A collection of family histories and genealogies.

Mary Mahala Frizzell[1]

Female 1819 - 1893  (73 years)

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  • Name Mary Mahala Frizzell 
    Born Apr 13, 1819  Georgia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died Feb 04, 1893  Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I15364  mykindred
    Last Modified Jan 04, 2004 

    Father Thomas Frizzle,   b. circa 1776, North Carolina, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Sep 13, 1857, Pike county, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 81 years) 
    Mother Temperance "Tempy" Ellis,   b. Between 1783 and 1785, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aug 22, 1865, Pike county, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Married Bef 1809  ? Washington county, Georgia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 1820 Washington County Georgia census
      Thomas FRIZZLE
      four males under 10 (Jason-9, Ephraim-5, Jackson-3 & Gayle~2)
      one female 10-16 (Margaret-11)
      one female 16-26 (probably Temperance)
      Also in 1824 Washington cty GA census.
      They appear in the 1830, 1840 (p. 273) & 1850 Alabama censuses and the 1860 Pike county Alabama census.
      In 1850 p. 184, #660:
      Thomas FRIZEL, 76, b: NC
      Temperance FRIZEL, 65, MD
      Jason FRIZEL, 40, GA
      Utha FRIZEL, 40, GA
      Clark FRIZEL, 18, AL
      Jeptha FRIZEL, 15, AL (? name hard to read)
      Thomas FRIZEL, 13, AL
      Mary FRIZEL, 11, AL
      Temperance FRIZEL, 8, AL
      Elzena FRIZEL, 5, AL
      Cynthia Kirkland> wrote 2-1-2000:
      "Tempy outlived her husband by eight years, after his death by poisoning at a family gathering in 1857. The poisoning was a widely publicized case in Pike Co. of multiple murder, perpetrated upon the family of Thomas Frizzell, by one Harmon Camiska, an ex-employee of Frizzell, and a Negro cook called Nancy. 42 people became ill, 4 of which died, including Thomas."
      (Laura Schmidt> sent this DEC 7 1999.)

      Cloud Family Journal Vol X No.1 page 11
      Murder and Mayhem

      [Copied by Arden Andry Cloud, Gretna, LA at the Troy H. Middleton Library, Baton Rogue (LSU)]
      From "The Southern Sentinel" [LA, 23 Sept 1857

      [From the Delta, 19th inst.]
      "AUGUSTA, GA, September 19th - We have just received the details of a most horrible crime committed in Pike Co, Alabama, on last Sunday. The family and servants of Mr. Thomas Frasell, consisting of himself, his overseer, the latter's wife, two children, a Mrs. Cloud; Mr. Frasell's granddaughter, and thirty others were poisoned with arsenic by the cook, a negro woman.  She put arsenic in the food which she had prepared for dinner.  It has been discovered that she was instigated to the murderous deed by a Hungarian named Cominska.  Thomas Frasell, his overseer's wife, two children, Mr. Frasell's granddaughter, and a Mrs. Cloud are dead, and the remaining victims are in very critical condition.  Both of the culprits were arrested and found guilty by a jury of the people.  The negro woman was immediately burnt at the stake.  Cominska was sentenced to serve the same fate on next Monday. The affair caused the wildest excitement throughout the neighborhood."
      ....  and Gary Cloud> wrote:
      From the Montgomery Advertiser and State Gazette, Wednesday, Sept 23, 1857, page 1:
      Friday Morning, September 18
      Poisoning in Pike  --  Forty one persons poisoned

