Month: December 2014

Died For Her Mother

Posted by – December 25, 2014

December 19, 1887


A Fiend Kills One of His Daughters and
Fatally Wounds Another.

diedformother018ERIE, Pa., Dec. 19.—No crime of violence committed in this city during the last half century has created such a sensation as the shooting of Minnie and Annie Schau by their father, Christian Schau, at noon yesterday.  The murderer is a tailor, perhaps fifty years old, and long ago earned the reputation of being a brutal husband and a dangerous member of the community.  The two daughters, aged twenty-one and twenty-two, have lived at home, assisting Schau in his work, and despite their lack of advantages, have grown to be pretty, intelligent and virtuous women, holding the warm friendship of many and the esteem of all.

Yesterday morning Schau, who has been drinking for a fortnight past, abused one of the daughters shamefully for reading a newspaper which had been given her.  At the dinner table he renewed his abusive treatment, when his wife drove him wild by interceding for the unoffending girl.  He seized Mrs. Schau by the throat and threatened to shoot her.  The poor woman, desperate at his long continued brutality, bade him do his worst, saying she had nothing to fear, as death would be preferable to the life she had lived so long.  Minnie, the eldest daughter, interfered, begging for mercy for the mother.

“Spare her, father!  Oh, spare her!” she cried, but the drunken brute felled his wife senseless with a blow, drew a pistol and sent a 32-calibre bullet through Minnie’s heart, killing her instantly.  Spurning the dead body with his foot, he sprang to the door of an adjoining room, where the younger daughter, Annie, had taken refuge, and snarling an imprecation, discharged the pistol point blank at her breast.  The bullet struck an inch and a half below the heart, shattered a rib, deflected and missed the vital organ, lodging near the spine.  She fell, and he snapped the self-acting pistol at her again as she lay apparently dead.  Then he fled from the house towards the high bluffs on the lake front.

A telephone message brought an officer to the scene of the shooting, and he began the pursuit of Schau and brought him to bay at the top of a bluff.  The murderer drew a pistol and ordered the officer to stand back, but the plucky patrolman advanced.  Schau fired on him at a distance of six paces and missed.  The next instant the men were engaged in a fierce struggle, the officer holding Schau’s pistol hand, and then, plying his club, knocked him senseless.  Schau was handcuffed and taken to the station-house.

Annie Schau is still living, but has no chance for recovery.  Her ante-mortem statement was taken detailing the circumstances of the shooting substantially as given above.  Schau was arraigned last evening and committed for a hearing next Wednesday.  He pleads not guilty, and says the girls took the pistol from him and accidentally shot themselves.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair

(The 1887 Morbid Scrapbook)

Caught the Devils

Posted by – December 24, 2014

Chico Courant (Chico, California)
Saturday, December 9, 1865


CAUGHT THE DEVILS. – The Humboldt Register gives an account of the routing of the gang, and killing of over fifty of the red devils who murdered Ballew on the Humboldt road.  According to the Register’s account, Lieut. Osmer is entitled to promotion, and his men to a medal each for their bravery and tact in ferreting out the Indians and wiping them out when found.  The Indians were found 100 miles north-west of Dun Glen, and did not discover the approach of the soldiers until within two miles of their camp.  Lieut. Osmer’s command, was, “Come on, boys!” and they pitched in without any “red tape,” and with an energy irresistible.  The Indians were well armed.  One soldier, named David O’Connell was killed, and two painfully wounded.  A portion of the plunder taken from Ballew’s wagon was recovered.  Lieut. Osmer and his command may redeem the character of the regular army for Indian hunters.  Pitch in and wipe out the last vestige of the red rascals.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair


Posted by – December 24, 2014

Chico Weekly Courant (Chico, California)
Saturday, November 18, 1865


INDIANS. – It will be seen by extracts from a letter written by Mr. Nance, of this place, that the Indians are still committing their depredations about Humboldt.  Nothing but extermination will prevent them from committing their depredations.  It is a false notion of humanity to save the lives of these red devils.  There should be no prisoners taken, but a general sacrifice made of the whole race.  They are of no benefit to themselves or mankind, but like the rattlesnake live only to slay.  Like the wild beast of prey they are necessarily exterminated by the march of civilization.  The tribes of Indians upon this Coast can no more be civilized than the jaugar [sic].  If necessary let there be a crusade, and every man that can carry and shoot a gun turn out and hunt the red devils to their holes and there bury them, leaving not a root or branch of them remaining, then we shall record no more massacres.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair


