10 Year-Old Slave Girl Goes on a Murdering Spree

Unprotected Spring

Unprotected Spring



Otho Shipley, of Baltimore county, 23 miles from the city of Baltimore, on going to the spring about 5 weeks since, found one of his children, three years old, dead in the spring, the water in which, was not more than three or four inches deep; suspicions resting upon no particular person, it was supposed to have been an accident. The spring was afterwards covered with boards, sufficient room only being left to dip out the water. About two weeks afterwards, another child named Jemima, about six years old, was found dead in the spring; from which the boards had been removed, the face of the child was in the water, and had upon it marks of violence. Suspicion then attached to a black girl, who had nursed the children, but not sufficient to enable them to extort a confession from the negro, in consequence of her age, which was only ten years. Mr. Shipley, however determined upon sending the black girl, to his father’s from whence he had got her, and mentioned the circumstances. The negro girl had not been at her master’s more than two weeks, before a black child was found dead, having been suffocated; she afterwards requested another negro child to lay her head upon a block, and taking an axe, said she would show her how they killed chickens; the child became alarmed,  and ran from her. At night she was discovered in a room in which some of the ladies of the house usually slept, and was turned out; in about an hour afterwards, she was discovered, getting in at the window, and being asked what she wanted, she said, that she came to tell them, that it was she who had killed Jemima, (the child of Mr. Shipley, mentioned above) and on being questioned, acknowledged that she had also killed the negro girl, and related the particulars of the murder of Jemima, as follows” —

She was with the child in the garden, and struck her — the child returned the blow, she (the negro) then took a handful of sand, and stuffed it into her mouth and took her to the spring, where she immersed her face in the water, until she supposed she was dead; she then left her, and went towards the house; but, hearing the child cry, to make use of her own words, “she went back and finished it.”

The above narration we have had from a source that entitles it to full credit, and we do not remember ever to have heard of a transaction in which at so early an age, such shocking depravity has been displayed.
Baltimore Chronicle.


We understand that the Girl, of whose depravity so shocking a detail was given in our paper of yesterday, has been examined by the proper authority and has substantiated by her confession every part of it, with the exception of getting in at the window, her hands having only extended up toward it.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) May 30, 1827

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