Cecelia Ann Pinnell

Cecelia Ann Pinnell (maiden name: Lorentz) was born in Virginia on March 30, 1836, to Marshall Lorentz and Marietta McNutty. Her father was a farmer in Lewis County, Virginia (present-day West Virginia), who owned $7750 in real estate in 1850. He was also a fierce Whig partisan who named one of his sons after Kentucky Senator Henry Clay. Cecelia’s mother, according to one local writer, was an “affectionate wife and mother, a devout christian [sic] and kind neighbor.” Marietta died on July 16, 1855, “leaving an affectionate husband and ten children to mourn their irreparable loss.”

Cecelia married Philip F. Pinnell on June 22, 1854, in Upshur County, Virginia, and they had at least five children over the next twelve years: Marietta, born on May 22, 1855; Ingaber L., born on December 5, 1858; Winfield Scott, born around 1861; Lorena Bird, born around 1864; and Norville E., born around 1866. In July 1885, Cecelia almost died after drinking coffee laced with arsenic. As a local writer noted, “Mrs. Pinnell drank a cup and a half and is in a dying condition,” while several of their children fell “exceedingly ill.” Officials suspected Martha Carter, the family’s Black servant. Carter, however, denied the charges, and officials had no firm evidence against her. The family eventually recovered, and Philip died two years later, on August 17, 1887.

By 1900, Cecelia was living in Aspinwall, Pennsylvania, with her daughter Lorena. She died there on October 4, 1912, and was buried in Upshur County, West Virginia.


Pinnell Family Poisoned with Arsenic

Name:Pinnell, Cecelia Ann
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  • Spouse
  • UVA (Union)
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Birth date:1836-03-30
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:Virginia
Death date:1912-10-04
Death place:Aspinwall, PA
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Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Pinnell, Cecelia Annparent ofPinnell, Marietta
Pinnell, Cecelia Annparent ofPinnell, Ingaber L.
Pinnell, Cecelia Annparent ofPinnell, Winfield Scott
Pinnell, Cecelia Annparent ofPinnell, Lorena Bird
Pinnell, Cecelia Annparent ofPinnell, Norville E.
Pinnell, Cecelia Annwife ofPinnell, Philip F.
Pinnell, Cecelia Ann

1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 United States Federal Censuses, available from Ancestry.com; Cooper's Clarksburg Register, 1 August 1855; Southwest Examiner, 18 July 1885; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5 October 1912.