On the evening of Monday, April 6, 1896, Tillie Karcher heard moaning in the flat of seamstress Millie Meyers, just upstairs of her at 415 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn. She listened again and heard a young female voice crying out, "Oh, let me go home to my mama!"
Karchner sought out a policeman on his rounds, who went to the apartment
and found a young woman there, ailing and alone. The girl gave her name as Mrs. Emily Scott.
"What is your husband's name?" the officer asked.
"Ollie Scott. He is a fireman on a Fulton ferry boat."
"Do your parents know you are married?
"No; it is a secret."
"Are you his common law wife or were you married by a minister?"
"Ollie is my husband, and is a true, good husband to me. I believe in him."
"Who is your doctor?"
Emily named Dr. Cardwell of Halsey Street
found prescription bottles in the room, so he copied the information
from them and went to the pharmacy that had prepared them. The
pharmacist said that the medicines were common ones used in treating
considered all these goings-on to be fishy, so he reported the situation
to the precinct captain, who began an investigation to identify and
round up everybody involved in the young woman's suspicious illness.
Around 5:30 on
Tuesday afternoon, April 7, the young woman said that she was going to
die soon, told the police that her real name was Emily Binney and gave
them her address on Rutledge Street.
Emily's turn for
the worse sent the police rushing for the coroner, leaving the ailing
girl in the care of Minnie Meyer. The coroner arrived to find that Miss
Meyer had abandoned Emily, leaving her to die alone in the intervening
Dr. Cardwell was questioned and said that he had indeed cared for Emily but hadn't believed anything was unusual.
Minnie Meyer admitted that she'd helped 20-year-old Emily to seek out the services of 33-year-old midwife Mary Schott and had herself been engaged to look after the patient.
cleaning woman told police that two men, Mr. May and a man who used both
the names Scott and Schmidt, had been coming by the place regularly to
A police officer
went to the Fulton ferry house and managed to identify Scott/Schmidt as
Arthur Robbins, who was a ferry fireman. Robbins was arrested when he
showed up at Meyer's flat to look for Emily at 10:00 that evening.
Robbins said that he was a family friend and that a friend had brought a
message from Emily that he was to come to see her there.
Mr. May turned out to be Emily's cousin George May, who boarded with her family.
May, Robbins, Schott, and Meyers were all arrested.
suspects were being questioned, Minnie said that Emily's baby had been
born alive on March 21. Upon hearing that, Robbins burst into tears and
told police that about four hours after the child's birth he had wrapped
the baby in newspapers weighted down with a piece of iron and thrown it
out a porthole in the ferry. He couldn't say if the baby had still been
alive when it was tossed into the river.
He then admitted
that he had gone with Emily and Minnie to arrange for Mrs. Schott to
perform an abortion, paying her $50 that he'd gotten from Emily. Police
learned that Emily had gotten the money from her cousin George, who had
taken $100 out of the bank for her the day before the abortion. May
admitted that he'd gotten the money for Emily, but insisted that he'd
given it to her so she could go away while he and Robbins tried to get
her baby's father, Mr. Fox of Port Oram, New Jersey, to marry her.
Emily hadn't told
her parents of the pregnancy. She had left home, telling her sick
mother that she was going to Dover, New Jersey, to visit a friend. When
police notified the family of Emily's death, Mrs. Binney collapsed from
the shock and was reported to be "in critical condition."
sister, Beatrice, seemed to have a bit more knowledge. Though she
insisted to police that she'd not even known Emily to have a romantic
attachment, Beatrice had learned of her sister's death when she went to
the Meyers home.
Emily's father seemed to bear no ill will against Robbins. He actually
went to the station house to speak to him, asking "How are you, Robbie?"
Robbins, it is reported, "turned his face to the wall and wept."
Of all the parties involved, I could only learn the fate of Minnie Meyer, who was found guilty of manslaughter.