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Trail Dust: Arsenic and old ways: Thoughts on poisons

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MARC SIMMONS

Trail Dust

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 5:17 pm | Updated: 12:21 am, Sat Feb 15, 2014.

I received a letter of inquiry from a gentleman in Chicago who was writing a historical novel set in colonial New Mexico. At one point in his story, he intended to have the villain poison a flock of sheep. But he was at a loss as to what poisons were available in those days and how they would have been administered to a batch of sheep out on the range. Could I come up with any suggestions?

I had no ready answer to his question, and the problem set me to wondering. Among the hundreds of Spanish documents I’ve read over the years, I couldn’t recall a single one that referred to the use of poison. Surely someone must have poisoned their mother-in-law or their neighbor’s dog and been hauled into court. But no record of any such case seems to remain.

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1 comment:

  • Lindsay Robinson posted at 9:02 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Lindsay Posts: 6

    I thought I'd seen lots of datura around but I'm no expert. There are a lot of white trumpet flower plants growing in the medians along Cerrillos. Aren't those datura?

     

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