Thursday, March 07, 2019

The Many Victims of Dr. C. W. Milliken

As of the day before yesterday, this is pretty much all I'd known about Dr. C. W. Milliken:

"On the first of March, 1921, Dr. C.W. Milliken performed an abortion on Iva J. Triplett. Milliken was practicing in Akron, Ohio. Immediately after the abortion, Iva became severely ill. She continued under Milliken's care until she died of septicemia and peritonitis the following week, leaving a widower and children. The Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram described Milliken as a "prominent democratic politician."

In October of 1920, 19-year-old Frances Karies died at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital from a criminal abortion that had been performed in Akron, Ohio, by Dr. C. W. Milliken. The coroner recommended Milliken's arrest, but there is no record if any legal action was taken against him for Frances's death.

The Lima (Ohio) News notes that Milliken was also charged with performing a fatal abortion on Florence Cobb. He was held on $10,000 bail in each case, Iva's and Florence's.

Charles Waldstein Millikin, sixth son of Thomas and Tamar (Clark) Milliken, was born Apr. 17, 1856 in Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio. An allopath, Milliken was an 1880 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He was licensed in Ohio in 1896 after having served a residency at Harrisburg Hospital and Philadelphia Hospital in Pennsylvania. He practiced in Akron until his death from cerebral hemorrhage and chronic myocarditis on April 13, 1929. He and his wife, Katherine McEbright, who married October 9, 1894, never had any children."

As I often do when the anniversaries of women's deaths approach, I went to a newspaper archive to see if anything new had been uploaded about Iva Triplett, who died on March 6, 1921. I found an article from the Akron Beacon Journal dated March 15, 1921. As I opened it up to resize it and put the newspaper name and date on, I noticed a name I'd not associated with Milliken before: Marie M. Vogt. As I read through the article I found yet another dead woman: Maud Sporn.

This article had enough details for me to piece together a timeline:

c. September 23, 1920, abortion performed on Frances
October 2, 1920, abortion performed on Maud
October 12, Maud dies
October 23, 1920, Frances dies in Chicago

January 18, 1921, abortion performed on Florence

c. April 15, 1921, abortion performed on Louise Marie
March 1, 1921 abortion performed on Iva 
March 4, 1921, Louise Marie dies
March 6, 1921, Florence dies
March 9, 1921 Iva dies 

I'd known that Milliken had died a free man from other research I'd done. I'd wondered how he'd managed to stay free after killing three women in criminal abortions in such a short space of time. 

Today, when putting the finishing touches on my data collection, I did a search for Milliken himself, and found one article after the other lauding his political activism. I had to put Marie's name in before I found the article that, aside from listing her name as Louise Marie rather than Marie M, clarifies how Milliken got away with it all.

He plea bargained before a sympathetic judge.

Never underestimate the advantages of being politically connected.


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