THE FATAL WEDDING FEAST. ARSENIC MISTAKEN FOR SALT--SIX PERSONS DEAD AND OTHERS DYING.
CINCINNATI, Nov. 24.—Further particulars are received here to-night of the terrible poisoning case in Tennessee. The marriage of Joel Hembree and Miss Jane Dale, of Roane County, drew together a large company of their friends and relatives, who belong to the prominent families in the vicinity. The wedding had long been talked of, and was the social event of the year. After ceremony the company was invited the hospitable board of Col. Dale, the bride and bridegroom in the meantime withdrawing. The table was bountifully supplied, and all ate heartily. The evening was spent in festivities. Another supper was served. After the meal, several guests began complaining of illness, but it was laughed off and the gayety continued. About 11 o’clock a sudden lethargy seemed to overtake the whole company and in a few minutes 27 were unconscious. The few who retained consciousness set themselves at work to resusciate their companions, but without avail. Twelve were removed to other houses in the neighborhood and as the news spread, the whole country around was aroused with excitement, as nearly every prominent family had members present at the fatal feast. Such medical aid as could be summoned could give little relief, and two days after the occurrence six of the wedding guests were dead. Robert Dale, the bride’s brother, died next day. Mike May. a relative of the groom, died in a few hours. Albert Gallagher and Miss Mattie Lovelace, well-known young people, died next day. Two young girls, Emma Peters and Kate Lowey, died within 24 hours. Col. Dale and his wife are very low, and their death is momentarily expected.The cause of the tragedy was the use of arsenic instead of salt in seasoning the chickens. Col. Dale purchased a quantity of arsenic a day or two before to kill crows, and carelessly left it in the kitchen. A blundering servant mistook it for salt, and hence the fatal results. Only those who partook of the chicken were poisoned.
-- from The New York Times, 25 Nov 1880, page 1