SUMMARY: “Idra” died in the autumn of 1752 after her married lover gave her an abortifacient.
In Montgomery, Maryland, a tradesman I’ll call “Isaac” began asking around for a way to keep his wife, “Adelaide,” from finding out that he had gotten their servant, “Idra,” pregnant. He got “an Herb” from “two idle Fellows of the Town,” but it didn’t have the desired effect.
Idra was now six months pregnant but evidently she and Isaac were still able to keep Adelaide from noticing.
Isaac approached another man, “whose Reputation in Pysic was more famed.” This man provided “a Potion which did it effectually.” The Monday after taking the potion, Idra went out to milk the cows but became so ill that she couldn’t return to the house. Isaac fetched her back to the house, where she died several hours later.
Idra was quietly buried, but Isaac was seized with guilt and confessed everything to Adelaide before trying to commit suicide. Somehow Adelaide stopped him from taking his life, and Isaac fled to parts unknown.
Upon being deserted, Adelaide went to the authorities. Isaac’s accomplices were arrested, and Idra’s body was exhumed. An examination showed that she had died of poisoning. The man who had prepared the abortifacient concoction confessed to preparing it and said that it had contained several ingredients including yellow arsenic.
- “Sept. 27,” Annapolis Gazette, Dec. 21, 1752