Monday, December 26, 2016

A 1915 Abortion Death I Just Learned About

I stumbled across information about the following abortion death while looking for additional information on the death of Rose Kulamer.

In August of 1915, Dr. J. A. Williams of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania was summoned to the Pittsburgh home of 41-year-old midwife Marie Treylt to provide care for a sick woman.

Upon assessing the woman, 27-year-old Margaret McCreary of Hickory, Pennsylvania, Williams admitted her to Ohio Valley Hospital. Margaret died there on August 21. Four nurses at the hospital told police that Williams had indeed admitted Margaret, telling them to give her medication if she was in pain but providing no other care. No other doctor treated Margaret, the nurses said.

News clipping of headshot of a youngish-looking white woman wearing a big, pale hat
Police sought out Treytl, and found her nearly smothering in a hiding place between two mattresses in the home of someone identified in news coverage only as A. Mentzer. Treytl told police that Margaret had some to her house on August 17, seeking shelter. The midwife insisted that she had not perpetrated an abortion, but that Margaret had taken ill and she had summoned Dr. Williams to care for her.

Treylt's 17-year-old daughter, Adeline,told police that she wasn't home when Margaret had come to the house. Police, however, believed that she had guilty knowledge. Witness Bessie Hays told police that Adeline had come to her house asking her to tell police that Margaret had been staying at the Hays home. Bessie ordered Adeline out of her house.

The Treylt family servant, 18-year-old Marie Mentzer,told police that Margaret had actually come to the house on August 14. I have been unable to determine if the servant was a relative of the A. Mentzer in whose home the elder Treylt had been found.

All four parties were brought before the coroner. The doctor and the two younger women were released on bail, but Mrs. Treylt, already awaiting a grand jury action in another abortion case, was held without bail.

Mrs. Treylt would go on to be implicated in the 1918 abortion death of Rose Kulamer

Sources:

  • "Three Women and Doctor Held for Death of Girl," Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 23, 1915
  • "Four Arrested As Result of Girl's Death," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 23, 1915
  • "Coroner Holds Four After Woman's Death," Pittsburgh Daily Post, Aug. 24, 1915
  • "Mrs. Treytl is in Jail," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 24, 1915

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