Warren County Historical Society Presents …

The Digital Version “REWIND”

October 16, 2018


A Poisoning in Warrensburgh


Sandi Parisi, Warrensburgh Town Historian, recently shared some information from a scrapbook she found in her office.  The following article, taken from a 1938 paper, probably the Warrensburgh News looked particularly interesting.  It might make a great mystery show for television.  The news story is copied as it appeared in the newspaper article.




Wife of Local Drug Store Proprietor

Died in Hospital

Sunday  Morning


Bichloride of Mercury Used in Act

Business Went Into Bankruptcy

Early in Week – Parents

Claim Body

          Mrs. Naomi Taylor, thirty-eight, wife of Edward W. Taylor, proprietor of the Crystal Pharmacy, in Main street, died at 9 o’clock Sunday morning in the Glens Falls Hospital, a victim of bichloride of mercury poisoning, resulting from the taking of a seven and one-half grain tablet Friday afternoon.  A valiant fight for her life was made by Dr. Leonard J. Byrnes, who attended Mrs. Taylor at the hospital, and Friday evening hopes were held out that she would recover.  Her condition Saturday was “slightly improved,” hospital attendants reported, but the poisoning was too thorough and death came Sunday morning.


          The store was forced into bankruptcy early in the week, and the place of business was closed last week Tuesday.  Fridaty, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were preparing to move, and a truck was at the door loading furniture.  It was said they were to make their home in Malone.


          Medical aid was summoned a soon as the act was discovered and every effort was made to counteract the effects of the tablet.  Mrs. Taylor was then rushed to the Glens Falls hospital.


          After her death Sunday morning, Mrs. Taylor’s body was removed to the Berry W. Woodward undertaking rooms here, and later in the day was claimed by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William VanSicklen, of Amsterdam, who removed the remains to that city for funeral services and burial.  The death certificate issued in the case read “intentional poisoning.”


          Mrs. Taylor was the only child.  He parents at one time resided in Stony Creek, where Mr. VanSicklen was superintendent of the Gardner broom handle factory.  When that industry closed, the family moved to Amsterdam, where Mr. VanSlicken was superintendent of the Gardner plant in that city.


Reading this story left me with a lot of unanswered questions.  Doesn’t it make you wonder about the state of things?  Was the failed business reason enough for her to take her life?  Was ready access to the poison another reason for her to do it?  She must have had some knowledge of the lethal dose.  Did she have help?  Could she have been ashamed about the failed business?  Was suicide any less shameful?  Can you imagine the state of mind she was in?  Ws the thought of moving to Malone overwhelming?  How come there is nothing reported on the husband?  And so the questions continue …


This story caught the attention of Stan Cianfarano, Warren County Historian and he presents it here for your thoughtful consideration.




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