, pb NY - housewife
Sherwood, Martha (dau) - wf 5, born Texas
Sherwood, Granville (son) - wm 1, born Illinois
Trowbridge, Stephen (father-in-law) -
---wm age 75 - retd Farmer, b NY, pb Conn
Gibson, Lizza (servant) - wf age 20 - servant

Hamilton Daily Republican (Hamilton, Ohio) - June 24, 1895

Strange Love of a Girl

CHICAGO, June 24 - A mad infatuation of Miss Frances Sharman led Mary Linnett, of 43 North Campbell avenue, to make an attempt upon the former's life Sunday morning. Miss Sharman, who lives at 45 North Campbell avenue, is about 35 years old. Mary is not yet 17. The latter formed an attachment for the elder woman, and it is said grew insanely jealous whenever Miss Sharman ever so much as spoke to another.

Batavia Herald (Batavia, Illinois) - April 16, 1896

Mary Linnett of Chicago Kills Miss Trowbridge of Elgin.

Miss Elizabeth Trowbridge, of Elgin, was shot dead in South State street about 8 o'clock Monday night, by Miss Mary Linnett of 43 North Campbell avenue, Chicago, who then killed herself. About two years ago Miss Linnett became infatuated with another Chicago girl, whom she attempted to kill because the girl would not consent to live with her. She was adjudged insane and was sent to the Elgin asylum, where Miss Trobridge was an attendant. She was discharged last December as cured. She had become much attached to Miss Trowbridge, and tried hard to get her to come to Chicago and live with her. Miss Trowbridge was out walking with her sister, Alice last evening, when Miss Linnett came up behind her and shot her without warning. Miss Linnett was 18 years old, and was a general favorite. Miss Linnett's father is a contractor, and was formerly in the employ of the Chicago board of education. Supt. Loewy of the insane hospital testified at the inquest on Miss Mary Linnett and Miss Elizabeth Trowbridge that Miss Linnett was undoubtedly insane. Her victim had been warned of the danger, as friends feared such an outcome of their association. Miss Trowbridge, while in charge of Miss Linnett, had noticed suicidal tendencies.

Fort Wayne Weekly Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) - April 16, 1896


Murder Followed by Suicide on State Street in Elgin, ILL.

Elgin, Ill., April 15. - At 8 o'clock Monday evening a tragedy was committed on State street, near the residence of Judge David B. Sherwood. One of the victims was his cousin, Elizabeth Trowbridge, aged 35 years; the other was Miss Mary Linnett, aged 18. They were walking Miss Alice Trowbridge, a sister of Elizabeth. Suddenly without any warning or indication of what was to happen Miss Linnett drew from her pocket a revolver and shot Elizabeth Trowbridge, the bullet taking effect in her heart. She fell dead, and the murderess placed the weapon against her own temple and followed murder with suicide. Miss Alice Trowbridge ran screaming to Judge Sherwood's house and told the awful story. It appears that the murderess had been a patient at the asylum. Last December she was discharged as cured. She went to her home in Chicago and is believed to have remained there until she came out Monday. The murderess tried to induce her victim to accompany her to Chicago. Failing in this, the two walked down the street to where Alice Trowbridge boarded, and with her were retracing their footsteps when the tragedy occurred. The prominence of the two parties, and the fact that Miss Linnett is reported to have been concerned in a somewhat similar tragedy in Chicago a few years ago, lends additional interest to the affair. Miss Trowbridge was an asylum attendant.

Batavia Herald - October 14, 1897

Death of Mrs. D. B. Sherwood

Mrs. D. B. Sherwood, wife of ex-Judge Sherwood of the Probate Court died Sunday, Oct 10 of nervous prostration at her home in Elgin. She was 52 years of age and was prominent in church and society circles of Elgin. Mrs. Sherwood was a member of the Episcopalian Church, and the funeral was conducted by the Rev. J. Stewart Smith of Kansas City.

45 N. Campbell Ave., Chicago, Illinois - June 4, 1900
1900 United States Federal Census

[43 N. Campbell, Mary Linnett's residence, was also enumerate but the Linnett family had already moved away - if they ever lived there, she could have been a domestic or boarder. In 1900 the building at #43 was broken into two residences. The first was James and Matilda Parker and James' mother Rhoda Thompson. The second was occupied by A.E. and Katie Rupp and their two sons George and Fred. Today, both residences have been leveled and the lots are empty fields.]

Sherman, N.? - wm b Aug 1855 in Illinois to English parents
Sherman, Martha (sister) - wf b Sept 1853 in Ill
Sherman, Frances (sister) - wf b Oct 1855 in Ill
Sherman, George J (brother) - wm b May 1852 in Ill
Sherman, Virginia (sister) - wf born Oct 1862 in Ill

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