Old Newspaper Clippings

From: The Washington Post; Thursday, September 15, 1924


Tell of Affection for Hight at Very Time He Was Plotting her Death
and Gossip of Children and Neighbors

           Mount Vernon, Ill., Sept. 24--How the late Mrs. Anna Hight wrote letters of affection to the Rev. Lawrence M. Hight, while her pastor husband was plotting to kill her with poison, was revealed here today by Coroner Jesse Reece.

          The coroner, after he had closed the inquest into the death of Mrs. Hight and Wilford Sweetin, searched the parsonage next door to the little white Methodist church in Ina where the preacher prisoner officiated and found the letters.  Mr. Reece believes the letters were written by Mrs. Hight to her husband while he was conducting a ten-day camp meeting in Bonnie, several miles from Ina.  Mrs. Sweetin, the parson's confessed clandestine sweetheart, lived next door to him in a cottage on the meeting ground, it is stated, while Mrs. Hight remained at home in Ina.  This meeting was held some time after Mrs. Sweetin had fed her husband the three fatal doses of arsenic which in as many days slowly killed him.

          All of Mrs. Hight's letters are of an intimate and affectionate tone.  In one she refers to him capriciously as "Hello, Jellyfish," and signs herself in the spirit as "From you Cross Cut Saw."  In another she starts simply with the day, "Thursday," and tells how she conducted a prayer meeting in the church in his absence

          The first of the letters says, "Hello, Jellyfish, how are you?  We are all mean and able to eat if we really had something.  I am eating popcorn with one hand and writing with the other.  Well, it has been an ugly, cloudy day, but I have been so busy all day makings kids' dresses and we all take a swipe at the letter writing.  I do believe you are homesick.  My, Sunday sure was a lonesome day for me; went to see Mrs. Wright and stayed there a while and that seemed a half-day.  I cam back home and read.  Had a good league.  Oh, my, I have to lead next Sunday night.  The subject is "What Jesus Thinks of Folks."  I don't want to tell what I imagine he things of some--anyway preachers--ha, ha.  I am going to do my best as my mind is on it all the time and it sure takes a of of studying.  I am going to get Mildred to tell the story of Abraham and Isaac, if I possibly can.  You remember how Abraham wanted to give his son as an offering.  Well, I am glad you folks are having a good meeting.

         "Went to the Baptist and he preached on the prodigal son.  Robert's ducks could of quacked about as good a sermon as he preached.  Mr. and Mrs. Holloway were there and the Spanglers and Gambles were all there.  The children say they are building a new bank right on the corner, just going to it, Mildred says.  See in my home paper where the new road is going to come on by Bellerive Opdyke and McLeansboro and Mt. Vernon and why is it they are missing Dahlgren.  John Galliher is dead at Joppa.

          "You asked about Robert's suit.  The child has no clothes fit to wear to church any more.  Had his shoes repaired today, cost me a dollar.  If you think you could not do any better at Mt. Vernon just buy them there at Fairfield.  He needs a whole suit too.  The horses need driving so bad I just fell sorry for them standing in that little old place.  The children sure are studying some this week.  Examinations Thursday and Friday.  That blacksmith never has come to do a thing.  I put the bowl and side pieces in the big heater.  But we have lived in the dining room ever since you have gone.  I rather be in it than the front room.  You sure got my letter quick Saturday.  I just mailed at noon.

          "I couldn't find any of my pictures and never looked for Roberts.  Oh, they don't need to see them now.  I got a letter from Marie Monday.  She is getting better, she said.  Said Bobbie thought the quilt top was pretty, she guessed, because it was red.  (Poor Robert dreamt that I was dead this morning) and he sure felt bad.  He is studying so hard he about to go to sleep now.  The birds are settling good now.  Polly laid a day later than Nellie.  I have her in the kitchen and Polly in the dining room.  Nellie just worried.  I had to put her back in the kitchen.

          "Well, Daddy, I hope I get to see you soon.  You have been gone long enough.  Try and get in for the double-up meeting next Tuesday, the missionary meeting at Mrs. Jones.'.  Well, Robert has over a dozen of duck eggs to sell now.  She says he is going to buy him some new blue shirts with them.  Bless his heart, he is sound asleep setting there with his book in his hand.  Well, I must get things ready for bed, so good night, with a great big hug and love to you, from your cross cut saw."

          And the second:  "Thursday night.  Just got in from prayer meeting.  Had a good crowd.  I ironed today, just got through 20 til 12 and here came Pansy and Mrs. Boswell and I flew in and got dinner and they stayed til 4:;30.  Had a good time.  I have go the most awful cold.  If you don't come home pretty soon I sure will freeze.  I can't sleep and can't stay warm and Mildred says she is the same way.  Robert sleeps with me.  I think we will all bunk together tonight.  Robert come running in the other night and said, 'What is this.' and had a duck egg.  Got two eggs this morning.  Well, I will send you your mother's card.  Have no letters from the Cohip Co.  I had a roomful of company Tuesday night.  The young folks were here and practiced songs.  I will have to make Mildred's robe in the morning and decorate in the afternoon and bake pies.  I sent Marie's box to her Wednesday.

           "The quilt top was real pretty.  I sold 3 dozen of eggs Wednesday evening.  Now I am saving them for setting.  Sure is bad about Mill Shoals people all being sick.  Is Emma dead: Write me often as I uneasy about your cold.  I just simply can't stay warm till morning and that stove repairman has not come yet.  I tell you we have a busy job keeping the baby stove a going.  The grate falls out so often.  Say, Lawrence, I don't see any need of taking both of them papers as I never had time to read them.  Mildred nearly worries me crazy.  I can hardly write.  Well, dear, I don't know anything worth telling so I will close.

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