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Allegany County
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Obituaries - Preston

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(wife of WILLIAM PRESTON)- (Continued)

in the city of the dead, as their remains were both interred in one grave. After the double tragedy the remains of the woman were taken in charge of by Mrs. Wm. Railey [sic], who raised her, and those of her husband were taken in charge by an undertaker.
Services were held at Mrs. Railey’s [sic] over the woman, after which the funeral cortege wended its way to the town cemetery. The remains of Preston were then taken to the cemetery from the undertaker’s and lowered in the grave by the side of the woman, and thus ends one of the worst tragedies that has occurred in the county for years.” [CET 1-13-1899, p. 4]

“FROSTBURG’S DOUBLE MURDER. Wm. Preston Shoots His Wife and Himself. Jealousy and Dissipation Cause One of the Most Horrible Tragedies in Allegany County’s Criminal Annals—The Victim and Murderer to Be Buried at the Expense of the County. Last evening about 7:45 o’clock Frostburg was the scene of a most horrible tragedy. Wm. L. Preston, 28 years of age, shot and killed his wife, Mary, aged 23 years. He then turned the revolver to his right temple and sent a bullet crashing through his brain. He lived until 10:30 this morning when he died, never having regained consciousness. He had only been married three months.
The cause of the hideous crime can be traced to jealousy, young Preston having become insane on account of his great love for his wife and the supposed efforts being made to separate them. He was a young man of fair appearance, about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches in height, well built, with dark hair and eyes and olive complexion. He worked in the Union mine and was considered rather industrious. He was a drinking man but was seldom on a spree and was not drunk the evening of the murder.
Some time ago he was arrested and confined in the county jail for disturbing the peace and was released from custody two weeks ago.
His wife did not push the charge of assault against him, but when he went back to Frostburg she would not live with him although she went to his house and cooked his meals. He had been surly and suspicious and accused her of listening to his enemies, and at times threatened violence; then again he would fall on his knees and beg her forgiveness. She led a miserable life, and would have become reconciled with him had she not feared his horrible bursts of jealousy and for her life.
On the day of the tragedy he went to the house she occupied with a Miss Hannah Preston, a relative of his, and after abusing and threatening her he took an knife and deliberately cut up her best dress and pair of corsets. The house is a little one situated on Frost avenue and contains two small rooms down stairs which were used as a kitchen and bedroom, both miserably furnished.
After setting in the manner stated above he left the house and came over in town where he tried at three different places to purchase a revolver. He was not intoxicated, and had not seemed to be drinking, but he was refused by the merchants.
At last he procured a pistol of 38 calibre at an auction store for $1.25; with this in his pocket he again went to the house where his wife was and demanded to see her. Miss Hannah Preston became terrified when she heard Preston talking to his wife and quietly sent a message to Squire Williams’ office for an officer to come out and remove him. She said she did not want him arrested, but simply taken away for the house.
Squire Williams deputized a Mr. Smith to go out and bring the man to his office. This Smith did without any resistance. On the way to the office and at the office his manner was sullen, and he did not appear to have been drinking. The magistrate kept him in the office for about an hour, and at the expiration of that time he arose from his chair and began to walk around the room. As he neared the door, Mr. Williams said, ‘Will, don’t go out.’ He replied that he didn’t intend to, but at the same time he opened the door and started down the street at a rapid rate.
This was about 7:30 o’clock and he went directly to Hannah Preston’s. Hannah was away from the house but his wife and her little two year old child were in the front room He knocked at the door but was refused admission. His wife was seated on a chair with her back to the bed and on the floor in front of her was a mattress on which the child was playing.
When Preston found that his wife would not let him in, he went to the rear window and must have kicked it in, for the sash and glass were found to be terribly shattered. He went directly into the room where his wife was, and drawing the revolver, shot her in the head twice. She fell over on the mattress, where he child was seated.
Preston then shot himself in the temple and fell in the corner with his head on the mattress and his feet toward the bed.
When the neighbors rushed in the child was pushing hair from its dead mother’s face, and with hands covered with blood was weeping bitterly.
Dr. Marshal Price and Dr. [Cobey] were summoned but no medical skill could stay the band of death in the case of the unfortunate young wife. She died a few minutes after being shot by her husband, and her body was taken to the home of her foster mother, Mrs. Rayley [sic], on Maple


Page #:

Anthony E. Crosby and Michael R. Olson


Collection Location:
Frostburg, Md

Original Size:
28 x 22 cms

Cemeteries, Maryland, Frostburg; Obituaries, Maryland, Frostburg. .

Frostburg (Md.), 1800-1972

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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