Monday, July 18, 2011

TIME MACHINE ... June, 1879 (Part 2 of 5)

Please note: Due to its length the postings for this article which began on Sunday will continue during this week.


(As published in the Warren Ledger, Warren, Pa.)


Details of the most remarkable crime on record.

A Woman Who Wanted To Marry One Of Her Own Sex.

Baltimore, May 27.- The trial of Miss Lillie Duer on an indictment for fatally shooting her once intimate friend and associate, Miss Ella Hearn, is fixed for tomorrow, at Snow Hill, Worcester County, Md.

(PART 2)

It seems strange that she could love such an unsexed being as Miss Duer appears to be, from what is told of her. She would smoke with the sang froid of a Frenchman, and was even fond of tobacco in its other forms. Her dresses were always worn short, and a little jacket with inside pockets, like a boy's, filled with tobacco or licorice, and a boy's hat, which she tipped when acknowledging a salute, composed the most striking articles of her usual costume. The young girls with whom she associated tell numerous stories of her idiosyncrasies. She never cared for the society of the sterner sex and would make hot love like a Romeo to her female friends. Sometimes they laugh these strange fancies away, at others she would frighten them with her vehemence, and they would run away from her. She was always a mystery and a young lady who knew her well says it was a favorite theory of hers that two women could be quite as happy and get along quite as well married as a woman and a man. In all outdoor sports she excelled her lady friends, and could jump, shout, and play base ball as well as any young man in the town. She always carried a pistol and was an expert shot. It is said that all of her dresses were made with a pocket for her pistol, and it is certain that she always carried one and was fond of using it. But with all these peculiarities she was looked upon in Pocomoke as a bright, intelligent woman, with queer notions, to be sure, but which time would most likely correct. I watched Miss Duer closely as she sat talking quietly but with animation with me in her father's parlor yesterday for some indication of the strange characteristics she is said to possess, but in the somewhat melancholy cast of her countenance and the calmness with which her eyes met mine, there was nothing to suggest anything peculiar about her.

The tragedy occurred on the 5th of November last. The professed friendship of Miss Duer had become very unpleasant to Miss Hearn, and every effort was made to break off the acquaintance. Miss Duer chafed at this, and would frequently upbraid her "dearest friend" for the coldness of her manner and the evident weakness of her affection. The truth was that Miss Hearn had reason to fear that her life was not safe with her. Upon one occasion while the two girls were in the woods gathering leaves for decorative purposes, Miss Hearn started home some distance ahead of her companion, who called upon her to wait. Not obtaining instant obedience to her somewhat abrupt command she called again quite sharply. This second summons was not heeded, when without any warning Miss Duer pulled out her pistol and shot twice at the now thoroughly frightened girl. When asked why she shot the only reply was that if she had not halted then the next shot would have been more effective than the previous ones.

(To be continued)

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