Friday, January 4, 2013

Ocey Snead


Oceana Wardlaw Martin Snead (c. 1885 - November 29, 1909) aka Ocey Snead, was drugged and drowned in East Orange by her own family to collect $32,000 in insurance money and the case made headlines in the NYC area and across the country. The family lived about 5 blocks from Stockton School at 89 North 14th Street (the west side of 14th between Eaton Place and William Street) in October and November 1909. The neighborhood had just been developed with hundreds of houses that were less than ten years old; twenty years before, it had been low-lying farmland. The house is still there on 14th but the house number is different (appears to be 75 N. 14th now) and is part of the Bethlehem Community Church. 


A comprehensive account of the case is on the New Jersey History's Mysteries website here. The Wikipedia article about the case is here
A detailed genealogy of the family is at the Findagrave entry for Virginia Oceana Wardlaw



Below: The "Sisters in Black" (sisters Virginia Oceana Wardlaw, Mary Wardlaw Snead, and Caroline B Wardlaw Martin) as young girls in the 1860 census with their parents and brothers:




 Following are some of the many New York Times articles written about the case:






Below: The Wardlaw sisters with parents and brothers in the 1870 census












































Below: From The Pittsburgh Press, May 10, 1910
(the group of drawings and photos at the beginning of this post is also from this Pittsburgh Press article)


More NY Times articles:

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