994 users online (182 members and 812 guests)  


The Killing Season - Websleuths

Websleuths News


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    orange county, ny
    Posts
    2,381

    NJ - Mary Cecilia Rogers, 20, Hoboken, 25 July 1841

    Fans of Edgar Allen Poe know his story "The Mystery of Marie Roget" as the sequel to "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and the second appearance of detective C. Auguste Dupin. It is also recognized as one of the first detective novels. What many don't know is that the story is based on a real case, and was Poe's way of attempting to solve what is one of New York City's oldest and most puzzling cold cases.

    On July 28th of 1841, men walking along the Hudson River near an area known as Sybil's Cave in the city of Hoboken spotted what appeared to be a bundle of clothing floating in the water. They grabbed a boat from a nearby dock and rowed to the floating objects. What they found was a murder mystery that endures to this day.
    The men pulled the body of a young woman from the water. Her dress was torn, and as one reporter put it, "her features were barely visible as so much violence had been done to her".

    A coroner's inquest discovered finger-marks on her throat, evidence that her wrists had been bound, and that a strip had been torn from her dress and wrapped tightly around her mouth. The coroner stated that he believed she had been killed by "more than two or three persons". He stated she had "brutally violated".
    The story of the murder took on a life of its own when a young man, Alfred Crommelin, came forward to indentify the girl as his former fiance, Mary Cecilia Rogers.
    Mary had last been seen on July 25th when she left her mother's home. She met her present fiance, Daniel Payne, and told him she was going to visit a relative. She never came home.
    Mary's murder sparked a sensation with all the New York papers. She had worked as a sales clerk at John Anderson's tobacco store, a popular haunt of prominent writers James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, and also Edgar Allen Poe. Not only did these well-known writers frequent the shop, so did most of the writers and editors of the New York papers. Mary, "the beautiful cigar girl", had waited on many of them. Every detail of the investigation made headlines, pushing national and international news off the front page. Her story sold countless papers. Not only was every lurid detail published, some clues and suspects were invented to keep the publics' interest and sell more papers. Each paper competed to push a new theory, a new suspect.

    However, by mid-August, with no new concrete leads, interest in the case began to wane. Then in late August, Frederica Loss, proprietor of a tavern near where Mary's body had been found, reported to authorities that her sons had found clothing in a thicket along the river. Among the items was a handkerchief with the monagram MR. This new find revived interest in the case, and certainly didn't hurt business at Frederica's establishment. Reporters and the public flocked to the scene. Her recollection of the night of Mary's murder increased in proportion to her newly-increased revenue. Though many papers used the finding of the clothing to bolster their various claims, others proclaimed the find a hoax.

    Following the death of Mary, her fiance Daniel Payne fell into a deepening depression. Already considered an alcoholic, he began drinking even more heavily. On the morning of October 7th, Payne began drinking in the various bars he often visited. He also stopped into a store and purchased a small bottle of the poison laudanum.
    Payne then travelled across the Hudson to Hoboken, stopping at Loss's tavern to drink some more. He then proceeded to the thicket where the clothing had been found, wrote a short note, then poisoned himself.
    The note read, "To the World, here I am on the spot. May God forgive me my misspent life".
    Payne was considered to have an air-tight alibi for the day Mary was murdered, so his note was seen by many as not an admission of guilt but simply the writing of love-struck romantic who could not live without Mary.

    A year later, Frederica was shot by one of her own sons. On her death-bed, she made the confession that Mary had died as the result of a botched abortion in the tavern. Her sons had disposed of the clothing and the body.

    Many theories as to who had killed Mary circulated for years to come. Crommelin, the former fiance, was a suspect, as was Payne. Some blamed a gang of ****s; some even blamed the sons of Frederica Loss. In 1838, Mary had disappeared for a few days. Some thought she had plans to elope with a sailor, and that he may have been the murderer. As the result of the popularity of Poe's serialized story "The Murder of Marie Roget", there has even been speculation that he was the killer.

    Poe stated at the time that his fictionalized account of the murder (he changed the victim's name and moved the location to France) was his attempt to solve the crime. It's been noted, however, that as he published the chapters of his crime story, his theories changed with each new revelation. The final chapter includes the abortion twist added by Loss's deathbed "confession".

    Whatever the truth may be, Mary's death is immortalized in the work of one the greatest American authors in history and remains an intriguing unsolved crime.

