Deadly Pickles


A most melancholy circumstance occurred in New York a day or two since. On the last day of December, a member of the family of Eber Wheaton, Esq. placed some mango pickles in a yellow earthen jar, which was glazed on the inside with a preparation of lead; the acid of the vinegar acted on the lead in the glazing, dissolved some of it, and thus produced a powerful poison, (acetate of lead, commonly called sugar of lead,) which was dissolved in the vinegar.

Nearly all the family of Mr. W. partook of the pickles, and especially his eldest daughter, (nineteen years of age,) a niece of his, and his three youngest children. On the 9th January, his youngest child, (a daughter,) was attacked with inflamation of the bowels, and died on the 14th in great agony, but without any one suspecting the cause of her death.

During this interval of five days, his next eldest child, (a boy, seven years of age,) was attacked with similar symptoms, as was also the next eldest daughter; the boy, after suffering dreadfully, died five days after he was first attacked, but the daughter is still living. The direful effects of the deleterious substance of which they had partaken, did not stop here; for on the night that the youngest child died, the eldest daughter was also attacked, together with a young lady, her cousin.

Still the cause of the sickness was not suspected. On the 19th, Judge Wheaton himself ate some of the pickles, and on the following day was attacked the same as the rest of his family had been.

On the 21st, the physician who attended them, stated as his belief that they must have been poisoned by metallic salts; the pickles were tested, and the result confirmed his suspicions. The proper remedies were then resorted to, and the remaining sufferers are now, we are happy to say, considered convalescent.

The Peoples Press (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 6, 1835

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