Amy Archer-Gilligan House, ca. 1880

In 1907, Amy Archer and her then-husband James Archer moved to Windsor from Newington, CT and purchased the home at 37 Prospect Street, known as the Carleton Homestead. They opened a "Home for the Elderly" and began taking boarders. James Archer died from kidney disease in 1910, and Amy Archer married Michael Gilligan in 1913. Scandal rocked Windsor in 1917 when Amy Archer-Gilligan was charged with murdering boarder Franklin R. Andrews. A number of Gilligan?s boarders had died suspiciously in recent years, and the police believed she was killing them to make room for new customers. Windsor resident and newspaperman Carlan Goslee provided additional investigative resources. Arsenic was found in Andrews? body, and records revealed that Gilligan had purchased arsenic at local stores. A jury found Gilligan guilty of the Andrews murder, and public opinion held that she killed twenty-two other boarders. During a retrial, Amy pled guilty to second degree murder to avoid the death penalty. She spent the rest of her life in state facilities. The play and movie Arsenic and Old Lace is based on her story. In 2011, M. William Phelps wrote a book on the topic, Devil's Rooming House: The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer. Copyright 2015 Windsor Historical Society.


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