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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

H is for Prof. George HADLEY

In 1856, in the rural town of Alabama, NY one woman's family suffered from multiple unexplained deaths. The town folk grew suspicious of the now remarried Polly Frisch. An investigation commenced, bodies were exhumed, an affair—exposed. Polly would be arrested for the murders of her first husband and daughters. Her fourteen-year-old son would testify against her. If found guilty, the punishment for such a crime was the gallows. Would Polly be the first woman in Genesee County history to be hanged for murder? Bread & Butter is the true story of Polly Frisch who poisoned her family with arsenic and the five trials it took to convict her.

Today's excerpt is about Prof. George Hadley, the expert who tested for arsenic in the remains of the Hoags.


George Hadley, born in 1813, was the University’s first Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacy. He began his career studying with an engineer on the Erie Canal in 1841 and also worked on reports in the canal office in Albany. Hadley was very adept in the field of chemistry and mineralogy. He held a position for a short time as a professor of those fields at the University of Missouri.

Hadley honed his talents attending lectures on chemistry and geology in New Haven, Connecticut. He later spent time conducting research on various minerals while working for the Canadian Mining Company on Lake Superior. Professor George Hadley was appointed to the University at Buffalo in 1846 and held the position until his death in 1877. He is among the founding faculty of the school.

Prof. Hadley was admitted to the Erie County Medical Society in 1856. He already had a reputation as an expert in his field. He was the perfect choice for the prosecution to use to conduct the chemical analysis on the remains of the Hoags. The fact that his lectures were clear, scientific, and accurate earned him the reputation as an excellent witness in testimony as an expert in toxicology.

Tomorrow we will look at some other 19th century true crimes.

The hardcovers went live last week, and the paperbacks over the weekend on Amazon. I am hoping the ebooks will be up by the end of the week! Exciting times!

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  1. Have you ever read Shirley Jeckson's, We Have Always Lived In The Castle? This case reminds me of that book except, this is true & her book is fiction. Also, double points for Hoag as well as Hadley!

    I'm visiting from A to Z & look forward to stopping by in the future.

  2. Congratulations! What a delightfully creepy story to base a book on!
    (new follower)
    Lexa Cain’s Blog

  3. Goodness what a story! Congrats on your book! :)

  4. I can't wait for the Kindle version...hurry Cindy!


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Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

Now Available At:

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The History Press

Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
The Book Shoppe - Medina, NY

APRIL 16th, 2 PM
Barnes & Noble - Pittsfield, MA

APRIL 19th, 7 PM
Tonawanda Indian Reservation Historical Society,
Tonawanda Indian Community Center- Akron, NY

MAY 14th, 1 PM
Seneca Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca, NY

May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

AUG 9TH, 7 pm Hoss's Country Corner -2016 Author's Night- Long Lake, NY

AUG 25TH 6 PM Akwesasne Cultural Center - Hogansburg, NY

More to announce as they are confirmed.

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Bread & Butter the Murders of Polly Frisch

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