Thursday, September 15, 2016

Deaths in the First Quarter of the 20th Century

A New York Midwife, 1902

Old newspaper sketch of a middle-aged turn-of-the-century woman wearing a hat with a large bow and feather on the front
Lena Schott
On September 15, 1902, Mrs. Henrietta Appel, age 31, died in New York from an abortion perpetrated by midwife Lena Schott (pictured). The police had been notified about the abortion by Henrietta's husband, Samuel, while she was on her deathbed. Henrietta admitted the abortion to the authorities and indicated that her husband had not known about it.

When police went to arrest Schott, they had to break into the home, and found Schott in the basement. She attacked the arresting officer, Captain Elbert O. Smith, nearly tearing off his uniform and pinning him on the floor until other officers could restrain her. After her arrest, Schott admitted that she had treated Henrietta.

An Unknown Chicago Abortionist, 1925

On September 15, 1925, Mary Williams, a 25-year-old Black woman born in Mississippi, died at Chicago's County Hospital from an abortion performed on her that day at an undisclosed location. The person responsible for Mary's death was never identified, so it's impossible to know if she availed herself lf one of the plethora of doctors and midwives practicing abortion in Chicago.

A Chicago Midwife, 1926

On September 15, 1926, 23-year-old Mary Bailek, a native of Poland, died at Chicago's Lutheran Deaconnes Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed at her home that day. Rozalia Ossowska, alias Olszewski, was arrested for the death on October 7. Her profession is not given but according to the 1930 Census she was a midwife. She was born around 1888 in Germany and immigrated to the US in 1906. On March 15, 1927, she was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury.

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