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Dr. J. J. Reilly


About this time in 1911, the town of Milton saw the murder trial of one of the town’s most highly regarded citizens, Dr. J. J. Reilly. It started with the unexpected death of Mrs. Will Drury.

She was in Milton visiting friends when she became violently ill. She died the next day. The cause of death was given as blood poisoning. The coroner’s jury heard the results of an autopsy and declared Lilly had died of complications from an abortion; Dr. Reilly was arrested for second-degree murder.

An article in the Langdon Courier Democrat suggests that Lilly’s abortion was self-inflicted and that Dr. Reilly and Nurse Nelly Gande were trying to contain an infection.

A week later, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty, and Reilly was sentenced to 10 years; Gande’s charges were dismissed.

Still maintaining his innocence, Dr. Reilly died on May 10th, 1915 – just one month before many of his friends and colleagues believed he would be pardoned.

Written by Merry Helm