Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Dumped Body 1905, Midwife's Fatal Work 1923

Early 20th-century photo of a young woman with dark hair
On January 6, 1905, a young woman was found dead in a ditch near Dunning, Illinois. The hunters who had stumbled across the body quickly notified the police. The dead woman was taken to an undertaking establishment, where it remained until nearly a month later, when she was identified by her siblings as 28-year-old Ida Vierow, who had been employed as a domestic servant in the home of former County Commissioner O. D. Allen. She had been missing since leaving the Allen home on January 1, telling the Allens that she was going to visit her parents in St. Louis, though her parents actually lived on a farm near Proviso. It was determined that she had died January 6, 1905, from an abortion performed in Chicago. Two midwives, Amella Maichrowicz and Anna Becker, were arrested, along with Maichrowicz's husband, Joseph. The Maichrowiczs, who ran an unlicensed hospital in Melrose Park, were arrested near the end of February.

On December 30, 1923, 26-year-old Helen Koss underwent an illegal abortion somewhere in Chicago. On January 6, 1924, she died at Norwegian American Hospital of complications. Midwife Mrs. Emma Morch was arrested, and indicted for homicide by a grand jury. Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.

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