Tuesday, February 07, 2023

February 7, 1929: Death in the Home of a Midwife

Serene Mary Baker, age 17, of Venice, Illinois, died at the home of 80 (87?)-year-old Mary Adamson, 4501 West Main St., Belleville, IL.

Adamson was described in the February 9, 1929 Decatur Evening Herald as an "alleged midwife." The December 11, 1930 Belleville Daily News-Democrat identifies her simply as a midwife.

Rolla Carmack, aged 20, of East St. Louis, told police that he was the baby's father and that he'd paid Adamson $25 to perform an abortion.

Rolla's older brother, Edward (Irving?) Carmack, told Police Chief Charles W. Arbogast that he and his younger brother accompanied Serene to the Adamson home for the abortion on February 2.

Adamson denied having performed the abortion and refused to say anything more.

Adamson was indicted by the Grand Jury in April of 1929 and the trial was set for May 2, but both parties agreed on a postponement. Then Mrs. Adamson's attorney approached the judge asking for her to be released on bond so that she could be hospitalized for "senility." She was released on a $52,000 bond and was instructed to return to jail as soon as she regained her health. She remained free on bail 

Rolla wasn't charged with a crime, likely in exchange for turning state's evidence against Adamson. However, once the defense was ready to proceed -- not until December of 1930 -- he was nowhere to be found and the trial was delayed by the prosecution. He had moved from East St. Louis to Detroit then vanished from the prosecution's radar.


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