Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hempstead in old Bklyn Daily Eagle newspaper articles

I recently found, online, various newspaper accounts in the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" of the 1857 murder trial of Emma Augusta [Hempstead] Cunningham. I also came across the blog of Mr. Feldman, who wrote a book [published 2007] based on that trial [and others of the times]. I was almost positive that Emma was part of my Hempstead family - probably an aunt of Phoebe [Hempstead] Morrell. What clinched it was reading that Mrs. Cunningham, who died "penniless" in 1887, was first buried in the plot of her niece, Phoebe Morrell!

The Cunningham murder articles also named her father, Christopher Hempstead, said to be a strict Methodist who disowned Emma when she married someone outside their faith. [It was also said that while Christopher was highly thought of by the church, he was not as popular outside the church.] Christopher's date of death and date of probate were provided in the article; he was said to have a modest estate, with everything going to his family. I hope this data will enable me to obtain copies of those probate documents, hopefully naming all his children for me.

Included in those newspaper articles was vague mention of 2 sisters of Emma's - a Mrs. Simmons who resided "on Lexington" in New York, and a Mrs. Barnes, widowed twice, resided Newark NJ with both husbands but moved back to Brooklyn, NY [Old Gowanus] after the 2nd husband died. Had either 4 or 7 children, total. While her sister Emma Augusta was potentially a murderess, Mrs. Barnes was described as a thief.  [After housesitting for a friend, she cleaned the house out and attempted to sell the goods.]

In another newspaper article, it was stated that John Hempstead, nephew of Mrs. Cunningham [Emma Augusta] was currently [1857] being held in the Suffolk County Jail on charges of bigamy. I've researched John [brother of Phoebe Hempstead] a bit - there is a mystery as to who his first wife was, and if she was indeed the mother of his first 2 children. [John resided Bklyn, NY before moving to Riverhead, Long Island, NY around 1860, where he married Mary Walton, his 2nd wife per 1865 census.] Now, evidently, I have to determine if he married Mary Walton [as his 2nd wife] while still being married to the first wife! I wonder if old court records survive out there on Long Island... [update---per correspondence with Riverhead, those records cannot be found.]

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