          A gentleman just from Pike, who was in our office last night, informed us of a most melancholy case of poisoning which took place near Bruceville, in that county, on Sunday morning last. It appears that a Pole of the name of Promiski had been tampering with the slaves of Mr. Thomas Frazell and had two or three times been ordered by that gentleman to leave his premises. Mr. Frazell finally determined to have the fellow indicted, and a process was accordingly served upon him. In order to prevent his prosecutor from appearing against him, he provided a negro woman, possibly the family cook, with poison of some kind, with directions to put it in the food, &c. This she did, and the consequence was that Sunday morning forty one persons, who breakfasted on the premises of Mr. Frazell, were poisoned.  When our informant left, Mr. Frazell and his grand-daughter, and the wife and child of the overseer, had died from the effects of the poison, and a number of the others were lying in a critical situation. It so happened that a number of persons who were on their way to Pike Court took breakfast at Mr. Frazell"s house on the morning in question.  Promiski and his colored accomplice are both in jail at Troy. As court is in session there, we doubt not they will be speedily dealt with.
      The next two articles from Jake Evans> JAN 4, 2004
      From The National Era
      Washington, D.C., Vol. XI No. 560 P. 155
      September 24, 1857
      Horrible Poisoning Affair

      Augusta, Sept. 19.
      On Sunday last, in Pike county, Alabama, thirty-seven were poisoned, (six of whom are dead,) by a negro cook, who mixed arsenic with the food of the family. She was instigated to do this horrid act by Comiska, a Hungarian.
      Mr. Thomas Frazell, his overseer's wife and two children, Mrs. Claud, and Mr. Frazell's grand-daughter, are dead; the others are still living, but in a critical condition. The negro woman was burnt; and Comiska is to meet the same fate on Monday next.
      From the New York Times September 25, 1857, Page 2
      The Late Poisoning Case in Alabama

      From the Montgomery (Ala.) Mail
      One of our subscribers, from Pike County, informed us yesterday of a most horrible and atrocious case of poisoning in that county, just below the line of Montgomery, and in the neighborhood of Bruceville. The annals of crime will hardly show a more extensive and diabolical piece of villainy.
      It seems that a German, or Hungarian, whose name our informant had forgotten, was on intimate terms with a negro woman, the property of old Mr. Thomas Frazell, one of the earliest settlers of Pike, This man had once been in the employ of Mr. F, and was familiar With his premises. Some time since he had been detected in gambling with Mr. F.'s , negroes, and Mr. F. had instituted prosecution against him. On Saturday evening, 12 Inst., he was seen in conversation with the negro woman alluded to, at the well, although he had received orders from Mr. Frazell never to come about his premises.
      On Sunday there were some 37 persons dining at Mr. Frazell's House, of whom about 30 were visitors from the neighborhood. All these became sick soon after eating, vomiting violently and the cook being arrested immediately, on a suspicion of poisoning at once proceeded to state as follows: She said that the white man above referred to, while at the well, had given her a vial containing arsenic, which he had instructed her to mingle with " the meal, the milk, the butter and the coffee". He was particularly desirous that it should go into every article of food because Mr. Frazell was in delicate health, and generally ate very sparingly. The Negro woman said she followed the instructions of her lover to the letter - who by the way, added to his instructions the remark "after the old man had taken that, he would hardly prosecute him in that case."
      The poison was administered, as we have seen, but too successfully. The whole assemblage of persons were put under its influence: and at the last accounts six had died from Its effects.  Old Mr. Frazell died about sunset Sunday, the day of the poisoning. His overseer's wife and two children, Mrs. Cloud a widowed daughter of Mr. F., and Mr. F.'s grand-daughter died the next day. Several others were lying in a critical condition, and doubtless there will be more victims of this awfully fiendish crime.
      Mr. Jack Frazell, son of the old man, happened to be out of meal, on the day of the poisoning, and sent to his father's and borrowed a bushel. All who partook of this, including a brother who had declined to eat at his father's, having come in after some of the company had got sick, were more or less affected.
      After we had written the above, our informant, Mr. J. M. Johnson of Pike, called on us again, and gave us the name of the poisoner, which is Comiska.
      Mr. J. further states that the infuriated people of the neighborhood have burnt the negro woman, and will perform the same service for Camiska on next Monday, In the meantime he is safely lodged in jail at Troy.  He neither denies nor admits anything.
      The "Mrs. Cloud" could not have been Margaret, for she was on the 1860 census and died in 1865.  The granddaughter who was killed was apparently Margaret, youngest daughter of William and Margaret (Frizzel) Cloud, b. ca 1848, aged 9 years.  She was 2 on the 1850 census but did not appear on the 1860 census, when she would have been 12.
      From: vonbear []
      Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2003 12:59 PM
      To: ''
      Subject: Press coverage of Kamiska and Nancy Trials

