Wednesday, January 25, 2023

January 25, 1891: A Judge's Misjudgment Unleashes Death

On January 23, 1891, saloon keeper Joseph Hoffman summoned Dr. Dietrich to Shaeffer's Hotel in Chicago to tend to an ailing woman, 23-year-old Minnie DeeringDietrich prescribed an oral medication and an alcohol and carbolic acid solution to be externally applied. The following day, Hoffman summoned Dr. Detrich and reported that he'd mixed up the medications and given Minnie the carbolic acid orally by mistake. Detrich and another doctor pumped Minnie's stomach and administered counter measures but to no avail. She died on January 25.

News clipping headshot of a grim-looking white woman, just past middle age, wearing wire rim glasses and a dark-colored sailor-style hat and collar
Lucy Hagenow
Even though this meant implicating himself in a crime, Hoffman told the doctors that he and Minnie had secretly married and had secretly come to the city to procure the services of an abortion doctor he referred to as "Mrs. Hageman." "Mrs. Hageman" was actually Dr. Lucy Hagenow.

The coroner's jury concluded that ultimately Minnie had died because of the abortion since it had started the chain of events that led to her death. However, they did not conclusively determine that Hagenow herself had perpetrated it. They ordered her held to a grand jury pending further investigation and Hagenow was arrested.

Hagenow, a prolific abortionist who had fled prosecution after the deaths of abortion patients in San Francisco, evidently had found a welcoming new home in Chicago. Her attorney, John C. King, requested a writ to get Hagenow released. Judge Tuthill "readily granted it, saying that the verdict was an admission and an exhibition of ignorance, and that Mrs. Hagenow should not have spent an hour in jail."

Hagenow had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie DorrisAbbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, then relocated to Chicago. 

Tuthill thus released Hagenow to ply her trade in Chicago. 
There she was connected to over a dozen abortion deaths, including  Sophia Kuhn, Emily Anderson, Hannah Carlson, Marie HechtMay Putnam, Lola Madison, Annie Horvatich, Nina H. Pierce, Elizabeth WelterBridget MastersonLottie Lowy, Jean Cohenand Mary Moorehead.

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