The sad and wicked deed of a depraved mother from Maryville is discovered at Pattonsburg, MO, in 1899.

Anna McKee of Maryville, MO, traveled through Pattonsburg on the westbound Q.O. & K.C. Railroad, taking lodging at the Farmers’ Hotel. About dark she went to the water closet and remained some time, her maneuvers finally exciting suspicion. One of the girls went out to see what was the trouble, and McKee told the girl that she had lost her ring and wanted her to go to the house and get some matches. The landlord eventually went to investigate since the woman had been there two hours or more.

The Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City Railroad (called the OK Railroad) between Trenton and Pattonsburg was constructed in 1896-97. It was abandoned in 1939. Lettering under the engineer’s window reads “Q.O. & K.C. R.R.” On the coal car is “Travel Via the Picturesque QO&KC Rails.” (courtesy Leta Wade)

The landlord, Mrs. Swisher, asked what was the matter. McKee replied that she was a married woman and had met with a mishap, but the landlady was convinced that there was something wrong as she accompanied McKee to the house. Mrs. Swisher told McKee that she had better seek other quarters, and called a boy to help carry her things.

McKee went around through town to the livery barn and engaged a team to take her to McFall, but Marshal Fuller advised her to go somewhere to go to bed. This she did, taking a place at the Port Aurthur house.

McKee had telephoned Wm. Gillihan, whom she claimed was her husband. Gillihan arrived by late train and had Dr. Barlow visit McKee in her room the following morning. When Gillihan departed, McKee would only claim the man as her friend. Gillihan was arrested in Trenton, and was held at the jail there until the details of the affair at Pattonsburg were determined.

Later that day, a thorough investigation discovered a fully developed child in the pit of the water closet. Whether or not the infant was alive when deposited there was not immediately known. A coroner’s jury later exonerated Gillihan, but recommended that the mother be held to face charges.

— reprinted from the Gallatin North Missourian, February 23, 1899