The mystery about Mary
Editor’s note: The following story tells of a crime committed in Bureau County more than 100 years ago.
The year is 1908, and the place is a farm just west of Tiskilwa. The property is owned by Herbert Whiting and was being rented by the James McMahon family. Living with the McMahon family is a servant, Mary Hetrick. Whiting also lives in a closed off section of the house. Mary’s age was thought to be 16.
Around 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 5, McMahon and his 6-year-old son, Mark, went to do the morning chores. “What a good little girl we have,” stated McMahon as Mary was already preparing breakfast. “You’d better hurry along and get your chores done,” replied Mary. Ellen McMahon was in the other room dressing her 3-year-old son Herbert. He was throwing a fuss, so Ellen asked Mary for the whip. With that Herbert promised he would cooperate. Mary kissed his head and promised to save him, if he behaved.
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