THE LIFE AND CONFESSION OF WILLIAM WEAVER
HOME | BACK
Articles Pertaining to the Trial
Convicted April 5th 1861, for the Murder of his
Wife, by Strychnine, in Bloomfield, Perry Co., Pa., Dec. 24, 1860.
Executed on the 6th of September, 1861.
I was born in Doylestown, Bucks County, State
of Pennsylvania, October 4th, 1824. My father moved from Doylestown, when
I was about three years old, to Waterloo, Lancaster County. About a month
or two after my father went back to Doylestown, in order to settle up his
business; and while there was taken sick and died, leaving my mother with eight
small children to maintain.
I lived with my mother about a year after my father's death when I went to Mr.
David Windell's in Chester county, to work for my board and clothes until I was
sixteen years old. From Mr. Windell's I went to Mr. McClenan's in
Parksburg, Chester county, where I staid about six months driving team.
From there I went to David Horn's in Unionville, Chester county, and worked six
months' in a blacksmith shop. I then went to Mr. N. Pettit's in Parksburg,
and remained there one year, working at my trade and farming.
While living at Mr. Pettit's, I was paying my attentions to a Miss Hannah Gross,
and was engaged to be married to her, but her uncle remonstrated so much against
it, that we agreed to postpone it until another time. She was at this time
with child to me. I then went to Manayunk to attend to a milk Dairy, and
promised Miss Gross to return at a certain time to be married, but at the time
appointed, I was unable to meet my engagement. In the meantime, Miss Gross
gave birth to a child and I presume from her disappointment, she committed
suicide, and also infanticide.
This awful affair would not have occurred, had her uncle consented to the
marriage. This affair has always preyed upon my mind, and forget it, I
cannot-- it is always fresh in my memory. On hearing of the death of Miss
Gross, I left Manayunk, and went home to my mother; so deeply was I affected
that I could not follow any business for one month. I then went to Mr. Wm.
Guthrie, Chester county, to work on a farm. I worked there six
months. My wife, Mary, was living there at the same time. About two
weeks after i was there, she came into my bed-room, and from that out, we became
very familiar; and one moth before I left Mr. Guthrie's, she had me arrested for
fornication and bastardy. I then married her, and seven months from the
time I first saw her, she gave birth to a child.
I went from there to Cloud Smith's, at Doe Run, and went to keeping house.
I worked for Mr. Smith six months. While there I lost all confidence in my
wife, and supposed that she was not true to her marriage vows, of which I had
sufficient reason to believe. My mother advised me to take her home to her
father, which I did; her father said he would make her behave herself if I would
live with her. I stayed with her from April until in the Fall, during that
time she appeared to be no better than she was before I had taken her
home. The manner in which she conducted herself I could not endure, so I
concluded to again leave her. I left her and went to Harrisburg to live
with my uncle George Walton during that Winter.
The next Spring, my uncle, Jas. Wolf, and myself bought a Canal boat in
co-partnership. We boated until September, when I received a very
distressing letter from my sister. I then gave my share in the boat to my
uncle, and went home to my sister. While at my sister's my wife came to
see me, and made a great many promises "that she would do better" if I
would live with her again, and go to housekeeipng with her. By the many
solicitations of my sister, I was persuaded to live with her again. As her
mother had died during my absence, I went into her father's house. While
there, I worked one year at my trade (blacksmithing) at one dollar per
day. I found I was unable to support my family on account of my wife's
relatives living off of my income. I concluded to go to Hibernia, and hire
with Mr. Brooks, to drive wagon, at twenty dollars per month. During that
time I was not at home, but sent my wife money every month. From there, I
went to Cecil county, Md., taking my wife and two children with me. I
rented a house there, and worked on board of a schooner for three years.
During the first year we lived undisturbed, but the last two years I shall ever
remember. I supposed that when I left the neighborhood, that I would be
free from all of my wife's relatives, but alas! my wife's sister, the second
year I was in Cecil county, paid me a visit, and from that time during the two
years I had no peace.
My landlord told me that my wife and her sister were acting very imprudently,
and told me that it must be stopped, or I would be obliged to leave the
house. This created a suspicion in me, and I concluded to find, if
possible, the facts of the case. One night, returning unexpectedly from
Baltimore, we anchored the Schooner outside of the shore. I got into a
small boat and pushed ashore and went up to my house. I there found two
men, one with my wife and one with my wife's sister. This was too much for
me to bear, and the next morning I bundled my clothes up and left her, and went
home to my mother's.
