The Daily Reporter - Nov 17, 1880

A Sudden Death

A Boy Dies Suddenly – Several Others Seriously Sick

Joseph Carroll, aged 14, son of Mr. Patrick Carroll; residing on the Brimmer Brook Road about 3 miles from this village, died suddenly and strangely this morning.  Dr. Nye was called and pronounced the disease spinal meningitis.  A number of other boys of the neighborhood were also taken sick last night and it was believed all had been poisoned.

The circumstances leading to such conclusion are the claim that these boys had been stealing cider to drink from a neighbor named Thomas Mellody.  He wanted to punish them, and made inquiry of parties as to what he could put into the cider to “fix” the boys.  It is said the result was that he put in a quantity of antimony and Tarter emetic into a small quantity of the cider, and left it where the boys could get it.

Young Carroll fell into the water Sunday while setting traps, but was well enough to attend school yesterday as usual and he with others drank of this cider last evening.  It is said that he finished the dose prepared for them; and drinking last probably got the strongest dose of the poison.

There is a good deal of excitement attending the case, and as it is a serious one, doubtless a fair post mortem and full investigation will be the wisest course to adopt.

P.S.  We learn from Mr. Carroll, father of the deceased that when the boy was taken violently ill in the night, he went to Mellody and asked what he had put in the cider. Mellody told him “nothing that would hurt – only a little Tarter emetic and antimony”.  The father does not accept Dr. Nye’s theory, but believes his boy died from the effects of the poison in the cider.

The other children, a dozen or more who partook of the cider, were all taken severely sick, but only young Carroll died.  It is thought all of the others will recover.