Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Don’t take candy from a stranger.


In 1898, Elizabeth Dunning (daughter of a US Congressman and wife of John Dunning, bureau chief for the Associated Press) and her sister, Mrs. Joshua Deane, died after 3 days of terrible stomach pains from consuming a box of chocolates from a Mrs. C, whom she did not know. (I won’t even ask why she’d do such a stupid thing as eat something from someone she didn’t know, but apparently signing the letter Mrs. C convinced Elizabeth it was from a friend.)

Dear John was having an affair with Cordelia Botkin while he and Elizabeth were living in San Francisco. Elizabeth found out, left John who left Cordelia. None too happy with the end of the affair, Cordelia sent letters to Elizabeth claiming the affair continued (long distance, apparently).

Convicted in 1899 of intentional poisoning by Arsenic, Cordelia received special treatment – overnight male visitors, a lushly decorated cell, and 2 days a week into San Francisco. Eventually these privileges were revoked, and Cordelia died in San Quentin in 1910.


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