I harvested during that Summer for Mr. Hughs in Chester Co. During that
time I heard nothing of my wife or her sister. After harvest, my mother
persuaded me to go and get the children and bring them home. I went down
and got my children, and brought them to my mother's. This was in
August. They were at my mother's until the next April. During this
time, my wife made me another promise to do better, which I accepted, and rented
a house at the Compass in Lancaster Co., and again lived with her. I lived
there two years, driving team, an was away from home every other night.
The first year I lived there, I lived very agreeably. The second year my
wife's sister again visited me an then commenced a repetition of their previous
conduct, as heretofore stated. My landlord, Mr. Baldwin, obliged me to
move off his place on account of my wife's bad conduct. During my absence,
while living in Mr. Baldwin's house, I joined the Baptist Church; but on account
of my wife's conduct, it led me back to where I had been, creating a coolness in
regard to religious matters. However, I had a christian friend, Jesse
Conley, who enlivened me up in religion. Him, I will never forget.
From Mr. Baldwin's, I went to Daniel Ramsey' in Chester co., to farm his
place. I worked his place two years, and worked one year while there at
Parksburg, at Boiler making; from there I moved to Henry Bear's, at
Sadsberryville, and worked at my trade. My wife's conduct being tat this
time of a very disreputable character, I moved to Scrogy, in Chester Co.,
working at my trade. I was also obliged to move from there on account of
my wife's conduct.
I then went to Bloomfield, Perry Co., and rented a house in April, 1859, of Mr.
Geo. Hoffman, whom I worked for during harvest. I then worked for W.
Smeigh, quarrying lime-stone until August, 1860, when Mr. Speakman, of the Perry
House, requested me to assist him during Court week. Mr. Speakman then
requested me to stay with him. I rented a House in the lower part of the
town, and moved my family into it, and supported them as well as I possibly
could. I stayed at Mr. Speakman's and only went home for my clothes.
My wife and I had some words in regard to different men coming about the house
in my absence. I was sitting in the evening in the room, nursing the child
at the time when she commenced scolding me, because I would not get her what she
wanted; she wanted me to get her some quinine and some strichnine.
I asked Mary what she wanted with this strichnine; she said if she had it, she
would exterminate her existence. I supposed, from what I had previously
learned through my wife, that her sister had frequently used it to prevent
conception and supposed she intended it for the same purpose. I left he
house and went to Mr. Speakman's shed, meditating over past events. Miss
Elizabeth Gusler who is my present wife said "Bill, what are you studying
about." I remarked that my wife and myself had a fight, and my wife
said if she had poison, she would poison herself, and put an end to
herself. Miss Gusler remarked to me, "Damn her, get her a dose and
give it to her." I studied a little while, and then went and got
three or four drinks of liquor, the stimulating effects of which probably
tempted me to do what I did; and for sometime previous to this, having had
improper intercourse with Miss Gusler, and she becoming advanced in pregnancy to
me, it had a tendency to prompt me to do the deed for which I am about to
suffer. After taking the above drinks, I went to Newport, and bought
strychnine and quinine, and on the way coming home, I changed the labels, the
papers the medicine was put up in being a fac-simile to one another, I changed
the quinine label to that of the strychnine. I carried them in my pocket
three or four days previous, to giving them to her. I then went down to my
house and told her, here was the medicine she wanted. I suppose from the
labels being changed, she had taken the strychnine instead of the quinine, as
she appeared to want the quinine more particularly.
I bought it for the purpose of producing the effect it did, and for which I am
about to suffer on the gallows. I had thought three years ago I would give
it to her, as she had frequently requested me to obtain poison to exterminate
After the death of my wife I concluded to marry, in order to have some one to
take charge of my children , as my sister was unable to do so. I therefore
married Miss Elizabeth Gusler in Harrisburg, and went from there to Chester
county, where I was arrested on a charge of poisoning my wife, and have been
incarcerated in prison ever since, and I am now awaiting to meet my everlasting
Readers! this is a true history of my life since I can remember.
