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Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Mysterious Affair Down at the Depot

A Mysterious Affair- Opening a coffin on Which There was No Address.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
    Wilcox Wharf, June 7. 1884.
A few weeks ago a large coffin from which the address had been lost was landed at one of the depots on the Chesapeake and Ohio railway in New Kent county. It was placed in the depot. The people of the neighborhood wondered where it came from and who was inside,and curiosity began to run high on the second day after its arrival, when no one called for it. Then, too, it began to be offensive, the agent said, and others began to hold their noses as they peeped in to look at it. One old gentleman said his family were offended by it a hundred yards away. It grew worse and  worse as the weather warmed, and something had to be done. Crowds began to collect to and hear some solution of the mystery, where did he come from, and what was his destination? How long was the corpse to remain? A proposition was made to bury it. It would make everybody sick. The agent could stand it no longer. But they must know who the corpse was if any trace could be had from a view of it. So it was decided to unscrew the coffin. Fifteen men gathered around, all but one holding their noses. This man said he could smell nothing, but he had a cold, and he supposed that accounted for it. So an expert took out the screws, and the crowd gently lifted the lid, each with one hand, the other hand to a nose, when lo! there were six other coffins packed in the big one like hats in a box.
The pall-bearers let down the lid, took down their nose-hands, looked very solemn and walked away; but as they went one man said, "It's no use to blab about it." But the man who had a cold in his head and could not detect anything offensive did blab, and so you have it.

-The Daily Dispatch, June 08, 1884

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