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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Feb. 8, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Somebody left two shredded wheat biscuits on the front porch of the East Third Avenue home of pioneer contractor August Ilse. 

The biscuits were packaged like the usual samples left by salesmen. So Mrs. Ilse took a piece and absentmindedly fed it to her dog – which immediately died.

The shredded wheat biscuits were “so thickly powered with strychnine,” one bite would have killed anyone, said the city’s public health doctor. He said it was “clearly a fiendish attempt to kill one or more members” of the Ilse family.

However, the Ilses could think of no one who would want to do them harm.

The only clue Mrs. Ilse could provide was that she recently overheard a neighbor on their shared telephone “party” line tell her husband “to bring home some poison to kill the kids and dogs.” But she said she didn’t think this neighbor was talking about her kids and dogs. She said this neighbor was “of the rattle-brained type” but she had never had any trouble with her.

Police were investigating, and a $1,000 reward was offered for information.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1587: Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England after she was implicated in a plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

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