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Estelle Silva “Estella” Risley

  • Birth Oct 1860 Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 10 Oct 1882 Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA
  • Burial Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA
  • Plot Block 11, Lot 123
  • Memorial ID 82171862

Estelle was the daughter of Abdiel Tracy Risley and Elvira Hall Risley; one of 9 or 10 children, a few of them possible half siblings.

Her father was a city surveyor and a local politician. His signature was found in the title search records obtained by his great-granddaughter, Rita Risley Weatherford, when the property she and her husband owned was paid off circa 1980!

Information sent by D. Kemp, Quarterly Editor for the Decatur Genealogical Society, submits that Estelle's obituary was published in The Daily Republican, Saturday Evening, October 14, 1882, Page 3. Ms. Kemp came across more than 35 trial records for the People Vs. James D. Wheeler trial in which he was tried for Estelle's murder. He was found not guilty.


"Decatur Daily Republican 10/14/1882.

Our readers will remember that on Tuesday evening last Miss Estella Risley, aged 22 years, died rather suddenly at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Risley, on E. William street. The deceased had been ill for a period of about two weeks and was attended by Dr. Jas. D. Wheeler, the eclectic physician and surgeon, whose office is over Smith's drug store on Water street, and was thought to be in an improved condition on Monday, but on Tuesday she became suddenly worse and died that evening. She was a dark eyed, dark haired young woman of slight build and had lived in Decatur all her life.

At the suggestion of the family, on Wednesday afternoon a postmortem examination was held to ascertain the real cause of the death, which was given out by the attending physician as congestion of the lungs and bowels. The examination was made by Dr. R. L. Walston and Dr. S. J. Bumstead in the presence of Dr.Wheeler, the parents and relatives of the girl.

The physicians discovered evidence that an abortion had been committed, that the fetus had been removed and that the womb had been punctured.

The funeral took place from the family residence on Thursday afternoon.
The remains were interred in Greenwood cemetery."

Obituary furnished by Janet Donner (Find-A-Grave member #46623112).

Family Members





  • Created by: Karat57
  • Added: 19 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 82171862
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Estelle Silva “Estella” Risley (Oct 1860–10 Oct 1882), Find A Grave Memorial no. 82171862, citing Greenwood Cemetery, Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Karat57 (contributor 46867069) .