Shocking Catastrophe ‒ Five Children Smothered to Death in Newtown - JuniperCivic.com
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Shocking Catastrophe ‒ Five Children Smothered to Death in Newtown

BROOKLYN EAGLE JANUARY 2, 1855

Five Children were found dead in their room in Maspeth

Brooklyn Eagle January 2, 1855 • Seldom have we been called upon to record a more melancholy catastrophe than that which occurred in Newtown, L.I., in the neighborhood of Maspeth on Friday evening last. It seems that a Mrs. Marks, a widow lady, residing there had five small children from the city boarding with her, and that on the evening in question, the children were put to bed as usual in a room in which there was a stove. The night was cold, and a fire was put in the stove, from which the covers were taken off and the children left to repose. In the morning on entering the room to arouse the little praters it was discovered that they were all dead and that their death had been superinduced by the fumes from the anthracite used in the stove.

The names of the children were Ellen Lang, eight years old; William Lang, nine or ten ‒ brother and sister; Edward Hayden, 5 or 6, and George Howell, nine years old. It seems that the attendant who had charge of the children was absent in the city and had gone there to procure clothing and Christmas presents for them and did not return until next day. Everything indicated that they were of genteel origin, and well clothed and efficiently cared for. Coroner Boyd held an inquest upon the unfortunates, but failed to elucidate from the witnesses called any particulars as to who were the parents of the children, and why they were boarded away from their parents at this season of the year.