SUMMARY: On August 14, 1862, Clara Vansickle of Newton, New Jersey, died after taking an abortifacient provided by her lover, George M. Drake.
Clara Vansickle, the daughter of a prosperous farmer near Newton, New Jersey, and George M. Drake, son of a wealthy local family, had known each other for about two years. On the evening of August 13, 1826, Drake went to the Vansickle family home to pick Clara up for a drive.
At around 11:00 that night, people heard screams coming from a stable along a back street near the court house. Shortly after that, Drake returned with Clara to the Vansickle home, where she collapsed in her parents' arms.
Her parents called in medical aid. Clara gave birth to a baby boy and began having violent convulsions. Within 24 hours, she was dead.
A coroner's jury found that Clara had died due to taking an abortifacient Drake had provided. Clara had wanted to test its safety by first dosing a cat, but since the couple didn't come across a cat she just took the substance herself.
- "Sad Affair at Newton, N.J.," Baltimore Sun, Aug. 26, 1862
- "Sussex County Murder Case," (Patterson, NJ) Daily Guardian, Nov. 29, 1862
- "A Sensation Murder Trial in New Jersey," Detroit Free Press, Dec. 4, 1862