Episode 247:

Champions In Our Own Ways

The Survival of Mary Vincent


The Case of Typhoid Mary


Episode 247: Champions In Our Own Ways

In this week’s quilt episode, Karen and Georgia cover the survival of Mary Vincent and the case of Typhoid Mary.

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The Survival of Mary Vincent

The Survival of Mary Vincent Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

Mary Vincent Artwork by...



"On September 29, 1978, Singleton picked up 15-year-old Mary Vincent of Las Vegas while she was hitchhiking in Berkeley, California. He knocked her unconscious with a sledgehammer, spent the whole night raping her, and tortured her by severing both her forearms with a hatchet. Singleton figured she was dead or near death, and he threw her off of a 30-foot cliff on Interstate 5 near Del Puerto Canyon, California, leaving her naked and bleeding out. She mitigated the bleeding from her forearms by shoving them into mud, and the mud suppressed her bleeding while she managed to pull herself back up the cliff. She walked for three miles, naked, covered in blood, and armless, before finding and alerting a passing couple, who took her to a hospital. By the time of Singleton's arrest, Vincent wore prosthetic arms.

Six months after the assault, Vincent faced Singleton at his trial, where her testimony helped to convict him. Singleton was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law in California at that time. The presiding judge remarked: "If I had the power, I would send him to prison for the rest of his natural life."

While Vincent won a $2.56 million civil judgment against Singleton, she was unable to collect it when Singleton revealed that he was unemployed, in poor health, and had only $200 in savings.

Along with the particularly gruesome and callous aspects of the crime, the case became even more notorious after Singleton was paroled after serving only eight years in prison. He was able to reduce his time through good behavior and working as a teaching assistant in a prison classroom. Singleton was paroled to Contra Costa County, California, but no town would accept his presence, so he had to live in a trailer on the grounds of San Quentin until his parole ended a year later.

According to Time, "as authorities attempted to settle him in one Bay Area town after another, angry crowds and Tampa's chapter of Guardian Angels led protests, screamed, picketed and eventually prevailed." In Rodeo, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, a crowd of approximately 500 local protestors were up in arms and forced officers to move him under armed guard from a hotel room. Authorities tried housing him across the street from Concord's City Hall, but that was met with protests and failed too. He was removed from one apartment in Contra Costa County in a bullet-proof vest after 400 residents surrounded the building to protest a decision to place him there permanently. Governor George Deukmejian ordered that Singleton be placed in a trailer on the grounds of San Quentin for the duration of his one-year parole.

The outrage at this sentence resulted in legislation, supported by Mary Vincent, which prevents the early release of offenders who have committed a crime in which torture is used: in 1987 Singleton's parole led to passage of California's "Singleton bill", which carries a 25-years-to-life sentence. (Harrower, 1998). The leniency of the legal system shocked and outraged many. One journalist who interviewed him remarked, "What was most surprising to me, however, was not his sentence. It was that Larry Singleton had worked his crimes around in his mind so completely that they did not warrant punishment at all." Right before Singleton's parole ended, Donald Stahl, the Stanislaus County prosecutor at Singleton's trial, said, "I think, if anything, he's worse now. He has not taken responsibility. He lives in a bizarre fantasy land and acquits himself each day. He doesn't accept his guilt and won't resolve never to do it again.”...

— Source: Lawrence Singleton Wikipedia

The Case of Typhoid Mary

The Case of Typhoid Mary Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Jim DiGritz on Unsplash

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"Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was an Irish-born cook believed to have infected 53 people with typhoid fever, three of whom died, and the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. Because she persisted in working as a cook, by which she exposed others to the disease, she was twice forcibly quarantined by authorities, and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.

In late 1906, Mallon was hired by Walter Bowen, whose family lived on Park Avenue. Their maid got sick on January 23, 1907, and soon Charles Warren’s only daughter got typhoid and died. This case helped to identify Mallon as the source of the infections. George Soper, an investigator hired by Warren after the outbreak in Oyster Bay, had been trying to determine the cause of typhoid outbreaks in well-to-do families, when it was known that the disease typically struck in unsanitary environments. He discovered that a female Irish cook, who fitted the physical description he had been given, was involved in all of the outbreaks. He was unable to locate her because she generally left after an outbreak began, without giving a forwarding address. Soper then learned of an active outbreak in a penthouse on Park Avenue and discovered Mallon was the cook. Two of the household's servants were hospitalized, and the daughter of the family died of typhoid.

Soper first met Mallon in the kitchen of the Bowens and accused her of spreading the disease. Though Soper himself recollected his behavior as "as diplomatic as possible", he infuriated Mallon and she threatened him with a carving fork. When Mallon refused to give samples, Soper decided to compile a five-year history of her employment. He found that of the eight families that had hired Mallon as a cook, members of seven claimed to have contracted typhoid fever. Then Soper found out where Mallon's boyfriend lived and arranged a new meeting there. He took Dr. Raymond Hoobler in an attempt to convince Mary to give them samples of urine and stool for analysis. Mallon again refused to cooperate, believing that typhoid was everywhere and that the outbreaks had happened because of contaminated food and water. At that time, the concept of healthy carriers was unknown even to healthcare workers.

Soper published his findings on June 15, 1907, in the Journal of the American Medical Association..."

— Source: Mary Mallon Wikipedia

Rec Room

This week's recommendations are...

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace

Mrs. D Is Going Without by Lotta Dann

Queen’s Gambit, tv show

Martin Chuzzlewit, tv show


Exactly Right Corner:

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