While digitizing some obituaries this morning, I came across an obituary card referencing a woman who drowned in a well after attempting to murder her daughter. I had to know more. So, I looked up the September 21, 1874 edition of the Titusville Morning Herald and found the following eloquently written, but horrifying article:
TITUSVILLE MORNING HERALD – SEPTEMBER 21, 1874
A Deed of Blood – A Partly Deranged Woman Attempts to Brain Her Daugher With a Hatchet and Not Succeeding Drowns Herself in A Well – A Terrible and Sickening Recital.
[Correspondence of the Herald]
Rouseville, September 19
A shocking tragedy was enacted on the Sharp farm, near this place today, the horrifying details of which are such as to cause the heart to turn sick, and the blood cold with horror in the veins of the listener. Mrs. Beltzer, a German woman, attempted to kill her daughter, aged fifteen years, with a hatchet. She struck the girl several times on the head and neck, with the deadly weapon, inflicting dangerous and ghastly wounds, and would no doubt have
COMPLETED HER BLOODY WORK,
had it not been for a younger daughter, fourteen years old, who came to the rescue of her sister, and succeeded in getting the hatchet away from the infuriated woman, who, when she found that she had been baffled in her murderous attempt at the life of her child, ran out into the yard and threw herself into the well, which stood in front of the house. The wounded and bleeding girl seeing what her mother had done, ran to the
MOUTH OF THE WELL,
and begged her not to drown herself, and asked her if she would not get into the bucket and be drawn up. Receiving an answer in the affirmative, the poor girl, bleeding and faint though she was, exerted her little remaining strength in an endeavor to save her mother from a horrible fate. Her efforts proved unavailing, however, for the poor woman had fainted and fallen forward into the water
AND WAS DEAD
before aid could be summoned to the rescue. Some weeks ago she had given birth to a child, since which time she had been in a very delicate state of health, and temporary insanity, was no doubt, the cause of her attempting the life of her child. The unfortunate girl is being tenderly cared for and may possibly recover.