    (sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mystery_of_Marie_Roget
    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/classics/mary_rogers/index.html )

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    470

    The Coroner's Report

    This is such a sad case! I had never heard of it before. But I did after some searching, find something on the coroner's report.

    The coroner later described the corpse: "...her face was swollen, the veins were highly distended. There was a mark about the size and shape of a man's thumb on the right side of the neck, near the jugular vein, and two or three marks on the left side resembling the shape of a man's fingers, which led me to believe she had been throttled and partially choked by a man's hand. It appeared as if the wrists had been tied together, and as if she had raised her hands to try to tear something from off her mouth and neck, which was choking and strangling her. The dress was much torn in several places...a piece was torn clean out of this garment, about a foot or 18 inches in width...this same piece was tied round her mouth, with a hard knot at the back part of the neck; I think this was done to smother her cries and that it was probably held tight round her mouth by one of her brutal ravishers. Her hat was off her head at the time of the outrage, and that after her violation and murder had been completed, it was tied on." The doctor concluded that "there was not the slightest trace of pregnancy" and so therefore the woman "had evidently been a person of chastity and correct habits" and that the murder was done by "more than two or three persons."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,631
    Thanks, shadowangel for posting this. I have read the story of Mary Rogers many times, particularly the Crime Library story. It's always fascinating to read about it. I'm not buying the botched abortion because she showed signs of being beaten and choked. Plus, as Laura_Bean posted, it said on the the corner's report that she was a "person of chastity" so there was no evidence of even a previous pregnancy. And I'm sure the coroner's report was written before Fredrica died a year later and made her confession.
    Please Help Find Brian Shaffer!



    www.findbrianshaffer.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    The South, USA
    Posts
    2,405
    This is so weird! Just today I started a new unit with my students. They are going to read "The Fall of the House of Usher." I always start with a Poe biography, and I always read an article called "Did Poe Murder the Cigar Girl." The students love it...a real historical unsolved mystery. I'll have to read them shadowangel's article, as well.

  5. #5
    gaia227's Avatar
    gaia227 is offline I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting - M. Twain
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,725
    Love it! Thanks for posting. I love the really old unsolved cases.

    I don't buy the abortion story either because of the state of her body. From what I can gather she was beaten, gagged and bound, strangled, and 'brutally violated' which I take as rape.....that is not very consistent with dying from a botched abortion.

    The theory that she actually did have an abortion and was at the Tavern recooperating, her fiance knew where she was, panicked over the interest in her whereabouts got drunk and murdered her seems plausible. His guilt was so great whenver he sobered up he could not live with himself. However, there seem to be many holes in that theory too - I would think Mary would have made arrangements with her mother so no one would come looking for her.
    -The coroners report said she had been chaste (although I think it possible he could have been wrong - medical technology wasn't exactly that accurate by our standards today.

    Perhaps it was a crime of jealousy. Mary did have a current and ex-fiance with whom she stayed in touch with.
    'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated'
    --Ghandi


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    The South, USA
    Posts
    2,405
    Although the coroner's report and reports of those who knew Mary Rogers said she was chaste, remember that she was missing for a week in October, 1838. Turns out she was in Hoboken with a sailor the whole time, even though she said originally that she was with her aunt. So I don't know how chaste she really was.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    orange county, ny
    Posts
    2,381
    The amount of print Mary's case received makes it nearly impossible to discern the truth from the fiction that has been built up around this case. Every paper competed to see who could uncover, or invent, the next juicy or lurid tidbit.
    I've read, variously, that the Loss boys were children, teens, or young adults. I tend to believe they were young men, and some of the reports stated they were "a rough bunch". I think it's plausible that they did in fact kill her, and the mother used the noteriety of her death to make a quick dollar. Then again, there remains the mystery of her short disappearance in '38...
    The coroner's report seems contradictory to me, as I assume that "brutally violated" implies sexual assault. I'm unsure how he determined her "chastity" in that case.