Troubled as I was, which can be seen by my narrative, I bore up with courage,
until the sentence of the law was passed upon me.
It is now but a short time until I will be launched into eternity! My doom
is sealed, and I am prepared to meet it. I do no dread to die; it is not
the pangs of death I fear; but leaving my family in this wicked world (with no
protector but Him who reigns on high) is more distressing to me than can be
imagined by no one but the one that experiences the feelings wrought upon the
mind, by being torn away in the prime of life, from those I dearly love; but may
God, in His infinite wisdom, protect them from all vice and harm, and impart to
them the knowledge of this Holy word, so that when he sees fit to remove them
from this world, they may be fitted for the one to come.
Reader! I bid you adieu! and my God have mercy upon my soul!
WILLIAM H. WEAVER.
Sept. 4, 1861
The above was written by Mr. ALEXANDER D. WILSON, by my request-- I having
dictated it; and I do hereby authorize its publication, as my last
Confession. No other confession will be made by me.
WILLIAM H. WEAVER.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES PERTAINING TO WILLIAM WEAVER'S TRIAL.
[The following newspaper
article(s) were found at the Perry Historians Library; some of these contains
dates, some don't and unless stated, the 'name' of the Newspaper publishing the
article(s) was not written on the copy]
THE WEAVER MURDER TRIAL.
ACTION FOR A NEW TRIAL OVERRULED.
SENTENCE OF THE PRISONER.
At the adjourned Court which commenced its session on the 14th inst., the
argument of counsel, for an against a new trial, was heard in the case of
William Weaver found guilty at the April term of the murder of this wife last
December. A new trail was not granted, and on Wednesday, the 15th inst.,
the Court passed the sentence of death on the prisoner.
Below we give the charge and sentence.
Commonwealth vs. William Weaver.
Defendant's counsel ask for a new trial on the ground of error in the court, in
admitting the declarations of deceased a few hours before her death as proved by
her daughter Martha--that "she wished she had not taken that powder that
Dr. Burkley gave her, that she believed it was going to kill her."
The offer was objected to by Defendant's counsel, that it did not appear the
declaration was made under a sense or apprehension of immediate dissolution and
that the declarations of a wife were not evidence against her husband.
This was the only objection made and discussed by counsel. And the court
admitted the offer, believing that the objection made was not tenable, and that
the declaration was evidence to show that deceased had taken a powder, which she
believed was prescribed by Dr. Burkley. If it was evidence for this
purpose, it would have been error to have rejected the offer. The
defendants' counsel now contend that the offer was not evidence that the powder
was the cause of her death. But no objection was made on this
ground. The objection was general that the declaration was not made in
prospect of death. Had we been requested, we would have limited the
evidence to that for which it was admitted, to wit: to prove that decedent
had taken a powder, we considered that it was offered for that purpose alone,
and for that we considered it admissable, and the declaration that she believed
it would kill her, was not evidence that it did kill her; but to show that what
she said about taking the powder was in immediate prospect of death, and
therefore competent evidence.
To show that death was caused by poison, the evidence of the druggist from whom
the strychnia was purchased by the defendant, the evidence of the physicians
describing its effect and symptoms, the mode and manner in which death occurred,
the fact that she had taken a powder, and the appearance of the body before and
after death, were relied on, and not the declaration of deceased that she
believed the powder would kill her. We have no recollection that this
declaration was used as evidence that the powder caused death; but it was, in
connection with other evidence, relied upon to show that deceased had taken a
powder shortly before her death.
The question then recurs, under the exception, "were the declarations in
evidence made under a sense of approaching dissolution? The fact that
decedent had taken a powder the day of her death, is proved by other witnesses,
independent of the declarations of decedent; as proved by Martha Weaver.
This was offered to show that the deceased had taken a powder. It
is proved by defendant's counsel on the cross examination of Dr. Baily and of
Emma Weaver. Dr. Baily on his cross-examination, says that he asked Mrs.
