I have very scant information for two of the abortion deaths that took place on this date. On November 22, 1913, 33-year-old Hulda Tubbin died in Chicago, at the scene of an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. Olaf Olson. Though Olson was indicted for felony murder, the case never went to trial. Four years after Hulda's death, 20-year-old Helen Devora died at Chicago's West End Hospital from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.
The third death had taken place much earlier, and half a continent away.
On November 23, 1897, a funeral procession in Irvington, California, was
stopped just as about the body was being loaded onto a ferry.
The deceased was 24-year-old Ida Coakley, a homemaker who had only been married to John Coakley, a farmer, for two months.
John reported at the time that he'd taken her to the office of Dr. Samuel Hall
the previous day to be treated for a heart problem. He had left the
doctor's office and returned that evening only to find his wife dead. Her body was promptly taken to a funeral establishment.
A night watchman at a nearby bank had found the timing of the departure
from the funeral establishment fishy and had contacted the police, hence
the interruption of the funeral. Ida's body was taken for an autopsy,
and a coroner's jury convened.
They concluded "That Mrs. Ida Coakley, aged 24 years, nativity
California, occupation housewife, residence Irvington, Alameda county,
came to her death November 22, 1897, at 14 McAllister street, from
septicaemia, following an attempt at abortion; and we further find that
deceased came to her death from the effects of a criminal operation
performed by Dr. Samuel H. Hall, and we further find that John Coakley
was an accessory to the same crime."
The verdict was signed by the majority, though a minority asserted that
they did not believe sufficient evidence had been presented to indicate
that Hall was the guilty party. The coroner's testimony had left no
doubt that Ida's death had been from an abortion.
John Coakley admitted that he had taken Ida to hall and asked if an
abortion would be safe for her. When Hall had assured him that it would
be safe, John paid $50 and Hall promptly took Ida into a procedure room.
A few minutes later, Hall returned, told John that Ida had been fine,
and sent her home.
Dr. Hall's daughter, Josephine Wells, testified that Ida had come to the
McAllister Street house at about noon on the Saturday before her death.
Hall had asked to use Josephine's room for a couple of days to care for
Ida, who Hall told Josephine suffered heart disease. Ida was sitting in
a chair by the fire the following Monday, where she died at about 6
o'clock in the evening.
The charges against John Coakley were dropped during the first trial in order to loosen his tongue against Hall.
John Coakley proved useless during the trial, however. He broke down on
the stand but the prosecution was unable to get him to say anything
significant. The trial resulted in a hung jury, voting seven to five for
A second trial against Hall ended in acquittal after Coakley fled the state, leaving the prosecution minus the prime witness.