Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Google Alert makes my jaw drop!! - Part 1

If you haven't signed up to receive Google Alerts you must do!  Just google, Google Alerts and follow the four easy steps to signing up. it now....I'll wait........

Hummmm, deee dummm, dummmm..........

Did you do it?  Good, now sit back and prepare to be stunned by my latest alert!

This is what appeared in my inbox yesterday:

Ten Evil Psychopaths You Probably Don't Know (trust me the title got my attention!)

# 10  Cordelia Botkin
         Candy for my Sweetheart

Cordelia Botkin was the estranged wife of a prominent businessman in San Francisco in the last decade of the 19th century. She (41 years old) met John Dunning (31) when his bicycle broke down in the park. Botkin made very obvious sexual advances, and consequently Dunning (who was married to a former congressman’s daughter) entered into a torrid affair with her. He eventually left his wife and fell into a life of gambling, sex and alcoholism – all fueled (and financed) by Botkin. He eventually decided to end the affair and return to his wife, a fact of which he informed Botkin. Not wanting to be left alone, she sent a box of poisoned candy to Dunning’s wife made to look like a gift from a friend. Dunning’s wife and five friends and family members ate the chocolate. Four recovered but the wife and her sister died. The remaining chocolates were tested and found to be laced with arsenic. The trail of the candy eventually led back to Botkin, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In a strange twist to the tale, the judge who sent her to jail saw her out shopping in town a few weeks later; an investigation uncovered the fact that Botkin was exchanging sexual favors in order to be allowed to leave jail whenever she wanted. She died in jail at the age of 56. Her cause of death was: “softening of the brain due to melancholy.”

At first I wasn't sure how, or if, Cordelia was one of my BOTKIN ancestors.  The article doesn't mention the name of her estranged husband.  However, a quick Google search revealed that her husband was Welcome A. BOTKIN. 

This is when my heart really started pounding....I have a Welcome A. BOTKIN in my family tree!  Problem was I had his wife listed as Della Brown.  I learned very quickly that Della was a nickname for Cordelia Adelaide Brown, the real name of his wife and the psychopathic killer the article is written about!

Welcome is the son of Charles and  Dorcas BOTKIN and I just started doing further research on their children.  I've only gotten through child number 2 out of 12.  Since Welcome is number 10 it would have been awhile before I started digging into his story.

Not anymore, receiving this latest Google Alert moved him right to the top of my research list!  I can't wait to see what I can learn about Welcome, Cordelia and their son Beverley!  If you are as curious about them as I then follow along! Tomorrow I'll  post Part 2 of their story!


  1. Wow! And wow! What a crazy (non pun intended) story! I would like to Google Alert my surnames, but they are mostly common. Did you add anything to the surname when you put in your alert?

  2. The evil are so much fun to research!

  3. Okay, I'm off to sign up for Google Alerts ... this was really cool.

  4. I'm right on it! Thanks for the heads up!

  5. P.S. Forgot to mention that Greta got me here! Thanks Greta for your follow Friday posts!

  6. Jennifer, no I don't need to add anything special to my alerts because me surnames are uncommon enough. I can see the need to filter more common names, maybe by adding a location. Carol, you are so right! The "bad" ancestors are so interesting to research! Greta, be sure and let me know what you find through the alerts! I've had mine out there for over a year but lately they have paid off big time! And, thanks for bringing Linda and Kathy to my blog! Happy searching everyone!

  7. I've used google alerts for a long time but never thought to use my ancestors' names. I think I might try it in the future for some of the more unusual ones. Great story and point well made!

  8. This was good Lisa, thanks for sharing. I'm a long-time user of the alerts, and love seeing great finds like this one of yours, and I'll tune in tomorrow.

  9. Thank you, Marian's Roots and Rambles for sending me to this post! How fascinating--the story and the fact that it was news pushed to you. I have to go now. . . . must. sign. up.

  10. You have a Welcome in your family too? What an interestingly odd name to give a child!

  11. I thought that was a strange name also but I think it was more common then we would think! I've even come across a woman with that name! Thank you for reading!