Weaver when called in to see her, what medicine she had been taking, and she
stated "some medicine that he got of Dr. Barkley." that just at
that time Weaver came into the room, and he asked him if he had been giving her
medicine from Dr. Barkley. Weaver said no. He then asked him where
he got the medicine and Weaver replied "we brought it up with us from
below." And Emma Weaver, on her cross-examination by
defendant's counsel, says that about 3 o'clock of the day her mother died, when
her father came back from Speakman's her mother asked him how much of that
powder she ought to have taken. He said he did not know, but a little
better than half of it, and her mother replied that was about what she did
take. The fact that Mrs. Weaver did take a powder is thus already proved
by two witnesses' who testify to conversations between defendant and his wife,
or her declarations in his presence, independent of the declarations to Martha
Weaver, so that her testimony is not material and of little importance on this
point of the case. But if we believed this part of her evidence was
improperly admitted, we would grant a new trial; for in cases of such vast
moment, involving the life of a human being, evidence ought not to be admitted,
if its legality was even doubtful.
The evidence shows that the declarations made by deceased to her daughter
Martha, tha she believed the powder she had taken was going to kill her, was
within four hours of her death. The witness does not fix the time, but
says that she took her mother up stairs, did not stay with her, but came down
and did not go up again till after Mrs. Belford went away.-- Mrs. Belford
says she went home about 3 o'clock and Mrs. Weaver died about 7 o'clock the same
evening. Mr. Belford and a number of witnesses prove that during all the
afternoon and up to the time of her death, the deceased was suffering with the
most intense and agonizing pains, violent spams or convulsions of short
intervals, her system perfectly rigid, and her jaws so stiff that water could
only be given to her with a spoon. In this state of excruciating pain,
less than four hours before her death, she declared to her daughter she believed
the powder she had take n was going to kill her. Is this declaration made
under such circumstances, evidence? If it is not it would be difficult to
conceive a case that would come within the rule. Deceased not only
expressed her belief of her approaching dissolution, but her situation and the
surrounding circumstances were such as to produce and confirm the conviction of
her ________ death. __ is certainly essential to the admissability of such
declarations and is a preliminary fact, to be proved by the party offering them
in evidence, that they were made under a sense of impending death; but it is not
necessary that they should be stated, at the time, to be so made. It is
enough if it satisfactorily appears in any mode that they were made under
that sanction, whether it be directly proved by the express language of the
declarant, or be inferred from his evident danger, or from his conduct or other
circumstances of the case, all of which are resorted to in order to ascertain
the state of declarant's mind. The length of time which elasped between
the declaration and the death of declarant, furnishes no rule for the admission
or rejection of the evidence; though in the absence of better testimony, it may
serve as one of the exponenta of the deceased's belief, that his dissolution was
or was not impending. .....
Upon the authorities cited, we have no doubt that the declarations of Mrs.
Weaver but a few hours before her death, when her agony and suffering as
described by the witness must have banished all hope of recovery, would be
evidence without any expression by her of the final result of her sufferings,
but when her declaration is that she believed the powder was going to kill her,
it removes all doubt about the admissibility of her declarations to her
For the reasons stated we are constrained by an imperative sense of duty
enjoined by the ______ of the law, to overrule the motion for a new trial.
But should we be in error, that error cannot prejudice the defendant. At
the instance of his counsel as exception was ruled to the admission of the
evidence upon the trial and he can have our judgment reviewed by the Judges of
the Supreme Court. In their united ability and learning he is secured and
will be protected from any error, in our judgment, if any error has been
The motion for a new is overruled.
By the Court.
SENTENCE OF THE COURT.
WILLIAM WEAVER: After a patient and protracted trial by a jury of the
county, of your own selection, defended by able and experienced counsel, whose
energy and zeal were exerted in your behalf with praise worthy commendation, you
have been found guilty of the highest crime known to the laws of civilized
nations.-- the crime of murder in the first degree. With cool deliberation
and fixed purpose, you formed your plan for the destruction of the wife of your
bosom, whom you had vowed before God and man to love and cherish, the mother of
your children an who had ever been a kind, affectionate and devoted
companion. And the purpose, thus deliberately formed, you executed with a
calm and fiendish cruelty seldom equalled in the history of crime.
