Saturday, May 7, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 7

May 7, 1881 - Mary C. Weishar, who was incarcerated in the State penitentiary at Stillwater on a life sentence for murdering her husband on April 11, 1880, in Le Sueur County, prematurely gave birth to a still-born child this evening.1, 5

In the 1880 Federal Census, dated June 18, 1880, Mary is listed as a prisoner in the Mankato Jail, in Blue Earth County, Minn. She is one of two women prisoners in the jail; the other woman is listed as a prostitute, Mary is listed as housekeeper. There are also four men in the jail: a 35-year-old professional thief, a 60-year-old harness maker, a 43-year-old farmer and a 36-year-old carpenter. The jailer, his wife and children along with a 30-year-old deputy jailer and two female servants also lived in or near the jail building.

After her conviction on Nov. 26, 1880, Mary was taken to Stillwater State Prison by train on Dec. 3. “Until the establishment of the Shakopee State Reformatory for Women (1920) the Stillwater prison received female as well as male convicts.”2 Stillwater did have a woman matron at the time of Mary’s incarceration.3

Mary was described by the St. Paul Daily Globe as “below medium height, rather petite, with a good figure, has a soft black eye, fringed with long, handsome lashes, wears her luxurious jet-black hair in a coil, and has a pleasing complexion, as dark as a gypsey’s.”4

She appears to have been an attractive woman. So who was the father of her child? Was it a consensual relationship? According to The New Ulm Weekly Review, someone connected with the Mankato jail is said to be the child’s father.  
1Warren Sheaf; Warren, Marshall County, Minn.; May 11, 1881, p. 2.



4Daily Globe; “Two Lifers. A Man and Woman Each Convicted of Murder in the First Degree—They Pass Through St. Paul En Route to Stillwater—A Call Upon Them at the Depot.”; St. Paul, Minn.; December 04, 1880; p. 4.

5Stillwater Messenger; May 7, 1881; p. 4.

The New Ulm Weekly Review; March 2, 1881; p. 2.

Blue Earth County Jail in Mankato, Minn.

Murder of Mary Weishar’s husband; see April 11, 2015 blog

Mary Weishar convicted of first degree murder; see Nov. 26, 2015 blog


If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: ®  click on Family History

Contact me at: 

No comments:

Post a Comment