1902 - GHASTLY FIND MADE AT TIVERTON, R. I. - Tide Draws Veil from 50-Year-Old Mystery - Skeleton Found on Beach
Remains Believed to Be Those of Mrs. Gideon Manchester, Who Disappeared 50 Years ago and Who Was Believed to Have Been Murdered.
Tiverton, R. I., April 3. - A mysterious disappearance and suspected murder of half a century ago are recalled by the discovery of a human skeleton in a crude white cedar box which the wind and tide exposed this week on the shore of Island Park.
The body is believed to be that of Mrs. Gideon Manchester, who disappeared 50 years ago and was never heard from thereafter. Her husband, who still survives, was a seafaring man, and she left her home in this town about the time he was due to reach New Bedford to meet him, going it is thought, through the woods on foot. Her shoes and stockings were found in an unfrequented swamp several weeks later, and investigation showed that a young woman who lived in New Bedford, then a prosperous whaling town, had rings, earrings and other trinkets known to have been owned by Mrs. Manchester. Her husband was arrested, but released for lack of evidence, and the most thorough search failed to reveal the slightest trace of his young and comely wife.
The keeper of the old stone bridge, then a toll bridge, testified before the coroner that he let a man cross the bridge one dark and stormy night just before the search for Mrs. Manchester began. On his wagon the man had a long box, covered by an old quilt. The remains found this week had been buried close to this bridge. The body had apparently been too long for the box and some of the bones had been broken to force it into the improvised coffin.
There is little doubt here that the bones are those of Mrs. Manchester and the interest of the authorities has been revived in the case they thought closed early in the '50s.
Asheville Daily Gazette
Asheville, North Carolina
April 4, 1902
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