You purchased the fatal poison about twenty days before it was administered, but
the delay was not because of any hesitancy or compunctions of convenience at the
enormity of the crime you intended to perpetrate, but for a very different
purpose. The public mind was first to be prepared for a sudden and unusual
death to prevent suspicion or danger of detection; and you lost not time in
attempting to prepare the minds of your neighbors for the tragedy which was to
On the same day you purchased the strychnia in Newport, you told an
acquaintance from Bloomfield, whom you met in Newport, that your wife was
unwell, that you did not expect her to live long, and you did not expect to
remain in the county. To another witness you said on the 15th Dec., but 14
days before her death, that your wife had spasms the night before and you did
not think she would live till morning, and to other witnesses you said she was
subject to heart disease, that she way very poorly, and you did not think she
would put over a week. And this continued until a few days before you gave
her the fatal drug. While the testimony of your family physician and your
neighbors disprove the truth of all these statements, and all who knew her
concur in their testimony that she was a healthy, muscular woman, never known to
have spasms, or any indications of heart disease or impaired health.
Your horrid purpose of murder you ___ persisted in to the last agonies of
life were ended without an indication of penitence or remorse. You stood
by the death bed with callous indifference and when asked by your dying wife and
little daughters to go for the doctor you replied, she would get better, and
although this occurred about 12 o'clock, you did not call on Dr. Baily, who
lived in the same town, until about three hours afterwards. And again the
same evening when your wife was suffering the excruciating agony of a most
violent death, writhing in convulsions and her whole system rigid as a marble
statue, you met Dr. Baily on the street on his way to your house, and prevented
him from going by saying she was better. Such heartless and unrelenting
cruelty, and worse than brutal perseverance in the work of death, more nearly
resembles the tales of a demonical imagination, than the reality of truth.
Your intention to murder your wife, thus deliberately planned and
persistently followed up till your object was affected, can only be accounted by
your infidelity to your marriage vow; where you had the shameless boldless to
boast of immediately before and after the death of your wife; that you had
criminal intercourse with Elizabeth Gusler, and declared but a few days before
your wifes death, that if she was dead, you could marry Elizabeth Gusler, the
next day. Again, on the evening of the funeral, without attempting to
assume even the appearance of sorrow or respect for your wife, you asked your
daughters, fifteen and seventeen years of age, at the supper-table, how they
would like to have Liz Gusler for a step-mother. And with remorseless
conscience and brazen faced indecency, you married the Delilah of your iniquity,
four weeks after the funeral of your murdered wife.
We do not refer to these sickening details of depravity and crime to
lacerate your conscience or increase the anguish of remorse; but to arouse you
from the stoical and callous indifference you have hitherto exhibited--to awaken
your conscience to a sense of guilt and your perilous situation, to impress you
with injustice and certainty of the punishment ___ awaits you, and admonish you
not ____________ the _______ hope of _________.
By the laws of God and man _________ of your crime demands the ____________
life. The laws of all civilized ___________ wilful and deliberate murder
with death ____ the Great lawgiver of the universe __________ to us the
solemn mandate that "whosoever sheddeth mans' blood, by man shall his blood
Your days on earth will ____ be numbered, and in the language of solemn
________, we say to you-- "prepare to meet thy God." With the
attribute of inflexible justice, in Him is blended that of infinate mercy and
compassion. "He pardons like a God." And he hath provided
a way in which justice may be satisfied and the sinner pardoned. The blood
of Christ _______ cleanse and purify the guilty soul from this pollution and
defilement of sin and through the atoning blood on a compassionate Redeemer you
can only obtain pardon and acceptance with a justly offended God. You will
soon appear before the august tribunal of the Great Judge of all the earth; and
may God by his grace, enable you to seek and obtain His pardon, and meet a
reconciled God and Father, through the atoning death of a once crucified but now
It but remains that we now perform the painfully solemn duty imposed upon us, to
pronounce the sentence of the law, which is----
That you, WILLIAM WEAVER, be taken by the Sheriff of Perry county to the jail of
said county from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution,
within the walls, or yard of the jail of said county of Perry and that you be
there hanged by the neck until you be dead, and may God have mercy on your soul.
May 16, 1861
The adjourned Court met on Tuesday. After the argument list had been
disposed of, the notice for a new trial in the matter of Wm. Weaver, convicted
of murder in the first degree at the April Term, was heard. The Court
reserved its decision until Wednesday morning, when the application was
refused-- the Court delivering an elaborate opinion, critically reviewing all
the testimony in the case bearing on the points on which the application for a
new trail was based. The prisoner was in Court, said the District Attorney
asking that the sentence of the law be pronounced, Judge Graham proceeded to
discharge the solemn duty adjoined upon him. In the most eloquent and
affecting terms he referred to the enormity of the crime, and in the most
impressive manner conjured the prisoner to look to the Source of all Power and
Goodness and Mercy for aid and comfort in his present perilous position.