      Extracts From "The People of Pike County"
      (Located at The Alabama Department of Archives & History)
      The Case of Harmon Camiska

      Tried in Barbour County Superior Court, on a change of venue from Pike County - on a charge of murder by poisoning with arsenic for the State, Attorney General M.A. Baldwin, Hon. H. W. Hilliard, Hon. Benj. Gardner, Jeff Bufford, and D. M. Seals, Esqrs. For the defense, J. L. Pugh, E. C. Bullock, B. Fitzpatrick, A.W. Starke, John Cochran, Esqrs.
      Mr. Editor: Having seen in your paper and several others of the above stated case, from the Clayton Banner, a paper published in the town where the trial was held, which gives meager outline of the evidence and the circumstances attending the case, that I am induced to send you the following condensed though accurate, account of the trial, as it is one of the most important that has ever been had, in the Southern country, at least, within my observation.
      On the 13th of Sept., 1857 (Sunday morning), the family of Thomas Frisel and a number of visitors who were present, were taken suddenly ill, with vomiting, at the breakfast table - also did the family of Mr. Ephraim Frisel during the day, of the latter having sent over early in the morning to Mrs. Frisel and borrowed meal for the day. The whole number of who were thus violently attacked, including the two families, 42, 4 of whom died, viz: Thomas Frisel, Betsy Jane Frisel Dubose and her infant child. Suspicion at once rested upon Harmon Camiska, the prisoner, and a negro woman named Nancy, as guilty perpetrators of the deed, who were arrested and committed to jail at Troy, Pike County, on the next day, (Monday, the 1st day of September, being the day for the sitting of the Circuit Court of Pike County). In consequence of the failure of the Judge to attend, there was no Court at that time, and consequently no bill was found against the prisoner until the Spring Term of Pike County Court., 1858, at which time he was arraigned, and a day fixed for the trial. When the appointed day arrived, the State announced that it was "ready," when the prisoner, through his counsel, made application for a continuance, in consequence of the absence of a witness material for his defense. The presiding Judge (Hon. John Gill Shorter,) though requiring the prisoner to disclose what he expected to prove by the absent witness, yet declined to put the State upon the admission, and the case stood continued by the prisoner until the next term of the Court. At the last term of Court., His Honor, Judge Dougherty, presiding, the case was again called for trial; the State again announced itself "ready, " when the prisoner applied for a change of venue, upon the ground that he could not have a fair and impartial trial in the county of Pike, when, by agreement, the case was removed to Barbour County and the 28th day of October set for the trial.
      The 28th arrived: the Court House was crowded to a jam. The witnesses on the part of the State were then called, and the State announced that it was ready to proceed with the trial. The prisoner's witnesses (some 15 or 20) were then called, the most of whom answered, when the prisoner with his counsel, retired into a jury room for consultation, and after being closeted for about one hour, returned into Court, with a "showing" for a continuance on consequence of the absence of Wm. Patten, George Patten, John Sharp, Thomas Benton, and Mrs. Sherley, material witnesses for his defense.  By George Patten and Wm. Patten, the prisoner said he expected to prove that his relations to Betsey Jane Frisel were, up to the very day of the alleged poisoning, of the most friendly and affectionate character; that he was at the very time engaged in a correspondence with her, with a view to marriage, that his suit was favorably received by her, he (the prisoner) having been in the habit of showing said Betsy Jane's letters to him, the said George Patten, and getting the said George to answer them, he having been a much more expert writer than the prisoner, and that and that this continued up to the very day of said alleged poisoning. That by John Sharp, Thomas Benton, and Mrs. Winifred Sherley, he expected to prove the day before the alleged poisoning, one Mrs. McCowan gave to the negro woman, Nancy, the arsenic, which she obtained from the said Sharp, under the pretense of killing rats.
