Annie Merriman

SUMMARY: Annie Merriman, age 23, died on November 6, 1919 after an abortion in the Dennison, Ohio office of Dr. L. H. Hughes.

Dr. C. L. Tinker testified that a man had come to his office on November 2, 1919, asking him to come quickly to the bedside of 23-year-old Mrs. Anna “Annie” Merriman at her home in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Dr. Tinker found Annie deathly ill, with her heart racing at a staggering pulse rate of 190. Annie told him that she was ailing because of an abortion that had been performed by Dr. L. H. Hughes at his practice in Dennison, Ohio.

Dr. Tinker told Annie that her only hope of survival was to be hospitalized, and she consented. She was admitted to Union Hospital in Tuscarawas County. The next day she told a hospital employee that she’d gotten pregnant by a friend, rather than by her husband, Roy, from whom she had been separated for about two years. She had only been 16 years old when they had married.

Annie also told this woman, in front of two other witnesses, about the abortion, saying that he had been performed on October 25.

Annie’s condition never improved, and she died at 7 p.m. on November 6. She left behind three children.

Two physicians who performed a post-mortem examination concluded that Annie had died of general septic peritonitis from the abortion.

Hughes was arrested in her death.


  • “Doctor’s Trial is Postponed; Seek Witness,” Dennison (OH) Daily Times, February 28, 1920
  • “$2000 Bond is Required of Physician,” Dennison (OH) Daily Times, December 10, 1919
  • “Dennison Doctor Goes on Trial on a Serious Charge,” Coshockton (OH) Tribune, November 16, 1920
  • “Doctor Held in Death of Local Woman,” Dennison (OH) Daily Times, December 9, 1919
  • “Woman Dies at Union Hospital Thursday Night,” New Philadelphia (OH) Daily Times, November 7, 1919
  • death certificate