Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

Categories: Europe | History

Strychnine is one of the most powerful poisons. But unlike many other toxic substances, it does not kill instantly, but causes the victim to experience great suffering before death. Sometimes the dying person even has time to report the circumstances of his poisoning, however, this does not always help the investigation. This is exactly what happened to the American Almon Farnsworth, who was killed by an unknown poisoner in 1872.

Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

Mr. Almon Farnsworth of Hermon, New York, was a very respectable man. He kept an inn and a tavern named after him and was considered a respectable person and an exemplary family man. Many believed that he had no enemies, however, at least one person wished him dead.

Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

On January 22, 1872, one of the regulars entered the tavern. There were several customers in the restaurant hall, and the owner's son was standing behind the counter. The guest ordered a glass of ale and the young man, having filled the container from the jug, put it under the bar. The visitor drank and, saying goodbye, left. Soon the owner himself, Almon Farnsworth, came to the establishment. He poured himself some ale from a pitcher and drank it in one gulp.

He had an important event that day. A touring phrenologist has arrived in town, predicting the future from the shape of a skull. He was to perform in the lobby of the Farnsworth Hotel. The host was going to enjoy the lecture, but that was not to be. A few minutes after the man drank the ale, he felt very weak. Then he started having terrible pains all over his body and convulsions.

A doctor was immediately sent for, to whom Farnsworth reported that he had become ill from the drink. After that, the police were called, who arrived just at the moment when the victim of the poisoner breathed his last. The policeman poured some ale into a bowl and offered it to the cat who lived in the inn. She drank quite a bit and after a short torment, she also died.

Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

The body of the unfortunate Mr. Farnsworth had not yet had time to cool down, and an investigation had already begun in the hotel lobby. A lot of people gathered to watch the speech of the phrenologist. In addition, the police brought a few more people who entered the institution before the tragedy. The customer who ordered a glass of ale was beyond suspicion. He did not touch the jug and, having drunk, immediately left. Since he was unharmed, it became clear that the poison was added to the ale after he left.

The first suspect was Mr. Brown. This man lived for some time at the Fransworth hotel, and then ran away without paying the room. Perhaps he had reason to dislike the deceased. In addition, someone saw Brown buying rat poison at the pharmacy. But the pharmacist denied this version - he claimed that he did not sell poison. Therefore, Brown was left alone and began to work on other versions.

Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

The next in line were the sons of the deceased. Almon Farnsworth often instructed adult offspring in a paternal way, teaching them the wisdom of business. Sometimes he raised his voice and was even unnecessarily harsh. Immediately a witness appeared - a local resident by the name of Reed. He claimed that he saw with his own eyes how poison was added. According to him, one of the sons of the deceased. Tyrone handed the jug over to a certain Halsted Smith, who poured some kind of powder into the container.

But Reed was not believed. Firstly, he was in the room from the very beginning of the investigation, but before that he was silent. And secondly, he was the best friend of the first suspect, Brown. The witness could well have slandered the guy in order to avenge his comrade. There were no more suspects and it seemed that the case had reached a dead end. But law enforcement officers, unable to figure it out, simply “appointed” the perpetrators. Behind bars were both Farnsworth's sons and Halsted Smith.

Death from a Jar, or the Mysterious Murder of Almon Farnsworth

Fortunately, the judges did not take sin into their souls and at the very first meeting they acquitted all three. The crime remained unsolved, and the inhabitants of the city lived in fear for several more years. The criminal, most likely, lived among them and, it is possible that he could kill again. In addition, the concern was caused by the fact that there was no certainty that they wanted to deal with Farnsworth. After all, anyone could drink ale from a jug.

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