The world has probably all but not heard of Stanford University, but, if you’re like us you probably had never really heard of Jane Stanford. In 1885, along with her husband Leland Stanford, the couple founded what would become of the legendary University. The original idea was that Jane and LeLand would found the school for their only child, LeLand Stanford Jr, who at the age of 15 died in 1884.
Now this is where the story of Jane Stanford gets a whole lot more interesting. Stanford died after an alleged poisoning in 1905, purportedly, by Bertha Berner her long time assistant at the time. Berner had apparently brought her a “spiked” soda for an upset stomach, within hours, the collegiate co-founder was dead.
Berner, for some reason, was never charged. Berner received the equilivant of about $400,000 in today’s money in Standfords will. What’s interesting? Before Standford had left for Hawaii (on what would be her final trip) she had encountered an interesting situation involving Berner (as she also did in Hawaii). Both instances saw Stanford be exposed to strychnine, which had been laced in a drink in the previous instance before she tasted something funny and spit it out. Berner was the only one present during the first situation.