Sunday, 19 June 2011

1905-10-14 Saturday Musings

Saturday Musings Spectator October 14, 1905

          The old boys and girls who attended the Central school along in the fifties will remember William H. King, an attractive-looking young fellow who came from the neighbourhood of Brighton and was engaged as a teacher in the Central under Dr. John H. Sangster. King was fond of reading theological works when a youth, and his parents were hopeful that he might enter the church, and to that end spared no money in giving him a good education. But he fell in love with a farmer's daughter and contracted an early marriage, which turned his thoughts from theology to the practical ways of earning a livelihood. He entered the Normal school at Toronto and prepared himself for a teacher, and upon his graduation, there being a demand for Normal graduates, he was selected by Dr. Sangster as one of the Central corps of teachers. While teaching in this city he began the study of the homeopathic system of medicine, went to Philadelphia and took a college course and settled down at his old home in Brighton to practice his profession. King was unfortunate in his selection of a wife; she was inferior to him intellectually, and while he was advancing educationally, she kept in the old ruts of indifference. One child was born to them, which only lived a short time, and as his wife was about to become a mother a second time he killed her in a most heartless manner. King had become infatuated with a handsome, vivacious and educated young woman, and he felt he must have her as his wife. To clear the way for his marriage to her he administered arsenic in repeated doses to his wife. After giving the arsenic for some time, he changed his plan and tried chloroform., but in his wife's enfeebled condition from the effects 0f the arsenic, the chloroform proved too much for her and she died under the influence of the first dose. He was arrested and tried and found guilty of murder, and on June 9, 1859, was hanged publicly at Cobourg, over 5,000 persons witnessing the execution. The sheriff who had charge of the execution and the minister who attended King to the gallows had been playmates with him in his boyhood days. King professed sorrow for his crime when they were about to put the rope around his neck, but he attempted to justify his act by aspersing the virtue of his dead wife. Two or three of the teachers who taught in the Central with King will remember him well. One who was present at his execution described him as a fine-looking man, with a full beard and mustache. He was dressed in black, looked the gentleman, and there was nothing in his appearance that would lead one to suspect him of the crime of murder.

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