CIP School in the Phils.

Jane Toppan killed “DAVIS” Family in 1901

on August 9, 2014




Jane Toppan (1880-1901) was a 26-year old nurse from Boston, Massachusetts who gave lethal injections of morphine to 31 hospital patients, and was suspected of having killed an additional 70 patients over the course of a two-decade career. When apprehended, she said she wanted to kill more people than anyone who has ever lived before, but could only provide details to solve 31 crimes. Her history of suicide attempts helped her win an insanity plea, and she was eventually confined to a state mental hospital for 40 years until she died in custody.



They call nurses “Angels of Mercy” — and to all appearances, Jane Toppan fit the bill. Beside her obvious competence, she seemed to be sensitive, sympathetic woman who had worked for some of Boston’s best families.

Of course, none of her employers knew anything about our hero’s early years…

They did not know of her mother’s tragic death when Janie was just a wee lass — or of her father’s subsequent insanity, which impelled him to stitch his own eyelids together. They weren’t aware of Jane’s own suicide attempts, or the morbid obsessions she displayed during her nursing years at Cambridge, where her bizarre fascination with autopsies troubled even her supervisors.

It wasn’t until members of the Davis family began dropping like insects in 1901 that the terrible truth about Jane came out. Far from being an “Angel”, she was, indeed, one of America’s most twisted serial killers.

Mrs. Mattie Davis was the first to go, presumably of heart failure. She died while visiting her old friend, Jane Toppan. The elder Davis daughter, Annie Gordon, was so distraught she turned to Toppan for relief. Nurse Toppan obliged by giving her some injec- tions. Shortly thereafter, Annie followed her mom straight into the grave.

A few days later, the Davis patriarch, Captain Alden Davis, was felled — supposedly by a “massive stroke”. He, too, had been receiving medication from Toppan. That left just one surviving member of the family, a married daughter — Mary Gibbs. Several days after her father’s burial — after placing herself under the care of our Nurse Gibbs — Mary dropped dead, too…

With his wife’s entire family wiped out in less than six weeks, Mary Gibbs’ husband demanded an autopsy. Toppan did her best to prevent it, but the Mass. State Police, suspecting foul play, stepped in. The autopsy confirmed Mr. Gibbs’ dark fears; His wife had been massively posioned with morphine and atropine. By then, Toppan had fled Boston.

She was eventually nabbed in Amherst, NH, October, 1901, but not before she managed to kill her own foster sister. She finally confessed to poisoning not only the Davis clan, but eleven other victims as well. Later, she would tell her lawyer that the true total was thirty-one.Declared insane, she was confined to a state tardfarm, where she died peacefully in1938 at the ripe old age of eighty-four.


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