Julia Gibson

Dorothy Spuhr Death Table of ContentsDorothy Spuhr DeathBessie Braun DeathSuicide AttemptIn mid-November, 1905, 18-year-old Dorothy Spuhr died in County Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed a few days earlier. A woman named Julia Gibson, aka Timmons, was arrested and held by the coroner’s jury. Gibson’s profession was given as “Abortion Provider”, though she is listed in Chicago directories as a midwife.

Bessie Braun Death Mrs. Bessie Braun, a 22-year-old homemaker, mother of two, and immigrant from Austria, died in early April of 1906, at Michael Reese Hospital. Chicago from septic complications of an abortion performed in March.

Before her death, Bessie named midwife Julia Gibson as the person who had perpetrated the abortion, both verbally and in a signed statement. She said she’d paid $5 for the abortion.

Bessie’s husband, Abraham, testified at the inquest. He said that he had not known anything about an abortion until she became seriously ill on Sunday, though she remained at home until Thursday, when she finally was hospitalized.

He also said that prior to her death, Bessie told him that she had written the guilty midwife’s name and address on a piece of paper which was in the bed at their home. Abraham found the paper and turned it over to authorities during the inquest.

Suicide Attempt GibsonSuicideAttempt.pngGibson, who had been at Bessie’s bedside during the declaration, was being escorted out of the hospital by police when she asked to go to the women’s dressing room in the hospital basement. She was permitted to go in while a police officer stood guard outside the door.

He soon heard a shot, then forced the door and found Gibson lying on the floor suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. She was admitted to the hospital for treatment and was kept both under arrest and under suicide watch. As she lay near death, Gibson confessed her guilt. I have only been able to find conflicting reports on whether she was expected to survive and no confirmation of either her death or her recovery.