      Such was the "showing" of the prisoner for a continuance of the cause, and the Judge put the State upon its admission, i.e.: the State, in order to get a trial, was required to admit that. if the witnesses' named were there that they would swear to the facts set forth in the affidavit of the prisoner. This the State did, and the prisoner was at once put upon trial. The remainder of the day was then consumed in organizing the jury, when the Court adjourned until the next day.
      Friday morning found the Judge quite sick, scarcely able to get to the Court House at all, and consequently he was compelled to adjourn Court, which he did until the Monday following - and by agreement the Jury were permitted to disperse under the charge of the Court.
      Monday morning, the first day of November arrived, and at the appointed hour the Judge, Witnesses, and Counsel were all at their posts ready to proceed with the trial - His Honor in the meantime, by the diligent care of his landlord, Ben Screws, having almost entirely recovered from what, at one time, threatened to be a very violent attack.
      I shall not occupy your space by giving the evidence of each witness as detailed from the stand - but will content myself by giving condensed statement of it.
      It was proved that the prisoner, Harmon Camiska had been boarding with Mr. Thomas Frisel for some time previous to the poisoning - that when he first went there, he was taken by the old man into his house, and permitted to erect a shop upon the place to carry on his trade, being a wheelwright; he had not been there a great while before he became too intimate with the slaves upon the premises - gambling with men and engaging in illicit commerce with several of the women. This conduct reaching the ears of the old man Frisel, he importuned him to desist and behave himself but his importunities were of no avail, when the old man at last told him that he must leave his premises - when he swore that he intended to stay there as long as he pleased. Mr. Frisel finding that he could not get clear of him by ordinary means, resorted to the law, and on application to a Justice of the Peace had him ejected from his premises, by a writ of unlawful detainer, this was about 6 months before the poisoning. In the meantime a difficulty arose between the prisoner and Mr. James Frisel, in consequence of some of the prisoners conduct in the absence of old Mr. Frisel, in which James Frisel knocked the prisoner down with a stick for which he was prosecuted by the prisoner.
      After Camiska was driven from the premises of old man Frisel he purchased a piece of land adjoining, and set up shop within a quarter of a mile of the old man's house, and kept up his intercourse with the negroes. Mr. Frisel finding he could not get clear of him determined to prosecute him for gambling and adultery with his slaves, at the next term of the Circuit Court for Pike County, which was to commence on the 14th of Sept., 1857, and was taking necessary steps to get the evidence before the Grand Jury. (MORE OF THIS STORY IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE PAPER)
      Incidents of the trial of Nancy, (a slave) charged as an accomplice of one, Harmon Camiska, (who has been, heretofore tried, convicted and sentenced to the Penitentiary for life) in poisoning some 40 or more persons; resulting in the death of Thomas Frisel, Betsy Jane Frisel, and 2 other white persons with arsenic. (JHE NOTE: Book may be in error as to punishment of Camiska)
      We have thought proper to give the incidents, (some of them) of this very interesting trial, as the whole country seem to have manifested great interest in its results.
      On last Thursday, the prisoner (Nancy), was brought into Court and was put upon her trial, which lasted until Friday about 3:00, when the Jury returned a verdict of guilty.
      The State was represented by Attorney General M. A. Baldwin and John D. Gardner Esq., who did their whole duty by way-of prosecution. The slave (Nancy) was defended by E. L. McIntyre and S. Holly, Esqrs, who were appointed by the Court to defend her. It is proper that we should here state, that their defence was both manly and powerful - unsettling the minds of many who, had concluded that the woman was guilty beyond a doubt, but the Jury disagreed with them and as before stated (after staying out some 2 or 3 hours) returned a verdict guilty.
      On Saturday evening late, the prisoner was brought into the Court House to hear the judgment of the law, which was to fix her final doom; and, in this place it is due to his Hon. Judge Shorter to say, that he so demeaned himself throughout the whole trial as to stop the mouths of those who might have felt the least inclination to complain.