    I've long been a fan of Poe, since early childhood (not that you can tell that by my tagline and avatar). I had the opportunity to see John Astin's ("Gomez Addams") one-man show a few years ago. His recital of "The Raven" was mesmerizing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,593
    In regards to the coroner stating that she was chaste, I took that more to be an inference from the fact that she showed no signs of ever having been pregnant. I admit I could be wrong, that was just my interpretation.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,631
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn1001 View Post
    In regards to the coroner stating that she was chaste, I took that more to be an inference from the fact that she showed no signs of ever having been pregnant. I admit I could be wrong, that was just my interpretation.
    That's what I thought too, when the coroner said chastity. I too thought brutally violated meant sexual assault.
    Please Help Find Brian Shaffer!



    www.findbrianshaffer.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    470

    Mary Rogers may have been pregnant before this

    The thing is, if Mary was giving the customers her affections for extra money, she could have disappeared to Mrs. Loss's tavern the first time she went missing, to have it taken care of. I have heard of women getting illegal abortions being tied down and in some cases gagged to ensure they didn't scream and alert people to what was happening. I even read about one case where a woman performed abortions illegally, (this was the 1930's), and would have two men who held the women down while she performed them. Realize something, back than these girls for the most part, would go to the local butcher, have no medicine or pain killers or sterilized instruments, and just have him try and do it without killing them. And as for the coroner's report, he might not have been able to tell she was pregnant, especially if the fetus was very small or taken out of Mary before her body was dumped.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    orange county, ny
    Posts
    2,381
    Some papers from a year after Mary's murder make an interesting point (assuming, that is, that there is any truth to it).
    Mary supposedly had a good relationship with her mother, until the time she disappeared before her murder. Her mother never came forward to identify the body, and "made no enquiries into the matter" afterward.
    The reporters theorized that she knew where Mary was going and why....

    Then again, these same articles state that Mary had been the "victim of hellish lust, then of murder" (Green Bay Republican, 12-17-1842).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    470

    Does anyone know if it is true

    I read that Mary went to her ex fiancee and begged him to marry her, and when he would not, she went to him and demanded money for a family emergency. If this is the truth, one might make the assumption that she was, indeed pregnant, and did not want to have an abortion, and figured she could pass the baby off as his, saying the baby came early. When he said no, one might assume she needed the money in order to pay for an abortion. If not, than why did she ask him to marry her suddenly, and what was the money for?

    I mean, here's the thing. If she and her mother were in trouble, financially, it leads us to whole new set of suspects. So let's say Mary and her mother are broke, and Mary isn't cutting it with her job at the cigar shop, so she starts putting things on tabs, the grocer, the butcher, the milkman, etc. If she than went to her fiancee and asked him to marry her, so she could use his wealth to get them out of poverty, and he said no, she may have asked him for some money to pay someone back. She would probably just say a family emergency, and no elaborate, but if she went from there to pay one of them back some of the money, and it wasn't enough they may have decided to get it out of her some other way, she was violated and if she struggled enough...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    orange county, ny
    Posts
    2,381
    Mary's mother is often described as a poor dowager, being provided for by Mary. I would think that Mary was making good money, as she brought in a lot of business for John Anderson's tobacco shop. I've read that at his death, Anderson was worth some ten million dollars.
    Of course, I'm simply speculating on Mary's financial situation.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    dirty south
    Posts
    289
    I don't particularly believe the abortion story either, just to start off with.

    But she could have THOUGHT she was pregnant and scheduled the abortion, rather than a doctor's appointment to verify pregnancy.

    Also, a lot of times the hymen can remain in tact after the first few sexual interactions, so if that is what the coroner was looking at to verify her chastity.. well, let's just say there's no way medically possible to know if a woman is a virgin or not.

    That being said, I agree that the state of the body disproves the abortion claim. The only reason I could think of that they'd have to bind her wrists is if they didn't (and of course they wouldn't have access to) use anesthetics, perhaps they bound her to keep her still -- but I really don't see how that'd help. The strip in her mouth could be to quell her screams during the abortion. But there's no reason she'd be throttled.

    Personally, I'm terrified that if abortions are outlawed yet again, this sort of thing would start all over.
    nothing seems black when i see your red shoes

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    470

    I wonder if it was a botched abortion

    If Mary was struggling too much, would one of the people, either the person performing it, or perhaps a helper have grabbed her around the neck, just to knock her out? Perhaps it was tried, and the person who did it squeezed too hard...

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast


Similar Threads

  1. KY KY - Crystal Rogers, 35, Bluegrass Parkway, 3 July 2015 #2
    By KateB in forum Missing Persons Discussion
    Replies: 754
    Last Post: 12-04-2016, 04:17 AM
  2. Found Safe AR - Stefanie Stephens, 34, Rogers, 24 July 2016
    By los2188 in forum Located Persons Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-29-2016, 01:31 PM
  3. Found Deceased MO - Chad Rogers, 30, Liberty, 22 July 2013
    By davehead21 in forum Located Persons Discussion
    Replies: 241
    Last Post: 09-05-2013, 11:49 AM

Tags for this Thread