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Fanny Hayes (1876)


Posted By: Judy Wight Branson (email)
Date: 12/17/2007 at 20:40:17

Winterset Madisonian, Winterset, Iowa
September 21, 1876 - page 7


Last week we briefly mention that a sudden death by foul play had been reported. This week we have the circumstances of the case so far and they are
yet, or perhaps ever will be known.

It appears that Mrs. Fanny Hayes was some years ago left a widow by the death of her husband, William Hayes, and has since continued to reside on the farm left by him in Douglas township, this county. The farm, since the death of Mr. Hayes, has been managed by one Dan Rowland, who has lived in the family with Mrs. Hayes and her four children. In the course of time an intimacy sprang up between Mrs. Hayes and Rowland which at length became so noticeable as to excite the comments and gossip of the neighborhood, and as a matter of course, it soon came to be talked that the two were to be married. On hearing this, it seems that Mr. Thomas Hayes, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Hayes' living in the same neighborhood, remonstrated against this, saying he did not regard Rowland as a man fit to have control of his brother's children. Rowland was indignant at this, and has since manifested an intense dislike for Hayes. It is also told that Rowland seemed to have Mrs. Hayes completely under his control, and at times treated her in a contemptible and insolent manner.

About a year since Mrs. Hayes came to Winterset (accompanied by Rowland) and instituted proceedings against Thomas Hayes, for alleged seduction, claiming $5,000 damages, which case was still pending at the time of her death. It is believed by a large majority of Hayes' neighbors, that the charge was a base fabrication and entirely false.

About four weeks since, the woman gave birth to a child which lived but a short time; about a week afterward she was taken violently ill, and a week ago last Sunday evening she died. On Monday a Coroner's inquest was held over the body and a post mortem examination made by physicians from this city. The jury returned a verdict in substance as follows: That Mrs. Fannie Hayes came to her death on Sept. 10, 1876, by reason of the violent use of an instrument, for the purpose of causing an abortion, in the hands of some person to the jury unknown.

It also appears in the evidence that Rowland was frequently at the bedside of the dying woman, and that the last tones that greeted her ears were his oaths and curses against certain members of the community for coming to see her in her sickness. It was claimed by some that he (Rowland) was at times insane, but this is said to be a matter of doubt.

Mrs. Hayes was a good looking, middle aged lady, somewhat below the medium height, and of rather heavy build. When free from vicious influence, she was said to be agreeable in disposition, and respected by her neighbors.

This article was transcribed by Pat Hochstetler.


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