SUMMARY: Lottie Hudson, age 20, died May 11, 1884 after an abortion perpetrated in Chicago by an unidentified perpetrator.
On May 11, 1884, a young woman who had given her name as Alice Brown died at the Chicago residence of Mrs. R. A. Hough. She was identified as 20-year-old Lottie Hudson of Austin, Illinois.
She had gone to Chicago to live with a man identified as C. O. Owen, “a printer who already had a wife and family.” He was boarding with Lottie’s mother, Mrs. Hudson, who had visited Lottie twice at Mrs. Hough’s home during her illness.
It was determined that Lottie had died from blood poisoning due to an abortion, believed to be perpetrated by a doctor whose name neither Lottie nor Mrs. Hough either could or would divulge.
On the day of the funeral, Mrs. Hough went to Mrs. Hudson’s house and “was decidedly uneasy during the forenoon.” At 11 a.m., Hough asked Mrs. Hudson to leave with her because the police would soon come to arrest them since they’d not called in a doctor to attend to Lottie as she was dying.
Lottie had sent two letters to her mother during her illness:
May 5, 1884
My Dear, Darling Mamma:
It is very hard for me to write, for I am very weak, but I know you would be glad if only to get a few words. I am getting along as well as I can. Won’t be able to sit up for a week. I don’t think I will write as often as I can. I will have to have some more money. Will write about that when I am stronger. Love to all, and May and Willie. Lovingly,
Chicago, May 8
My Darling Mamma:
Inclosed you fill find a letter for him [likely Owen]. I want you to send it to him immediately; you know his address. I am getting along very well now, though slowly. I sat up a short time yesterday. I can’t write any more. I am all tired out now. Mamma, you write to me as ‘Auntie.’ I will be so glad to hear from you. My address is ‘Alice brown, care of Mrs. R. A. Hough, No. 300 garfield avenue, Chicago.’ give my love to every one, and keep lots of love and kisses for your own dear self. Yours lovingly,
Lottie’s family situation had been sad. Her mother had been widowed after her husband had dropped dead in a street car somewhere back East when Lottie and her sibling were very young.
- “The City,” Chicago Tribune, 16 May, 1884
- “Inquests,” Chicago Inter Ocean, 16 May, 1884
- Burial notice, Chicago Inter Ocean, Sunday., 18 May, 1884
- “A Mother’s Sorrow,” Chicago Inter Ocean, Saturday, 17 May, 1884