Page 10 - January 24, 2024
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{ 10 }  SNJ Today  |  JANUARY 24, 2024                                                                                                                                                                                                                      JANUARY 24, 2024  |  { 11 }
             HISTORY                                                                                                 NOW OPEN!

     A Penny Dreadful                                                                                              RES      T  A  URANT                               Latest Urban Canvas

     ...with a local slant and insight on racial tensions in the                                                                                     ON THE AVE
     region, circa 1844.                                                        S eafood • St      eak
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          enny Dreadfuls—cheaply                  that if she used poison to kill   Pasta • Brick Oven Pizza
          made, lurid pamphlets                   Mr. and Mrs. Seeley, she would
                                                  be able to steal it along with
     Pthat grabbed the pub-                       live together.” Don’t be that guy.
     lic’s attention in the early 19th            any other money and goods she                         Breakfast Buffet  9–2             Buy  100
     century—are difficult to find                could find. Then, according to                          Saturday • Sunday
     today. But the ones that remain              her Confession: She would “get                                                              in gift
     sometimes provide insight into               my mother from the poor house,                         —                              certificates:
     social conditions of the times.              and then I thought we would                              Wine from Cedar Rose
     One particularly tragic tale is                                                                                                        Get  10
     “The Confession of Rosan Keen,” a four-  After her first attempt did nothing more                    Winery ~or~ BYOB             for yourself!
     page penny dreadful printed in Philadelphia   than make the Seeleys ill, Rosan tried again         —
     in 1844. The story was reportedly related   using “fly poison” that she spread liber-              Private Party Room • Up to 35 people
     by a 16-year-old African-American servant   ally across their evening meal one night.
     shortly before she was hanged in Bridgeton   When they both became violently sick, she
     for the fatal poisoning of her employer,   assisted the neighbors with their care, but   301 S. Main St. • Vineland
     Enos Seeley, during the preceding year.   “felt pleased with what I had done, thinking
        Unfortunately, even the strong Quaker   to myself I had fixed them.” She acknowl-  856-405-6920 •
     influence in South Jersey at that time could   edged in the Confession that she was afraid
     not prevent African-Americans from being   to admit her guilt for fear of being whipped.
     mistreated even if they had been born free.   While Mrs. Seeley eventually recovered,
     In her alleged confession, Rosan stated:   her husband died and suspicion fell on their
                                                                                              Don’t be that guy.
     “I was born near Penn’s Neck, in Salem   servant. Seeley’s body was exhumed and   Don’t be that guy.
     County New Jersey, in the year 1828. My   after an autopsy, evidence of arsenic was                 Don’t be that guy.
     father was originally a slave in the state   discovered. Rosan, who by then had fled to

     of Virginia, from whence he escaped and   Springtown, a small community outside of

     settled in New Jersey.”              Greenwich, was captured soon afterward

        Her father apparently lived in fear of   and brought to trial.
                                                                     Don’t be that guy.

     being caught by slavers who haunted the   During her three weeks in jail, Rosan

     region, eager to capture fresh prey. As   made several unsuccessful attempts to

     a result, the Keens moved to “Millville   escape. She realized that she would soon

     Township” where they lived until they   face serious consequences for her actions.                          $               00
     were sent to the poorhouse, located about   Apparently, Rosan’s treatment was not
     one-and-a-half miles west of Bridgeton. Her   appreciated by everyone in Cumberland   165
     father died there two years later.   County. The Bridgeton Chronicle noted

        When Rosan was deemed old enough   that “this poor, ignorant, demented girl”

     to work, she became a servant in several   was “more deserving a place in an insane                                           
                                            Hanged at 2 p.m. on April 26, 1844,  165

     different Bridgeton households before   asylum” than other criminals who had com-

     moving to the Seeley home in 1843. The   mitted murder. But every effort to obtain a   $                      
     Seeleys were a prominent local family   pardon for her was unsuccessful.
     descended from Colonel Enos Seeley, who
     had been a hero during the Revolutionary   in the jail yard in Bridgeton by Sheriff
     War. Her employer had just been appointed   Harris Mattson, the Confession noted: “she
     by Governor Daniel Haines as Clerk for   instantly was raised up and died almost                        
     Cumberland County.                   without a struggle.” After a limited number
        The couple was apparently wealthy   of spectators initially witnessed the hang-                 CALL TODAY!

     enough for Mrs. Seeley to own a “Gold   ing, “the body was not taken down until 4

     Watch and Chain” along with other ameni-  p.m.” Her remains were later released to
     ties. Rosan, who had never enjoyed such   friends for burial. n                                                                  
     Salem County's Most Trusted Plumbing,
     luxuries, coveted the watch. She reasoned                                                                                   Heating & Air Conditioning Company, with
                                                                                                                                    over 25 years of experience.
                   

                                                                                                                                                 $                        165

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