The question was asked the prisoner by the Court whether he had anything to say
why the judgment of the law should not be pronounced against him. He stood
silent and motionless. The dread sentence was then pronounced, in
substance as follows: That you, William Weaver, be taken hence by the
Sheriff to the place whence you came, and there or within the walls of the
jail-yard, be hanged by the neck until you are dead, and may God have mercy on
your soul. The prisoner displayed the most astonishing stoicism ever
witnessed by those present. Standing erect, his lips compressed and his
eyes on the Judge, he remained throughout the whole terrible scene unmoved,
except now and then a slight nervous movement of the chin and head. It
appeared to us that every one present was more affected than the criminal.
If we can obtain a copy of the Judge's opinion, his exhortation to the prisoner
and the sentence, we will publish them next week. The Governor of the
Commonwealth appoints the day for the execution.
May 30, 1861
THE WEAVER MURDER CASE.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM H. WEAVER.
Bloomfield, May the 1?th, 1861
Confession made by WILLIAM H. WEAVER to the death of his wife, between him and
his God the truth; and after this I am willing to leave this world and go home
to Jesus, there to rest. I have no desire to live in this sinful
world--there is nothing but sin. And here I will tell you the death of my
wife. Little did I think that ever anything of this--or but what she told
me the truth about it.. But when I went to Newport, at her request, and bought
the quinine and strychnine, I did not think but what she wanted it for what she
told me what she wanted with it. But after I had brought them home, and
given them to her, and told her which was which, she said that the first time
that I said anything about **** ******** she would be d-----d that she would
take that herself. I then asked her to let me see them, to see if they
were marked; she would not let me have them. I tried to find them after
she put them away, but I could not find them. She put them in a cup--it
was about ten o'clock at night--at that time among some medicine what her sister
had got from Doctor *******, and the two girls were with her, and the two girls
told me about it, and I asked them what kind of medicine it was; and they said
it was a box of pills and white powders, and ******* laughed when He gave it to
her. And she fetched it home; and when I took my children down to my
sister, the girls showed it to my sister, and she scolded them about it.
And if she had taken the strychnine she must have taken it for spite--or taken
it in a mistake, and thought it was the medicine that her sister had got from
*******, (if she had taken the strychnine)--because I scolded her about
********--for spite. God only knows for I don't. I hope that God may
forgive me for buying it for her at her request. But if she had taken it,
she must have taken it all; for she said that she had taken all of the
powder. If she had taken the strychnine, she must have taken it in a
mistake, or on the account of **** ********, which she said she would; and when
I found out that she would, I said nothing more to her about him. I had
thought I would let her be on till the children got a little bigger; then I
would put them out and leave her--and she knew it.-- This is the truth
between me and my God which is in heaven above. I don't know whether she
had taken it or not. I had not thought about it when I bought it. I
can say with a clear conscience that nothing of that kind crossed my mind.
Now I will tell about Elizabeth C. Weaver, as it is now; and about what
was sworn on us, was not true quite. I had not any criminal intercourse
with her before my wife was dead, ******* and no body can say that I had, if
they tell the truth. ***** I think that some thought so, but I had
not. God knows. And I would not tell what is not true now; for I
hope to go to rest. I don't wish to live in this sinful world no
longer. And the Monday my wife died, I was in the wood house when Emma
came for me. And I went down home and saw her an came up and got some
brandy, and went down home and gave her some. Then I came up for ***** and
went with him down. Then I came up and got some sugar for the baby and
went down home and staid till night; and then went up to feed the horses.
When I met ***** at the shed-doors, he asked me how she was. I told him
she seems better she is ____ what she was. Then he said she would be well
again morning. When I went on the porch, when Liz asked me how my wife was
I told her that she was better but I was afraid she would die yet. I went
on and done my work and then I went down and staid by her till she died.
This is the truth as near as I know, between my and my God.
