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happy? - Jan 31 (Pearl Bryan murdered)

Abby Sale 31 Jan 06 - 09:15 AM
Rapparee 31 Jan 06 - 09:35 AM
RWilhelm 31 Jan 06 - 12:55 PM
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Subject: happy? – Jan 31 (Pearl Bryan murdered)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 31 Jan 06 - 09:15 AM

Two dentists botch an abortion on Pearl Bryan of Greencastle, Indiana.
Naturally, they then kill her.
Then decapitate her.
They were hanged 3/20/1897

        Young ladies, if you'll listen, a story I'll relate,
        Which happened near St Thomas in the old Kentucky state.
        It was January the 31st, that awful deed was done,
        By Jackson & Walling. How cold Pearl's blood did run.

                Olive Woolley Burt, American Murder Ballads, 1958.
                Also The New Green Mountain Songster, HH Flanders, etc.,

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky

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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 31 (Pearl Bryan murdered)
From: Rapparee
Date: 31 Jan 06 - 09:35 AM

Abby, the two were dental students, studying at the Cincinnati Dental College. Pearl was a graduate of DePauw University of Greenfield, Indiana and was living in Cincinnati; she and Jackson had known each other in Greencastle, Indiana.

At the time of her death Pearl was four to five months pregnant, and she had ingested a large quantity of cocaine just before her death.

Her head has never been found: it might have been dropped into the Ohio River or burnt in the furnace at the Dental College.

But little did Pearl think when she left her happy home,
That the grip she carried in her hand would hide her head away.
She thought that it was a lover's hand she could trust both night and day,
But alas! It was a lover's hand that took her life away.


Now all young girls take warning, for all men are unjust.
It may be your truest lover; you know not whom to trust.
Peral Bryan died away from home on a dark and lonely spot.
My God, believe me girls, don't let this be your lot.

Details from The Cincinnati Crime Book by George Stimson (Cincinnati: Peasenhall Press, 1998). (I used to work in Ft. Thomas and Newport and drive by the place Pearl's body was found regularily. She's buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle, Indiana -- sans head.)

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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 31 (Pearl Bryan murdered)
From: RWilhelm
Date: 31 Jan 06 - 12:55 PM

She actually left her home in Greencastle for Cincinnati specifically to have the abortion. She told her parents she was visiting friends in Indianapolis.

The father of the child may have been Scott Jackson or may have been Pearl's second cousin Will Wood, son of the Presiding Elder of the Methodist Episcopal church in Indiana. Wood denied having "criminal relations" with Pearl. Jackson admitted it but claimed Wood had her first. Wood helped arrange the abortion, but later testified against Jackson.

Neither Jackson nor Walling (Jackson's roommate) admitted any knowledge of Pearl's death and both were convicted on circumstantial evidence. A week before they were hanged they implicated a Kentucky Dr. (who at the time was an inmate at an insane asylum) in a partial confession.

I've just finished the second draft of a novel about Pearl Bryan's death. When I finish number three I may have something.

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Mudcat time: 17 October 8:56 AM EDT

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