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1873 mystery
  • Published
    September 24, 2022

    Chapter 19: A dramatic moment in the trial

    The high point of the trial, without a doubt, occurred just before Maine Attorney General Harris Plaisted called Thomas Dwight, an anatomy professor at Bowdoin College who became the father of forensic anthropology, to take the stand.

  • Published
    September 18, 2022

    Chapter 18: A visit to Switzerland Road

    Eben Pillsbury, an attorney for accused killer James M. “Jim” Lowell, had suggested the visit, telling the judge that in seeing the spot, jurors “might better understand its surroundings.”

  • Published
    September 11, 2022

    Chapter 17: The murder trial begins

    Each man who passed muster and was seated on the jury swore an oath “to well and truly try and true deliverance make” a decision based on the evidence presented.

  • Published
    September 4, 2022

    Chapter 16: An entirely circumstantial murder case

    Beyond proving the identity of the remains, prosecutors needed to do two more things: establish that James "Jim" Lowell could well have killed Lizzie Lowell and that he had the opportunity to do so.

  • Published
    August 28, 2022

    Chapter 15: The life of Lizzie Lowell

    Through the legal proceedings, Lizzie Lowell emerged as the buyer of a dress and a woman with fast friends and perhaps loose morals, at least by the standards of the time.

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  • Published
    August 21, 2022

    Chapter 14: Lowell’s arraignment in Auburn

    Maine’s attorney general, Harris Plaisted, had ventured from Bangor to Lewiston at New Year’s to work on the case. He intended, as everyone expected, to prosecute the case himself.

  • Published
    August 14, 2022

    Chapter 13: Murder charge lodged against Lowell

    With the inquest completed that concluded the skeleton found off Switzerland Road was likely the missing Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lowell, her husband next faced a preliminary examination on a murder charge before Judge Albion Knowlton that was supposed to take place in the Police Courtroom in the City Building’s basement.

  • Published
    August 7, 2022

    Chapter 12: Strange letters in Lewiston

    It struck everyone as more than a little suspicious that a letter purporting to come from Lizzie was so chock full of help for the things her husband wanted, including, apparently, Jennie Blood.

  • Published
    July 31, 2022

    Chapter 11: Lizzie’s mother pays a visit

    The Lewiston Evening Journal said at the time the meeting between James Lowell and his former mother-in-law “was evidently not a pleasant one for the prisoner. He was a good deal agitated when the silk dress was carried in with them, was shown to him for the first time.”

  • Published
    July 24, 2022

    Chapter 10: The inquest, day one

    Their first decision was to bar the crowd outside from squeezing into the room, keeping those inside to a minimum — the coroner, Androscoggin County Attorney George Wing, the witnesses and the press. It seems that Frank Dingley, the Lewiston Evening Journal’s intrepid editor, was always allowed to see whatever he wanted.