Thursday, July 13, 2017

..in a condition that no unmarried woman should be

Ed Note:This was one of the stories told at our Gossip from the Grave Cemetery tour at Centerville a few years ago. A reader asked that it be put on the blog. 

 Cincinnati Inquirer  published April 3,  1879:

Lawrenceville, the capital of Lawrence County, IL which is situated on the Ohio and Mississippi railroad, had barely recovered from the excitement attended upon the recent murder of Frank Hickman, when it again was thrown into a fever by the facts becoming public that we herewith append.

The citizens of the little village were startled a few weeks ago by the sudden and unaccountable disappearance of a vivacious little lady, the beauty of the town, Miss Frankie Warner. Miss Frankie is the daughter of John Warner, a wealthy farmer of Allison Township, Lawrence County. She was a charming little brunette, 19 years of age, and the life of the community.  During the past year she had been making her home at the residence of James K. Dickinson, Clerk of Lawrence County, and the husband of her sister.

It had been rumored that she was in that condition which no unmarried woman should be, and that she had been spirited away to avoid the terrible scandal it would create. The rumors became so loud in time, that those most interested in the girl's welfare caused the fact to be made public that she had been taken to St. Louis to be treated for dropsy. This somewhat allayed the gossip, but knowing ones still held to their original suspicions.

A few days ago, Mr. Dickinson received a telegram from St. Louis stating that Ms. Warner was dying. With his wife he hurried to the side of the sufferer. The citizens of Lawrenceville again became clamorous, and selected an old physician of that place to visit St. Louis and inquire into the condition of the young lady. He started on his mission, and after a hard search, found her in St. Luke's Hospital, lying at the point of death. He further learned that she was admitted to that institution on February 7, and gave birth to a bouncing son on March 18, (1879) who was placed in the care of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Soon after its birth, the mother was taken with erysipelas, (resulting from a surgical infection that caused sepsis) and had  died Sunday morning. Her body was brought to Lawrenceville and buried in Centerville Cemetery on Allison Prairie on Monday.

Stories derogatory to Capt. Dickinson's conduct in the manner having been in circulation, citizens of Lawrenceville held an indignation meeting on Monday, and appointed a committee to meet with him and demand an explanation of the affair. His statement, as given to the committee, was a complete exoneration of himself. He had throughout acted the part of a friend to the girl, and during the enceinte had visited her several times by leading physicians. His explanation was entirely satisfactory and, the committee fully exonerated him from all blame. The girl died without divulging the name of her seducer, but said Dickinson never made improper advances to her. Dickinson and his wife, the young girl's sister,  attended her death bed.