Wednesday, November 16, 2022

November 16, A Dentist in 1882 and a Midwife in 1905

 1882: A Philadelphia Dentist

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Holstein, age 23, originally worked as a house servant in Wilmington, Delaware before moving to Philadelphia. In June of 1882, she and her beau, Willard Kauffman, traveled to her family's home in Milton, Delaware, to ask for her parents' permission to marry. She returned to Philadelphia, where she continued a job as a family servant until October 30, when she moved in with her aunt, Mrs. Maggie Rust, on Moyamensing Avenue.

Lizzie returned briefly to her employer's home on November 7 to retrieve some of her clothing. At the time she was suffering with a fever and chills. She corresponded with her parents about her illness, and they traveled to Philadelphia to be with her. Lizzie's condition seemed to be improving over Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday, but Lizzie relapsed. Her condition steadily deteriorated over Monday. On Tuesday evening she spoke to her aunt and confessed that she was ailing from the effects of an abortion Kaufman had paid for. It had been perpetrated on October 7 by the dentist who had made her false teeth. 

Mrs. Rusk asked Elizabeth to be more specific, and she replied, "George Buchanan, at Fifth and Pine Streets." Lizzie also made a deathbed statement to Dr. Samuel D. Marshall, who attended to her in her final sickness, identifying "Dr. Buchanon" as her abortionist Dr. Marshall thought that Lizzie was referring to John Buchanan, an evidently well-known local criminal who had been convicted of some crime having to do with issuing bogus diplomas. John Buchanon was George Buchanan's father.

In spite of all that Dr. Marshall could do, Lizzie died on November 16 from cumulative blood loss. Lizzie's parents knew nothing about the pregnancy or the abortion until after her death. Dr. Marshall notified the coroner's office. An investigation eventually led to the arrest and conviction of George Buchanan, who was quickly granted a new trial. I have been unable to determine if the trial actually took place and, if so, what the outcome was.

1905: A Chicago Midwife

On November 16, 1905, 18-year-old clerk Dorothy Spuhr died in County Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed on November 13.  Midwife Julia Gibson, aka Timmons, was arrested and held by the coroner's jury. Gibson went on to perpetrate a fatal abortion on Bessie Braun the following year.

Watch the YouTube video.

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