      The Courtroom, large as it is, was crowded to a jam. When all was ready, an oppressive stillness ensued. In a firm but gentle voice, Judge Shorter asked the prisoner if she had anything to say why the sentence of death should not be pronounced. The wretched creature did not at first comprehend his meaning; but, when again notified that she would then be allowed to answer why the fatal sentence of the law should not be pronounced, she eagerly and tremblingly arose, and in quivering tones most positively asserted her innocence, at the same time raising her right hand above her head and calling God to witness the truth of the declaration. She then went on, at some length, to show in what respect the testimony adduced was true, and in what untrue.
      She Stated that she never had made any confession whatever, until they had taken her down, and poured hot embers on her back, and that she only did it then, to save her life, for she thought they would kill her; that she intended to run away, and when the crowd had dispersed, she would come back to her old Mistress again; that the witness Ofield, who had been sworn in her behalf, had sworn the truth; that she was not arrested until after dark on Sunday evening; that she waited on the sick people, even after dark; that she went to a place in the house, where bed clothes were kept, and got some after night had set in; that the witness Ofield, did come to the kitchen that night and arrest her, and then carried her out to the place where they tied her down and poured hot embers on her, and that Jason Frisel was sitting down at her head and when she was asked to confess and denied her guilt, he told her, "O Nance, you're so mean, you're all so mean! " She further stated that her fellow servant, Anica, had been very intimate with Camiska; that he had got her with child, and gave her 2 vials of medicine to destroy it, and succeeded in doing so, and that all these facts were known to the family; that Anica was arrested on Monday, about dinner time, and tied upstairs, and was not brought down till they were carried out to the place of torture; that she was tied to a tree in the yard, when brought back from there; that her old Mistress was much attached to her, and put all confidence in her, and so did Mrs. Dubose; that she never could have tho't of poisoning her old Mistress and Master that she loved so well, and her young mistress (Betsy J. Frisel,) that she had raised, and loved as well as her own child; that Camiska was in the habit of prowling around the house at night, and even going into it, and going all over it; that her Mistress had frequently asked her how the string of a window was cut at night; and that Carmiska was frequently seen, by the black people, in the house after night; that he had every chance to put the poison in the meal himself, and that she was told that Camiska had confessed to a white man then in jail, while in the Penitentiary, that he put the poison in the meal, himself. She further stated that on Saturday, before the poisoning, she was not at the well; that she was ironing all day, and did not go after water at all. Several times she stopped and asserted her innocence, during her recital. She also stated that she did not cook supper the night before, but got the meal from the dairy - where it was usually placed in the bread tray to be cooked the next morning - and that her old Master had thrown her the dairy key, from which place she got the meal, and was not upstairs where the meal was at all.
      After the slave had concluded her somewhat incoherent, and again somewhat eloquent oration, Judge Shorter, amid the most profound silence and solemn awe said, "Nancy, I have now to inform you, that it is my painful duty to pronounce upon you the terrible judgment of the law".
      He assured her that, notwithstanding her protestations of innocence, she had received a most fair and impartial trial by an intelligent and disinterested jury, and that their verdict of guilty, had been deliberately formed, and that the whole country were, like the jury, thoroughly persuaded of her guilty participation in a most diabolical murder. There was nothing now, which she, or anyone else, could do or say, which could reverse the verdict, or stay the sentence which awaited her. They now looked upon each other for the last time, and when she retired from the courtroom it would be to the silent precincts of the prison, where she could spend the few remaining days allowed her on earth. The awful punishment, which awaited her, was necessary for the protection of the living, and to vindicate the violated majesty of the law. Then the Judge, addressing the listening crowd, remarked that the foul tragedy, which, had been investigated upon this trial, had shocked the whole country at the time of its occurrence; and that the cool deliberation, and abiding confidence in the law, which were exhibited by the people of Pike County, were most commendable, and, afforded the highest evidence of their patriotism, and the results of judicial investigations, now concluded, have demonstrated to them that their confidence in the administration of law, had not been misplaced. The solemn scene before them was an eloquent vindication of law and order, and would strengthen their confidence in the protecting powers of the Courthouse and the Jury.
