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Bigamy and Bloodshed

The Scandal of Emma Molloy and the Murder of Sarah Graham

Larry E. Wood (author)

ISBN: 9781606353851

Publication Date: Oct 2019

Format: Paperback

Recounts the dramatic tale of Emma Molloy, who hit headlines when her husband George Graham was charged with the murder of his first wife – and she and her daughter were implicated as accessories.

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Emma Molloy temperance revivalist, prohibitionist, and accessory to murder.

In the summer of 1885, ex-convict George Graham bigamously married Cora Lee, foster daughter of nationally known temperance revivalist Emma Molloy, and the three took up residence together on the Molloy farm near Springfield, Missouri. When the body of Graham's first wife, Sarah, was found at the bottom of an abandoned well on the Molloy farm early the next year, Graham was charged with murder, and Cora and Emma were implicated as accessories. As Larry E. Wood notes, this sensational story made headlines across the country and threatened Mrs. Molloy's career as a prominent evangelist and temperance revivalist.

Although Graham confessed, taking sole blame for the murder, he inflamed the scandal surrounding Emma Molloy when he claimed that he'd carried on a passionate affair with her while simultaneously courting her foster daughter. When Graham was lynched by a mob before he could come to trial, critics of Mrs. Molloy even suggested that she and her friends in the temperance movement had instigated the hanging to silence him. Although Cora Lee was eventually acquitted of being an accomplice in Sarah Graham's murder and the charges against Emma Molloy were subsequently dropped, many of Mrs. Molloy's detractors remained convinced that she was, at the least, a very indiscreet woman. Her reputation was irreparably tarnished, and she never fully recovered her status as one of the country's most noted female orators.


Featured in the New York Times: "What's worse, murder or immorality? To American sensibilities in the 1880s, immorality was apparently the greater evil. Or so it seems from Larry E. Wood's entertaining Bigamy & Bloodshed: The Scandal of Emma Molloy and the Murder of Sarah Graham..."
Pages 192
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Oct 2019
Publisher The Kent State University Press
Series True Crime History
Subject/s Biography & True Stories  
Larry E. Wood has published 15 nonfiction history books, two historical novels, and over 400 magazine stories and articles. His The Two Civil War Battles of Newtonia won the Walter Williams Award in 2011.

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