This week, Drewby and Yergy discuss the little known case of Mary Cowan, who arguably is Maine’s first serial killer. We also touch base on her connections to Lewiston.
Mary A. Cowan, known as The Borgia of Maine, was an American serial killer who poisoned two husbands (Willis W. Bean, and George H. Taylor), and four children between 1884 and 1894 (Gracie, Alice and Mabel Bean – as well as stepson Willis Cowan), and attempted to murder a third husband (Elias Cowan). Convicted of killing her step-son in September 1894, Cowan was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent off to the Maine State Prison, then in Thomaston, for the following two years.
In 1898, her examining physician turned to then-governor Llewellyn Powers with the request of pardoning Mary, as she was in failing health and wished to die peacefully in her Dixmont home. Despite her ailment, Mary gave birth to a child while in prison (an unnamed baby girl – referred to as Mary’s final victim), but it, along with herself, died soon after.
Cowan, by then dubbed ‘The Borgia of Maine’ by the press, was first interned at Etna, where her parents lived, but her body was then moved to the Sawyer Cemetery in her birthplace of Plymouth, where she was buried on the family plot with her murder victims.
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Burial Plots of Mary and her Victims: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/82040802/mary-bean-cowan
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