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An Early 1900s Petersburgh Shooting

...from an undated newspaper clipping, probably Troy NY newspaper of Nov. 12, 1915, about a Petersburgh, NY incident


PETERSBURGH WOMAN'S CRIME

Attempts to Murder Youth With Whom She Was Infatuated - Fires Bullet Through Her Own Heart - Lad Escapes by Strategy - Sequel to Fast Life and Drink.

Maud Gardner Baker of Petersburgh, divorced wife of Edward Baker of this city, attempted to kill Raymond Clark (Website ed. note: 1897-1963 PMPV), son of Walter Clark of Petersburgh, on the outskirts of that village about 8:30 o'clock last night (ed. note: Nov. 11, 1915) by firing a shot at his head from a thirty-two-calibre revolver. Failing in her attempt to kill him and under the influence of liquor, she turned the weapon on herself, sending a bullet through her heart. The noise of the shooting aroused Miss Prosser, who resides on the Troy-Petersburgh state highway just this side of Petersburgh, and she went out and found Mrs. Baker lying dead by the roadside. The revolver was by her side. Three cartridges had been discharged, and there were still two loaded cartridges in the five-chambered thirty-two-calibre weapon. (See ed. notes on pistol below.)

The Other Victim.

The first definite news of the shooting came from young Clark, who rushed into the office of Dr. S.B. Hull in Petersburgh with blood streaming down his face and nearly exhausted and said that he had been shot. Dr. Hull dressed the wound, which was across the forehead over the left eye, extending to the skull, but not causing a dangerous injury. While dressing the wound Dr. Hull was notified of the finding of Mrs. Baker. With Deputy Sheriff Clark Main he went in the place where Miss Prosser had discovered Mrs. Baker. The latter was dead, however, and an autopsy later indicated that death was instantaneous.

Story of the Shooting.

From the stories told by young Clark it appears that he saved his own life by strategy. He and Mrs. Baker had been friends for some time, and in spite of the discrepancies in their ages - she being about twenty-eight years old and he ten years younger - she was infatuated with him. Yesterday she was in Hoosick Falls (NY) and had been drinking. About 8 o'clock last evening Clark in his automobile called on Mrs. Baker and asked her to go riding. She accepted and a slight quarrel, the particulars of which Clark fails to disclose, shortly ensued. About a half-mile from the village Mrs. Baker drew the revolver and fired point-blank at her companion. He fell from the automobile, stunned by the shot. Feigning death, he lay perfectly still for a moment, got his bearings and then, as Mrs. Baker was alighting from the machine, he jumped up and started for Petersburgh as fast as he could run. Mrs. Baker discharged a shot at the fleeing youth but missed.

Followed Him Some Distance.

Apparently Mrs. Baker followed young Clark for some distance, for her body was found several hundred yards nearer Petersburg than where she had left the automobile. It is presumed that she was angered by her failure to reach Clark and finally turned the weapon on herself.

Acting for Coroner.

Dr. S.B. Hull notified Coroner Hull of this city, who happens to be his brother, of the shooting, and the Coroner deputized his brother to act for him and to perform an autopsy. Acting in that capacity Dr. Hull and Dr. Packard, of Berlin, and Dr. Sperry of Rochester, a classmate of Dr. Hull and his guest, performed the autopsy on Mrs. Baker last night. They found that the bullet had pierced the heart and had lodged in the muscles of the back. Later her body was taken to the home of her mother, Mrs. Addie Gardner of Petersburgh, with whom Mrs. Baker had lived.

Formerly Worked in Troy.

Mrs. Baker worked in a collar shop here two or three years. She married Edward Baker, but it was not long before he secured a divorce. Since that time, about seven years ago, the young woman had resided with her mother in Petersburgh.

Assistant District Attorney Filley, County Detective Cairns and county Officer Jones went to Petersburgh this morning to investigate the shooting.

Website Editor's Notes:

  • Rensselaer County cemetery records show a Maud M. Gardner b. 4 Mar. 1898 and d. 11 Nov. 1915, buried in PMPV (Petersburgh Meadowlawn/Pleasant Valley Cemetery), which would indicate an age of 17 at death; however, newspaper article indicates she died at twenty-eight years of age. -- http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyrensse
  • Pistol shown in picture would be representative of weapon description: Harrington & Richardson, Inc., (H&R) Worchester, MA, "The American Double Action, a .32, .28, or .44 centerfire caliber double-action revolver with a 2.5", 4.5", or 6" round or octagonal barrel, a 5- or 6-shot fluted cylinder, depending on the caliber, and solid frame, Nickle-plated, with some blue models noted. The grips are of hard rubber. Marked 'The American Double Action.' Some noted are marked 'H&R Bulldog.' Approximately 850,000 were manufactured between 1883 and 1940." - Source: Standard Catalog of Firearms, 3rd ed.
  • Illustrations not part of original newspaper clipping.

INTERESTING MORTGAGE SUIT.

Trustee in Bankruptcy Alleges Fraudulent transfer of Half-Interest in Farm - Further Complications in the Case.

Alleging that the defendant deeded a half-interest in a farm of 150 acres in Stillwater to his sister to defraud creditors, an action was commenced by Charles B. Andruss, as Trustee in Bankruptcy of William J. Flagler, against carrie ferris, et al, to set aside the deed, and trial of the case was held in Supreme court at Ballston Spa yesterday before Justice Whitmyer and a jury. On January 15, 1915, Flagler gave a deed to his sister, who owned the other half-interest, both subject to a life interest of their mother, Mrs. Olive Flagler. On the same day he filed a petition in bankruptcy. The case is complicated by the giving of a mortgage on the entire farm by Mrs. Ferris to the Mechanicville National Bank and the use of the $1500 thus secured to pay off other notes and claims.

(Ed. note: This story as part of the clipping identifies the time frame as being some period within a year so after Jan. 15, 1915; the recorded death of Maud M. Gardner (if this person is indeed the Maud Gardner Baker in the article) as Nov. 11, 1915 would place the newspaper's date as Nov. 12, 1915.)

- Clipping courtesy of Dan McCumber and Susie McCumber

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