1 June 1889
An American Woman in England Charged With Murder
Liverpool, May 31.
A baby dropped a letter in a muddy street; the nursemaid opened the soiled missive to put it in another envelope. this trifling incident revealed a most sensational story of husband poisoning and has brought the baby's mother, who is an American woman, within the shadow of the gallows. The nursemaid read the letter and concluded not to mail it. The letter was written with a pencil and was addressed to A. Brierly, Esq., Huskisson street, Liverpool.
The letter was written by Florence Elizabeth Maybrick, wife of James Maybrick, a rich cotton merchant of Liverpool. Within a few hours after the nursemaid opened the note Maybrick was a dead man. The girl gave the letter to Edwin Maybrick, a brother of James, who allowed the funeral to go on without arousing suspicion, but he watched the widow closely and consulted with the police. This was three weeks ago.
Ten days ago, while Mrs. Maybrick was ill in bed, professing to be prostrated by her husband's death, the police made her a prisoner and removed her to the hospital ward of Waltham jail. She was not told of the intention to charge her with murder, but that she simply was required as a witness to clear up the suspicious nature of her husband's death. When it became known that Mrs. Maybrick was actually charged with poisoning her husband, the evidence on which the charge was based seemed so flimsy and purely circumstantial that her neighbors felt indignant against the police and the relatives of the dead man for taking so harsh a course. But the detectives knew their ground, and the evidence against the accused woman at the coroner's inquest will shock the entire country.
When Mrs. Maybrick was thought strong enough to be brought to court to hear the charge against her, but when she was told by her lawyer that she actually had to answer to a charge of murder she became prostrated again and was unable to leave the prison. Her trial was adjourned until Monday, but the coroner refused to longer postpone the inquest, which was set for today.
Mrs. Maybrick is the daughter of a banker named Chandler, who lived in Mobile, Ala., at the time of the late war. After Mr. Chandler died, his widow married Baron Von Rogne, who was an officer in the German army and for some time on the personal staff of the late Emperor Frederick, when he was Crown Prince. Mrs. Von Rogne lived for some time in Paris eight years ago. While coming from America with her daughter, then 18 years old, they met James Maybrick, at the time a man over 40 years old, and doing a large business in cotton at Liverpool.
Maybrick fell in love with Florence, and after their arrival in England followed her to London. They were married at once in St. James' church, Piccadilly. The bride was then described as from Norfolk, Virginia. Mrs. Maybrick had a separate fortune of about $6,000 a year left by her father. Her husband owned a fine residence, Battlecrease House, Grassendale, a suburb of Liverpool. They went there to live, and two children were the fruit of the marriage, who, since their mother's arrest, have been placed in charge of their godmother.
Mr. Maybrick had two brothers, one of them, Michael, being a well known baritone at London concerts, and better known in America as Stephen Adams, composer of "Nancy Lee", and other popular songs. Five weeks ago James Maybrick went to London to see Michael. He complained then of feeling strangely unwell, and said that he had been taking medicine, which, instead of making him better, made him worse. He came back here, and a few days before the letter (which his baby dropped into the mud) was written he was obliged to take to his bed and he grew rapidly worse.
Brierly is a dissipated looking fellow of about thirty eight years, with reddish hair and whiskers. The woman's affection for him is one of the strange features of the case. Brierly is practically under arrest. He was goin to leave the city, but the police stopped him. He was present at the inquest but was not called. He looked badly scared; all indications point to one of the most sensational murder trials on record. The police hint at still more damaging letters given up by Brierly. Medical men will be called to say that they were not consulted till too late to prevent the poison from taking fatal effect. It is rumored that Mrs. Maybrick will claim that her husband poisoned himself by taking an overdose of medicine with arsenic in it.
A Lady of Many Husbands and Some Queer Adventures.
Mobile, Ala., May 31.
Carrie E Holbrook-Chandler, the mother of Mrs. james Maybrick, is a woman with a very romantic career. Miss Holbrook came to Mobile about 1856, visiting her uncle, the Rev. J H Ingraham, rector of St John's church, author of the "Prince of the House of David" etc. She was very popular in society, being a good conversationalist, handsome and prepossessing. Among her admirers was young William G Chandler, sone of Daniel Chandler, one of the leading lawyers of the city. He followed her to her home in New York city, where they were married. Returning to Mobile they lived in good style, and Mrs. Chandler increased her influence in society. She was even as much of a belle as before her marriage.
It was at the beginning of the civil war that Frank Du Barry turned up, being a captain in the ordnance department of the confederate government. Captain Du Barry was a remarkably dashing young officer. Soon there was some talk of his attentions to the lady. Suddenly Mr. Chandler fell ill and died. Some suspicious circumstances surrounded his illness. Mrs. Chandler did not attend the funeral. There were no official investigation of the charge, but it affected her position, which became so unpleasant that she took her two children and moved to Macon, Ga. In less than a year she married Du Barry there.
Shortly afterwards Du Barry was ordered to go to Europe as representative of the confederate government. He and his family took passage on a blockade runner out of Charlestown or Savannah, it it not known which, and had proceeded but a couple of days when Du Barry, who had been ailing, suddenly died. the captain of the steamer proposed to return to port but the widow strenuously insisted that the vessel should continue and that the body be cast overboard. This was done and the vessel reached England in due time.
In a year or two Mrs. Chandler drifted back to New York, where she was involved in a scandal with some actor. After this she went again to Europe, where she met and married Baron Von Rogue. It is said he was not faithful to her, and at one time gave her beating, so she left him.
When last heard from the woman was filling the position of wife of an attaché of the British Legation at Teheran, Persia. Since she left Mobile the Chandler family here have had nothing to do with her.