Wilton woman shot before wedding day 114 years ago today

On Oct. 13, 1902, Wilton resident Mabel Fitch Sturges was struck by a .32-caliber bullet while putting the finishing touches on a cake she was making for her wedding the next day.

The bullet entered through the side of the Sturges home at 436 Hurlbutt Street, passed through two interior walls and struck Sturges in her right arm. The bullet missed her elbow joint by a sixteenth of an inch and exited just below her shoulder.

The 24-year-old screamed and was driven to the office of Wilton’s health officer, Dr. A. B. Gorham, who dressed the wound.

Although she suffered from severe shock, Sturges went through with the wedding at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church the following night.

According to a 1902 Utica Herald Dispatch article, Sturges went to the altar “with her arm in bandages, covering her wound.” She married 33-year-old Weston resident Oscar Budd.

The shooting was traced back to a young farmhand named Walter Sterling, who had accidentally touched the trigger while examining a gun outside the Sturges home.