Margaret Ruth Day

Margaret Ruth Garritson Day, a 20-year-old homemaker, died January 12, 1928 in Centralia, Illinois, after an illegal abortion. Dr. T. W. Rice was arrested for murder.

Margaret had already been buried when suspicions were aroused. Her body was exhumed on the afternoon of Friday, April 20, and an autopsy was performed the following day. Dr. S. D. Carrigan signed the death certificate attributing Margaret’s demise to septicemia from an abortion.

Margaret’s husband, Jesse, and four physicians were questioned before a Grand Jury. The evidence they gave indicated that Margaret had consulted with Dr. W. H. Gambill in November or December of 1927 about her pregnancy. He declined to do an abortion.

Jesse admitted that he and Margaret had gone to Centralia during the first week of January, and the abortion was perpetrated there.

Dr. D. S. Carrigan, Dr. H. D. Gillette, and Dr. Russell Goebel testified that they had treated Margaret during December or early January. Carrigan and Gillette were attending her on the day she died.


  • “Centralia Doctor Under $12,000 Bond,” Carbondale (IL) Daily Free Press, Apr. 25, 1928
  • Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947