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Amy Archer-Gilligan

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Amy Archer-Gilligan
BornOctober 1868
Dee'd23 Aprile 1962
Cause o daith
natural causes
Ither namesSister
Criminal penalty
Daith, later sent tae insane asylum
Span o killins
Date apprehendit

"Sister" Amy Duggan Archer-Gilligan (1868–1962)[1] wis a Windsor, Connecticut nursin home proprietor an serial killer who systematically murthert at least five fowk wit poison; ane wis her seicont husband, Michael Gilligan, an the rest wur residents o her nursin hame. It is possible that she wis involvit in mair daiths; authorities foond 48 daiths tot frae her nursin hames.

Childhuid an Marriage

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Amy E. Duggan wis born in October 1868 tae James Duggan an Mary Kennedy in Milton (a suburb o Litchfield), Connecticut, the aicht o ten childer.[2][3] She wis taucht at the Milton schuil an went tae the New Britain Normal schuil in 1890.[4]

Amy marriet James Archer in 1897. A dochter, Mary J. Archer, wis born in December 1897.[3] The Archers got thair first job as caretakers in 1901. Thay wur hired tae tak care o John Seymour, an elderly widower, an settled in his hame at Newington, Connecticut. Seymour dee'd in 1904. His heirs turned the residence intae a buirdin hoose for the elderly. The Archers wur alloued tae stay. Thay providit care for the elderly for a fee an in turn peyed rent tae Seymour's faimily.[5] Thay ran the hoose unner the name o "Sister Amy's Nursing Home for the Elderly".

In 1907, Seymour's heirs decidit tae sell the hoose. The Archers muivit tae Windsor, Connecticut an uised thair savins tae purchase a residence o thair awn. Thay suin convertit it intae thair awn business, the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm. James Archer dee'd in 1910 o apparently naitural causes. The offeecial cause o daith wis Bright's disease, a generic term for neer diseases.[5] Amy haed taken oot an insurance policy on him a few weeks afore his daith, sae she wis able tae continue runnin the Archer Home.

In 1913, Amy marriet her seicont husband, Michael W. Gilligan, a widower wi 4 adult sons.[6] He wis reportedly walthy an interestit in baith Amy an in investin in the Archer Home. Michael dee'd on 20 Februar 1914.[7] The offeecial cause o daith wis "acute bilious attack", in ither wirds "severe indigestion".[5] Archer-Gilligan wis ance again financially secure: In thair short marriage her new husband haed drawn up a will, leavin her aw his estate.

Killins an captur

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Atween 1907 an 1917, thare wur 60 daiths in the Archer Home. Relatives o her clients haed grown suspicious as thay talliet the lairge nummers o its residents dyin. Anerlie 12 haed dee'd atween 1907 an 1910. 48 haed dee'd atween 1911 an 1916. Amang them wis Franklin R. Andrews, an apparently healthy man. On the forenuin o 29 Mey 1914, Andrews wis doin some gardening in the Archer hoose. His heal suddent collapsed athin a day. He wis deid bi the fore-nicht. The offeecial cause o daith wis gastric ulcer. His sister Nellie Pierce inheritit his personal papers. She suin notit occasions whare Archer-Gilligan wis pressin Andrews for money.[5] Archer-Gilligan's clients showed a pattern o dyin no lang efter givin thair caretaker lairge sums o money.

As the daiths continued, Pierce reportit her suspicions tae the local destrict attorney. He maistly ignored her. Pierce then teuk her story tae The Hartford Courant, a newspaper. On 9 Mey 1916, the first o several airticles on the "Murder Factory" wis published. A few months later, the polis stairtit seriously investigatin the case. The investigation teuk amaist a year tae complete, but the results wur interestin. The bodies o Gilligan, Andrews, an three ither buirders wur exhumed. Aw five haed dee'd o pushionin, aither bi arsenic or strychnine. Local merchants wur able tae testifee that Archer-Gilligan haed been purchasin lairge quantities o arsenic, supposedly tae "kill rats". A leuk intae Gilligan's will helped establish it wis actually a forgery, written in Amy's haundwritin.[5]

Archer-Gilligan wis arrestit an tree'd for murther, oreeginally on five coonts; ultimately, her lawyer managit tae get the chairges reducit tae a single count (Franklin R. Andrews). On 18 Juin 1917, a jury foond her guilty, an she wis sentencit tae daith. Archer-Gilligan appealed an wis grantit a new trial in 1919. She pleadit insanity, while Mary Archer testifee'd that her mither wis addictit tae morphine. Archer-Gilligan wis nanetheless foond guilty o seicont degree murther an wis sentencit tae life impreesonment.[5]

In 1924, Archer-Gilligan wis declared temporarily insane an wis transferred tae Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, whare she remained till her daith on 23 Aprile 1962.[1][5]


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The case attractit wide publicity at the time, an haes been citit as an inspiration for the play and later film, Arsenic and Old Lace.


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  1. a b The Hartford Courant Newspaper; leets her date an place o daith as 23 Apr 1962 at the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, Connecticut
  2. Connecticut Death Records Mary Kennedy Duggan, 1838-1915
  3. a b 1870 US Census of Litchfield, Connecticut, page 73; 1880 US Census of Litchfield, Connecticut; 1900 US Census of Litchfield, Connecticut, Sheet 18B; 1900 US Census of Litchfield, Connecticut, Sheet 24A; 1910 US Census of Windsor, Connecticut, Page 18
  4. Chronicles of Milton: Village Left Behind by Time by the Milton Women's Club
  5. a b c d e f g Bovsun, Mara (17 Januar 2010). "True crime story behind classic comedy, 'Arsenic & Old Lace'". Daily News. NYDailyNews.com. Archived frae the original on 4 Apryle 2012. Retrieved 3 Apryle 2012. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help) Mara Bovsun,
  6. 1900 US Census of Windsor, Connecticut, Sheet 8A; 1910 US Census of Windsor, Connecticut, Page 12
  7. "Connecticut Deaths and Burials record at familysearch.org". Archived frae the original on 15 Apryle 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012.

Freemit airtin

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