SUMMARY: Anna Scott, age 28, died on September 7, 1922 after an abortion perpetrated in or around Plentywood, Montana. Dr. J. J. Hunter was arrested but I have no evidence of the case being pursued.
The community of Plentywood, Montana, was saddened in September of 1922 by the death of the woman they all knew as Mrs. Numie Scott.
Anna Stierle had married Numie Scott on July 19, 1914. The couple had four children, one of whom, Anna Margaret, had died of croup at the age of only two. Numie worked at the offices of the local newspaper, the Producers News.
Anna, age 28, had been in ill health for about two weeks. When she took a sudden turn for the worse, she was rushed to the hospital. She died there at 1:00 a.m. on September 7, leaving Numie to raise their three surviving children, ranging in age from four years old down to a little over one year.
The little community mourned and lay their beloved Anna to rest at Plentywood Cemetery.
Then the coroner went to work. He empaneled a jury to examine the circumstances of the young mother’ death.
Perhaps in deference to Numie’s position at the paper, The Producers News makes very vague statements about testimony given before the coroner’s jury.
Dr. Cato Sells “gave detailed information of his being called on the case by Mr. Scott and of his finding the lady in a prevarious (sic) conditions and the attitude that Dr. [J. J.] Hunter took in the matter.” Dr. Storkham “verified the evidence given by Dr. Sells.”
“Nurse Braden was then called and she also testified as to the deceased’s conditions as she was familiar with them and as to statements with (sic) Mrs. Scott made before her death.”
County Attorney Erickson “had a signed and sworn statement made by Mrs. Scott before she died in which she made a complete confession of the facts causing her sickness and death and it is claimed that she involved Dr. Hunter in her confession.”
Dr. Sells and Dr. Storkham expressed anger that Judge Belanski has set Dr. Hunter’s bail at a mere $1,000.
Hunter, of nearby Antelope, was “well-known, highly respected and venerable,” and evidently had supporters in the community, since clothing merchant Fred Grawe and Plentywood Pharmacy owner E. E. Miller paid his bail for him.
Word began to circulate that both Sells and Hunter plied the abortion trade and that Sells had implicated Hunter, the more reputable of the two, because he saw him as a business rival.
I have been unable to find any other information about Anna’s death or who, if anybody, perpetrated the fatal abortion.
- “Aged Antelope Doctor Arrested on Criminal Abortion Charge After Coroner’s Inquest,” The Producers News (Plentywood, MT), Sept. 15, 1922
- “Mrs. Numie Scott Passes Away,” The Producers News (Plentywood, MT), SEp. 8, 1922
- “Two Marriages,” Great Falls Tribune, Jul. 29, 1915