Blast from the past

January 09, 2008

Week of Jan. 6, 1958

The birth rate around here continues to top five per day, on the average.

The State Department of Health reported that 153 births occurred during the 30 days of November in Washington County. This is equivalent to an annual birth total of about 1,850 babies, close to the highest totals reached during the years immediately following World War II.

All but two of the babies born here during November came into the world in a hospital, the report shows.

Week of Jan. 6, 1983

A 60-year-old Hagerstown businesswoman was sentenced to 25 years in jail yesterday for trying to hire someone to kill another woman.

Martha Wingert Bristow was taken immediately to the Washington County Detention Center to await transfer to the Women's House of Corrections in Jessup, Md.


Washington County Circuit Court Judge Corderman rejected pleas from Mrs. Bristow's attorneys that she be treated leniently.

The attorneys said she was an alcoholic and had little control over what she was doing in May when she paid an undercover state police officer $1,000 on a $5,000 contract to murder Virginia Kindsvatter, 62, of Hagerstown.

Corderman said he sympathized with Mrs. Bristow's bout with alcoholism, but said "no one who contemplates murder" thinks clearly. "The enormity of this act cannot, nor should not, be diminished," the judge said.

Corderman said he would reduce the sentence to 15 years in jail if Mrs. Bristow pays a $100,000 fine. However, he said the entire 25-year term would stand if Mrs. Bristow appeals the sentence.

- Compiled by Josh Hughes

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