Pinnell Family Poisoned with Arsenic
July 1, 1885

On July 1, 1885, Philip F. PinnellCecelia Pinnell, and their children fell gravely ill after drinking coffee laced with arsenic.


Buckhannon, W. VA., July 1.—

The family of Dr. P. F. Pinnell, of this place were all poisoned to day by drinking coffee containing arsenic. Mrs. Pinnell drank a cup and a half and is in a dying condition, she being affected the worst of all. Edward, a son, partook of the beverage and left the house, when he was taken ill on the road. Dr. Pinnell, Miss Birdie and Miss Ingia are all very ill, Miss Essie Brown, of Parkersburg, a visitor, also drank freely of the coffee and is quite ill, but will recover. Several other children of the Pinnell family are exceedingly ill, and doubts are entertained as to their recovery. The servant, a colored woman, was the only member of the household who was not afflicted and she is suspected of placing the poison in the coffee, but she denies it and no evidence is at hand to convict her. The large quantity of the poison used only prevented the cases all resulting fatally.


Southwest Examiner, 18 July 1885.