Jennie Bosschieter

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Jennie Bosschieter (1882–1900) is a woman who was raped and murdered in Paterson, New Jersey, on October 19, 1900.[1] She was an early victim of the date rape drug chloral hydrate which caused her death.

Early life

Jennie was the daughter of Dina Bosschieter (born 1861) from the Netherlands. She lived with her parents at 155 East Fifth Street in the Riverside section, and worked at the Paterson Ribbon Company on Vreeland Avenue. She had an older sister Susan and younger brother, Joseph.


She left home on October 18, 1900, at 8:10 pm to go on an errand to the drug store, where she met Walter C. McAlister and William A. Death (pronounced "Deeth"). She had previously dated Death but he married another woman. McAlister, Death and two others drank with her in a private party room in Saal's saloon at the corner of River Street and Bridge Street. Her first drink may have been a Manhattan, then she drank an absinthe frappe, and then she had two glasses of Great Western sparkling wine. She was given two or three doses of chloral hydrate in her sparkling wine by McAlister. They took her in a carriage to a secluded area, raped her, and she died from an overdose of the drug. They dumped the body on the ground and her head hit a rock.

Her body was found lying a short distance from the Wagaraw bridge (now known as the Lincoln Ave. Bridge) on the Bergen County, New Jersey side of the Passaic River in Columbia Heights section what is now Fair Lawn, between 5:30 and 6:15 am. The discovery was made by Marinus Gary on his way to work. Her head rested on a jagged rock, and there was a fracture of her skull near the base of her brain. The damage to her skull was postmortem. At the trial the defense attorneys tried to blame her death on the absinthe and not the overdose of chloral hydrate. The jury rejected that the death was from the absinthe and that the murder was premeditated.


There was a possible copycat crime on March 12, 1901 with Mary Paige drugged, raped and found severely ill. Paige did recover. Three boys were convicted of assault and served brief sentences.


  • George J. Kerr, was the son of Hugh Kerr (c. 1840 – 1901) and brother of John F. Kerr, a judge. He was married. He served 11 years and nine days of a 15-year sentence.[2]
  • Walter C. McAlister, put the chloral hydrate in her drink
  • Andrew J. Campbell (born 1875). He served 15 years of his 30-year sentence.[3]
  • William A. Death, served in the Spanish–American War and was married


  • Marinus Gary, who found the body, worked for Alyea Brothers feed mill
  • Augustus Sculthorp, the carriage driver
  • Vroom, the coroner
  • Graul, chief of police
  • Christopher Saal, owner of the saloon
  • Joseph Bosschieter (1885), Jennie's brother who was born in the Netherlands
  • Susan Bosschieter (1881), Jennie's sister who was born in the Netherlands

Further reading

  • New York Times; January 9, 1901. Within an Hour Jury Is Selected to Try the First Case. McAlister, Campbell, and Death Listen Nonchalantly to Testimony of the Victim's Family and Witnesses of the Crime. Separate Trial for Kerr. McAllister's Plea for a Review Denied. The first case taken up by Judge Dixon in the Supreme Court today was the application of George J. Kerr for a separate trial on the indictment charging him with assaulting and murdering Jennie Bosschieter, and of Walter C. McAllister for removal of the indictment to the Supreme Court, to the end that it may be reviewed and quashed ...
  • New York Times; January 15, 1901. Paterson, New Jersey; January 14, 1901. The trial of three of the four men who are accused of the murder of Jennie Bosschteter was begun in the Court of Oyer and Terminer, in the old Court House, in Main Street, today. The three men – Walter McAlister, Andrew Campbell, and William Death – who are the persons most concerned in the progress and outcome of the ...
  • New York Times; January 20, 1901. Paterson, New Jersey; January 19, 1901. The verdict in the Bosschieter case was the principal topic of conversation here today. In every shop, in every public place, the fate of Walter J. McAlister, Andrew J. Campbell, and William A. Death was discussed. So far as could be judged from a general expression of opinion, the verdict pleased.
  • New York Times; April 22, 1907. Bosschieter Convict Seeks Pardon.
  • New York Times; May 30, 1908. Bosschieter Slayer Seeks Pardon.
  • "Attacked by the Gang". New York Daily News. October 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29. On a mild October evening in 1900, a pretty teenager named Jennie Bosschieter walked to a drugstore from her home in Paterson, N.J., to fetch baby powder for an infant niece.

External links


  1. ^ "Factory Girl Found Dead. Skull Fractured and the Paterson Police Think She Was Murdered" (PDF). New York Times. October 21, 1900. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Paterson, New Jersey; October 20, 1900. The body of Jennie Bosschieter was found lying a short distance from the Wagaran bridge, on the Bergen side of the Paterson River at 5:30 o'clock this morning. The discovery was made by two milkmen. The head of the girl rested upon a jagged rock, and there was a fracture of the skull near the base of the brain.
  2. ^ "George Kerr Leaves Prison After Eleven Years Punishment" (PDF). New York Times. February 10, 1912. Retrieved 2007-08-21. After having served eleven years and nine days of a 15-year sentence for his part in the murder of Jennie Bosschieter of Paterson, George J. Kerr was discharged from State prison at midnight to-night. His companions, Andrew J. Campbell, William A. Death, and Walter McAllister, will not finish their time until 1921.
  3. ^ "Andrew Campbell Paroled After 15 Years in Jail" (PDF). New York Times. April 17, 1913. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
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