      Then, resuming his remarks to the prisoner, the Judge said, it was his solemn duty, to apprise her that from the prison walls she could depart no more until she should be taken to the gallows for execution. No ray of hope could now fall upon her, and he urged her to devote her few remaining days on earth to preparation for her departure to another world. She now stood in an earthly court, but soon she would stand before the great God of the Universe and at his tribunal she would receive her doom for weal or for woe, which shall stand irreversible and eternal.
      And now, he continued, it only remains for the Court to pronounce upon you the sentence of the law - which is that the prisoner Nancy, be hence removed to the Jail of Pike County, and there confined until Friday the 15th day of this present month and that on Friday the l5th day of this present month, between the hours of 10, in the forenoon, and 4, in the afternoon, the said prisoner, Nancy, be hanged by the neck until she is dead - and that the Sheriff of Pike Co., or his Deputy, or the officer acting in his place, be charged with the execution of this sentence and, Nancy, may God have mercy on your soul.
      Thus the solemn Courthouse scene concluded, and the unfortunate slave is under the advice of suitable persons, endeavoring to make the all important preparation to meet death, and appear at the judgment bar of God and there to stand the final test, and hear her last sentence. May she at all events be prepared to meet that stern Judge of all mankind in peace.
    Family ID F3761  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family William O'Neill,   b. Jul 12, 1817, Georgia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Oct 02, 1896  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 1840  Pike county, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 1860 Pike (now Bullock) census; p. 79, #522
      William O'NEAL  42 GA
      Mary          41 GA
      John R.        19 AL
      Thos. B.      17  "
      Wm. E.        15  "
      Tempy          15  "
      Mary E.        12  "
      Rob't W.      09  "
      Jas. J.            08  "
      Edward J.    05  "
      Sarah R.      03  "
      James BIRD  30  SC
      Temperance FRIZEL  72 SC
     1. John Robertson O'Neill,   b. Feb 16, 1841, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Y
    +2. Thomas Benjamin O'Neill,   b. Sep 13, 1842, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Mar 08, 1870, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 27 years)
     3. Temperance Jane O'Neill,   b. Sep 22, 1844, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Y
     4. William Ellis O'Neill,   b. Sep 22, 1844, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Y
     5. Mary Elizabeth O'Neill,   b. Aug 24, 1846, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Apr 03, 1861, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 14 years)
     6. Robert Wilson O'Neill,   b. Nov 08, 1849, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Jan 17, 1869  (Age 19 years)
    +7. James Jackson O'Neill,   b. Jan 26, 1852, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Y
     8. Edmund I. O'Neill,   b. Apr 11, 1854, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dec 03, 1868  (Age 14 years)
     9. Sarah Rebecca O'Neill,   b. Jun 14, 1854, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Jun 03, 1900  (Age 45 years)
     10. Washington Lee O'Neill,   b. Aug 27, 1860, Akron, Summit county, Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Jun 03, 1900  (Age 39 years)
    +11. Margaret Victory O'Neill,   b. Jan 13, 1865, Shopton, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Oct 03, 1893, Pine Level, Montgomery county, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 28 years)
    Family ID F5441  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S215] Cynthia Kirkland grafxcat - at -, email of FEB 1 2000.