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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Arsenic in their Coffee

Trenton Evening Times (New Jersey)
29 Jul 1889

Dastardly Attempt to Poison the South’s Richest Colored Woman.  Nashville, Tenn., July 29 —- Lucy Bedford, aged 85, and Emily Parsons, her niece, both colored,  have been poisoned by arsenic which was placed in their coffee.  Miss Parsons died last night and Miss Bedford is in a critical condition.  Lucy Bedford is probably the riches colored woman in the south, having been given an estate worth $100,000 by the will of her former owner.  Four negro servants of Miss Bedford are under arrest on suspeicion of the crime, the object of which is unkonw.   It is said that on Miss Bedford’s death her property is to revert to relatives of her former master. 

Catherine Small a negro woman who had formally been employed as a cook, confessed that she put arsenic in the coffee in order to kill Gracey Hunter, a negress who now cooks for the old women, and whom Catherine accused of taking her place in their employ.  She is in jail. 

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