Monday, May 2, 2016

The Murder-Suicide: Portraits

I was recently contacted through this blog by a distant cousin. Cousin Laura is my third cousin which means we have the same great-great grandparents in common; Victor Henry and Annette Hinch-Henry.

Although Cousin Laura and I did not know each other, I do know her grandmother. She and I had met at a family reunion many years ago. At that reunion another cousin brought a photo of the man who is our common ancestor. Cousin Laura was able to send me a digital photo of Victor Henry.

Victor Henry committed a murder-suicide on June 23, 1908 when he was just 34 years-old. Cousin Laura knew of the suicide but not the murder. I suspect it was an event Victor's children wanted buried with their father.

In retelling this event I want to clearly distinguish facts from the story.
  • FACT: On the morning of June 23, 1908, Victor Henry went to the residence of Mrs. Mary Ann Hinch-Cassidy on Water Street in Woodhaven, Queens, NY
  • FACT: Mary Ann was a widow and the first cousin on Victor's wife;  Annette Hinch-Henry.
  • FACT: Victor shot and killed Mary Ann and then turned the revolver on himself.
Now the story, as told through several newspapers articles is that Victor was married with three children but that he was estranged from his wife, Annette. During the alleged separation, Victor had taken up boarding in Mary Ann's house which I just find weird. Why would you want to live with your estranged spouse's family? Or better yet, why would they want you living with them? But I digress... It is interesting to note that the year before, in 1907, Victor's mother, Mary Carrillion-Henry, had also resided and passed away at a house on Water Street.

Most of the newspaper articles state that Victor and Mary Ann were romantically involved or that at the very least Victor had romantic interest in Mary Ann. The neighbors who were interviewed for the articles state jealousy was Victor's motivation but who really knows what his motivation was. He was undoubtedly unwell as anyone is who takes such drastic measures.

You can read an article about the murder-suicide for free online from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 23 June 1908, page 1, There is also an article from the following day, 24 June 1908, buried on page 14 ( which states that Victor's brother, Charles (by the way, I don't know of any brother named Charles although that was Victor's son's name), told reporters that yes, Victor was madly in love with Mary Cassidy but it is untrue that he ever boarded at her home or that he was separated from his wife.

This here is an image of Mary Ann Hinch-Cassidy, the murder victim and Annette Hinch-Henry's first cousin. The photo is cropped from a digital image posted by another user. Until this past week, I had never seen this picture or any other images of Mary Ann but I definitely see a family resemblance.

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