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Autograph Letter Describing the Trial of Dr. Coolidge.
1848. Unpublished Eyewitness Account of a Famous Maine Murder Trial [Coolidge, Dr. Valorus P.]. Brown, David. [Autograph Letter Describing the Trial of Dr. Coolidge]. Augusta, ME, March 18, 1848. Single leaf folded to form 10" x 8" quarto bifolium, written in ink, addressed, franked and postmarked on verso of fourth page, which has a wax seal. Fold lines, some toning along margins, otherwise fine. * Brown, of Gardner, Maine, wrote this letter to his brother, an attorney in Bangor. The letter, which fills three sides of the bifolium in a small hand, begins: "Passing through Augusta during the trial of Coolidge for the murder of Mathews I felt inclined to take a peep into the court house or rather Doct. Tappans meeting house where the trial is had and thinking I might notice some things there that will not be reported in the papers that would be interesting to you; will write you a few lines." The rest of the letter records his observations. Brown was aware that he was a witness to one of the most sensational trials of the day, which involved two leading citizens of Waterville, ME. Mathews, a wealthy cattle dealer, was poisoned with a shot of poison-laced brandy because he refused to loan Coolidge money. Though his motives seem unclear, it seems Coolidge planned to steal money and valuables from his corpse. When the body was found Coolidge was summoned by the coroner's jury to perform an autopsy on his own victim. After an inept series of attempts to hide his crime, Coolidge was convicted and sentenced to hang. He cheated the gallows, however, by committing suicide. The case is described in McDade, The Annals of Murder 211 and Howard, American State Trials 3:732-802.
      [Bookseller: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.]
Last Found On: 2016-03-02           Check availability:      Biblio    

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