Posted by – December 16, 2014

Chico Courant (Chico, California)
Saturday, November 25, 1865


DIED. – Far away from home, relatives and friends among strangers, with no one to shed a parting tear, with strangers to smooth his dying pillow, another unfortunate Californian passed on to the silent land, the land of forgetfulness, the land of the departed.  Joseph Coburn, a private in Company II, Ninth U.S. Regular Infantry, on the march to Summit Lake, was taken sick, was left at the Chico Hotel in this place, being unable to proceed farther; received all the care and attention that could be bestowed; lingered until Friday night, the 18th inst., when he died.  He was about 22 year old, enlisted in San Francisco about one year ago; not being in his right mind the most of the time, his native place could not be learned, but from expressions made use of in his wandering moods, it is supposed he was a native of New York, residing in the vicinity of Niagara Falls.  An anxious waiting mother, there may be, who for years will listen for the returning footsteps of the absent boy, little dreaming that he sleeps the long sleep of death in the Valley of the Sacramento.  There may be sisters and brothers who will gather around the old hearthstone at home, and when the storm beats without, and the tempest howls around the old homestead, wonder where the absent one is, and why he does not return.  the storms may beat around his dwelling and he heeds them not; heat and cold, summer and winter are all the same to him now.  When one dies thus alone in a strange land and among strangers, we think of the many notices which appear almost daily of “INFORMATION WANTED,” some friend inquiring for the lost one.  How many have laid down to die on hill and plain, mountain and valley, gulch and ravine, all over the Pacific Coast with nothing to mark the spot where they sleep, and not a word concerning their fate ever transmitted to relatives or friends.  What waifs we are, floating on the ocean of time, engulfed to-day and forgotten to-morrow.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair

At Rest At Last

Posted by – December 14, 2014

December 23, 1886


The Closing Chapter of the Sad Story of Miss Pickel’s Life.

VINCENNES, Ind., Dec. 17 –A message was received from the Indiannapolis [sic] Insane Asylum at the home of Miss Lydia Pickel a day or two ago which reveals the last chapter of a sad story. The message was as follows: “Lydia Pickel is lying at the point of death. Come if you wish to see her alive.” The dying girl lived in Harrodsburg, Lawrence county. She was on [sic] of a numerous family. She accumulated a snug sum of money, which she was ambitious to invest to the best advantage. She learned that under the Homestead law she could secure a considerable tract of land with her little store of money, and with this thought in view she set out for the west. 

On the way to her destination she had to travel a long way by stage coach. One night the coach was entered by several drunken cowboys. Seeing a defenceless [sic] woman was the only occupant of the coach save themselves, they attacked her. It will never perhaps be known what really took place in the stage coach on the lonely prairie that night. It is only known that the poor girl escaped from her persecutors by jumping from the coach.

Three or four days later a woman with most of her clothes torn from her person was found wandering aimlessly about on the open prairie. When captured she was found to be hopelessly insane. Fortunately a man from Lawrence county, Indiana, was present and he at once identified her as Miss Lydia Pickel, whom he had known from childhood. A guard was provided and the poor girl was sent home, and from there to the State Asylum for the Insane. Her case was beyond the power of human skill, her mental ailment being long since pronounced incurable. Her physical health had given out.


Culled from the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair: the 1886 Morbid Scrapbook.

Seminal Weakness or Spermatorrhea

Posted by – December 4, 2014

Chico Courant – Saturday Nov. 11, 1865



540 Washington st., San Francisco, Cal..

Seminal Weakness or Spermatorrhea – The young man who experiences that growing weakness in his muscular and mental organization should stop to consider whence it arises.  He will find in the weakness of the back, trembling of the limbs, disordered digestion, unaccountable failing of the powers of the mind, distaste for society, dread of impending trouble, forebodings of evil, sleeplessness, troubled and lascivious dreams accompanied by growing deafness, loss of muscular power, and numerous other symptoms of disorganization, the positive traces of that most terrible and destructive of all disease.  Seminal Weakness – wasting away his powers, destroying his hope of life and manhood, and dragging him along the broken path of his existence toward a premature and loathsome grave.  To him who finds his life dribbling out in the discharge of the vital principle of existence in nocturnal and diurnal emissions, the mere cessation of the causes of its appearance brings no assurance of relief.

Those who have become the victims of solitary vices, that dreadful fascinating and destructive habit, which fills thousands of sick rooms with paralytics, and consumptives, and hundreds of untimely graves with its misguided victims, should consult, without a moment’s delay, one who will sympathize with their sufferings.  To such the Doctor would especially address himself, giving to each and all an assurance of a perfect and permanent cure, without hindrance from business, change of diet, or fear of exposure.

Do not forget the address.  See below.

The celebrated female remedies, compounded from the private prescriptions of Dr. Young, have now obtained a most extended popularity, and are correctly viewed to be the safest and surest remedies for the complaints for which they are applied; The constantly accruing testimonials of their efficacy declared them to be re-eminently superior in their action.

No lady should be without these Renovating Agents.

None genuine unless procured at this office.

Sent by Maikon Express, to any part of the State.  The great female medicine – Preventative powders for married ladies.  New, Safe and Infallible, lasting four to six months.  Price $10.  French Lunar, or female monthly pills.  For suppressions.  After fifty years of use these pills stand unrivalled in efficacy.  Price $5 per box.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair