March 21, 1893: Lovers' Quarrel Turns to Attempted Murder


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

March 21, 1893: A sensational drama played out in Allentown when a lover’s spat developed between two former residents of the Boyertown area. Henry Haring and Annie Coffle were “great friends” who had left their spouses and moved to Allentown in close proximity to each other, where they continued their relationship.

Unfortunately for this illicit love affair, Mrs. Coffle had grown tired of Haring’s affections and began to avoid him. He became desperate as he wanted to marry her, even though neither one was divorced. When he visited her in her boarding house and she was very cold to him, it aroused the demon in him and he whipped out his revolver, pointed it at her and fired.

An explosion followed but the bullet struck a steel rib in her corset and was deflected without doing any harm. The frightened woman began to run and he fired again. This time the bullet buried itself in the fleshy part of her right thumb. She kept running and the madman fired twice more, both times the bullets bounced off her corset.

He then made two attempts to kill himself. The first cartridge failed to explode and the second entered his chest. Although the wound bled profusely, he was not greatly harmed and he ran away, vaulting over fences and running breathlessly to the home of his cousin, where pursuers caught him and took him to a physician, who looked after his wound.

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