As for marrying Liz, I was persuaded into it. I did not want to
marry her but I did it for the sake of my three little children to have a
home. Oh! may they have a home in heaven with me. Oh! may God be a
Father to them, while they are on this earth. I shall bid them good-by
forever in this world of sin and sorrow. I bid my dear father and mother
good-by forever in this world. For I hope that I may meet them in heaven,
where parting will be no more for evermore. And I bid my dear wife good-by
forever in this world below. I am going to heaven above, where I will be
at rest, and make heaven my home forever, there to reign with Him. Lord
have mercy on me, for little did I think of this when I bought the strychnine at
her request. I did not think she would lie about it when she told me that
she wanted it for killing rats or mice, which she had told me.
There's nothing rich but heaven;
A Stranger lonely here I roam,
From place to place I'm drive;
My friends are gone and I'm in gloom,
This earth is lonely as a tomb;
I have no home but heaven,
I'm on the wing for heaven.
My father and mother knew all about it-- that
she had said that she would take her own life; and so did mother and by brother
Uriah and his wife. I kept this to myself, for fear I would get into
trouble about it. But as it is, I am willing to die. If it will do
you any good--I can say I am innocent of it. Though the strychnine was in
the house. God knows I would not be guilty of that. Now I have told
the truth about it before my Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Now my days are
short here on earth, but I soon shall reach the upper skies, where sorrow will
be no more for evermore. And I hope to meet you all there. I shall
intercede for you all and them that swore lies; I hope to meet you all there for
evermore. For this world is gloomy here below, but I have a home in
heaven. Oh! friends don't you want to go and make heaven your home.
I have no friends below, but I have in heaven. Oh! come Jesus Christ in
heaven! Lord God have mercy on me, and the people that are left
behind! For I will go to heaven. Oh! let me go. My Jesus
called me and I must go. Oh! how can you let Him go; for He is your friend
and my friend. Oh! come to Jesus and see how freely He will forgive
and take you to heaven above, and make it our home. I want to go home to
heaven; fro this is not my home. I have no home here, but I have a home in
heaven, there where my heart and possessions are, and that is my home in
heaven. I tell the truth, and nothing but the truth; and I feel as if
Jesus was my friend forever. This is what I have to say before my Lord and
Master, who shalt be my Father in heaven. This death is nothing; give me
Jesus, you may have all the world, give me Jesus.
WILLIAM H. WEAVER
I want as much time as I can now, for to prepare. I want this printed over
the whole world to let them see the truth, which they have done. It is
true , God knows it. I will spend the rest of my times in praying to my
God for myself and my three little children, that I leave behind to suffer in
this world for what I have not done.
May 30, 1861
STATEMENT OF WEAVER. We publish in another column a statement of William
Weaver, who was recently convicted in this county of poisoning his wife. A
few days ago he was insane or feigned to be; but is again rational and persists
in declaring his innocence. The warrant for his execution has not yet been
issued by the Governor.
June 20, 1861
TIME FIXED FOR THE EXECUTION OF WEAVER.-- The Governor has appointed the 6th of
September for the execution of Weaver, convicted at the April term of the murder
of his wife. He exhibited the same stoical indifference when the Sheriff
read the death-warrant to him as be manifested throughout his trial. He
has since, however, acknowledged that he purchased strychnine at the same time
he procured the quinine, and that he intended it for the purpose it had
effected. He further acknowledges that he took the outside wrapper off the
strychnia, which was labelled so as to deceive his wife and create the
impression on her mind that both papers contained quinine. He harbors the
idea that his offence is palliated by reason of the fact that he did not
administer the poison himself, but that his [copy of the article ends
May 12, 1975
(Staff Writer, Hal Kahn)
LOYSVILLE-- The jury didn't believe his story about the cyanide, so they hung
Local lore holds the populace, outraged at a man poisoning his wife for the sake
of another woman, wouldn't let Weaver be buried in the pauper's cemetery.
Instead they took him to a rise in the land, just outside of Loysville and
buried him there.
It is a well known site in western Perry County, some call it "Hangman's
Oak" but there was no hanging there. Weaver met his end in the yard
adjoining the Perry County Prison at New Bloomfield, hanging by the neck for 31
minutes until Dr. Isaac Lefever was ready to certify that "life was
extinct," according to court records.
Today, a withered tree marks the spot where Weaver is believed to lie, behind
the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Turner of RD, on land owned by William Clark,
postmaster here. ....