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Cecil, Miss Susie 1885-1908


Posted By: Doris Hoffman, Volunteer (email)
Date: 8/4/2010 at 20:10:07

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
July 24, 1908


Died July 16, 1908, Miss Susie Cecil.
Miss Cecil was an only daughter.
She lived with her widowed mother
and brother at the home of F. Briggs,
Mrs. Cecil keeping house for
Briggs for the past year. Miss Susie's
death was a great shock to her near
friends as she died very suddenly. She
leaves beside her mother, two brothers.
One brother could not get here to
see his sister. The funeral was held at
the Briggs home and the remains laid
to rest in the Adaville cemetery. The
mother and brothers have the
sympathy of the community.

Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
Tuesday, July 28, 1908
Le Mars, Iowa


The Sudden Death of Miss Susan Cecil
at Millnerville Has Caused Comment
in that, Neighborhood and Circumstances
will be Thoroughly Investigated.

Coroner John Beely was called to
Sioux township on Sunday by the
authorities there to make investiga-
tions regarding the death of Miss
Susie Cecil, who died suddenly on
July 16th last. A brief announcement
of her death was made in a recent
issue of the Sentinel, the particulars
being furnished by a correspondent.
The cause of death was not stated and
the certificate of death is in possession
of an undertaker at Jefferson, S. D.,
who conducted the funeral. Some of
the residents of Sioux township are
of the opinion that her death may
have been suicidal, caused by mental
trouble due to neighborhood gossip
and her relatives and friends are anxious
to have the matter thoroughly

Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
Friday, July 31, 1908
Le Mars, Iowa

Mrs. J. Pike and F. Briggs were
out the fore part of the week with
subscription paper asking assistance
of the neighborhood to help bear the
burial expenses of Mrs. Cecil's daughter,
who died very suddenly during
the past week. Mrs. Cecil being a
widow and a hard working woman
deserves all the help she can get in
time of trouble.

Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
Friday, August 14, 1908
Le Mars, Iowa


Anonymous Letters Were Mailed and
Sent Young Girl, the Contents of which
may land the Senders Behind the Bars
of the Penitentiary.

Miss Susie Cecil, a young woman
who lived on the F . R. Briggs farm
near Millnerville , died suddenly on
July 16th. Coroner John Beely was
called upon by people over in Sioux
township to make an investigation
into the circumstances surrounding
her death. It was necessary for him
to write to the state board of health
at Des Moines to obtain permission to
disinter the body which caused some
delay in the inquiry. On Monday of
this week Coroner Beely went to the
cemetery at Adaville in company with
Dr . W. F . Bushnell , T. J . Martin and
John Burnight, of Westfield, and the
body of Miss Cecil was dug up, the
coffin opened and the doctor made an
examination. As stated in the Sentinel
of July 28th, the post mortem
examination was made to clear up as
far as possible evil stories started
apparently by idle and malicious gossip.
After the death of the unfortunate
girl a bundle of anonymous letters
was found. Some of them are in the
possession of the postal authorities
and some in charge of local officials.
Their tenor is such that they led people
to think that the young lady was
hounded to her death by the most
heartless sort of persecution. F. R.
Briggs, a young farmer, who was left
a widower with two little children
some time ago, hired Mrs. Cecil, an
elderly widow of Jefferson, S. D., to
keep house for him . This was a little
over a year ago. Mrs. Cecil was accom-
panied by her daughter, Susie
Cecil, about twenty years of age.
Miss Cecil was not in the best of
health and was not of rugged constitution.
After the Cecils were domiciled
some time at the home of Mr. Briggs,
who is a highly respected citizen
of that vicinity, anonymous letters
and post cards were mailed to
Miss Cecil, and not content with this
the low, lived cowards flung missives
in the yard, where they could be
easily found. The postal cards were
suggestive and the letters contained
the vilest insinuations that an evil
mind could think of reflecting on the
probity and chastity of Miss Cecil
and assaulting her character and
virtue, and coupling her name with
that of Briggs, accusing them of undue
intimacy. The letters thrown in
the yard here, some of them,
printed out with a lead pencil on the
cheapest kind of paper. Some of the
epistles contained twenty or thirty
sheet, were cut out in the shape of a
heart and fastened together with a
string. The writer has read some of
these letters and it passes compre-
hension how a human being can
stoop so low as to write such filth,
more especially to such a pure and
young woman, for such undoubtedly
Miss Cecil was. The post office
authorities have got hold of some of
these letters and are probing the
matter, and someone will suffer
deservedly as the government is not,
fortunately, tardy in bringing senders
of obscene mail to justice.

Miss Cecil, as stated, was not in
the best of health and made trips to
Jefferson to consult a doctor, and
these visits made another theme for
the anonymous letter writer . Miss
Cecil 's death, which occurred on July
16th, was very sudden and was due
to accidental poisoning as was certified
by the attending physician.

She had been given some tooth wash
with which to rinse her mouth. It
contained some poison and a dose of
this stuff was the direct cause of
death. Was it suicide or accident?
The majority think the poor girl was
hounded to death by the persistent
persecution of lying slanderers,
whose persecution proved too strong
for her to bear. Evil tongued
rumor did not rest when the body of
the young woman was laid beneath
the green sod in the country cemetery,
and more than likely those who
badgered the girl in life, with fiendish
unction circulated stories, after death
had taken her from their harpy
clutches, insinuating that the dead
girl had been about to become a
mother and had taken poison to hide
her shame.

Exasperated beyond endurance at
the libelous stories in circulation , J .
W. Pike , an old and respected resident
and father-in-law of F. R. Briggs,
and the relatives of Miss Cecil, de-
etrmined to take steps to give this
story the lie and the disinterment was
made for this purpose. The statement
of the examining physician proved
that Miss Cecil was cruelly maligned.
She was as pure and innocent as when
a little girl and rocked to sleep in her
Mother' arms.

The finger, of suspicion points
strongly to the identity of the persons
who wrote the letters, which directly
or indirectly caused the death of the
young girl at a period in life when
all things should be fairest and best
and if they do not meet justice in
earthly courts their conscience will
not cease from troubling.


Plymouth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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