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Clara Mathews
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Birth: unknown
Death: Sep. 17, 1893
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

This is such a sad story. Clara was working as a waitress in Idaho when she met Harry J. Gray of Lincoln, CA. According to his story, she persuaded him to take her along as he traveled back to his hometown of Lincoln. Once there she got a job as a domestic while continuing to see Harry. Within a few months, she found herself in a "delicate condition," as was the vernacular of the time. The couple then journeyed to San Francisco and sought out a doctor to end the pregnancy. Tragically, Clara, who was about 28 years old, died from the "criminal operation" (more newspaper vernacular) and was hastily buried in the pauper's section of the City Cemetery within hours of her death. Harry paid the doctor, undertaker, and boardinghouse bills with Clara's money and returned to Lincoln, spreading the story that she died from blood poisoning. However, rumors of foul play became so prevalent in the small town that the local constable looked into the matter, with the end result that Harry, Dr. Joseph von Werthern, and Dr. E. P. Driscoll were arrested and charged with murder. When poor Clara's body was exhumed two weeks after her passing, the coffin was shown to have been so crudely made that sand and dirt had sifted in and covered most of the remains. When washed off, the coroner noted her "long, luxuriant brown hair reaching almost to her knees." Charges against Dr. Driscoll were dropped as he had been brought in after the fact. Dr. von Werthern insisted that someone else had already unsuccessfully tried to end the pregnancy and all he had done was apply an application of belladonna ointment to complete the procedure. Whether the poison or hemorrhaging to death caused Clara's death wasn't made clear, perhaps because medical science wasn't that advanced then. I wasn't able to learn the trial's outcome, although Dr. von Werthern was found to be practicing medicine again in the early 1900s. What is known is that a beautiful young woman hitched her dreams to a cad and ended up far from home and family in a pauper's grave at a now-defunct cemetery. 
Golden Gate Cemetery (Defunct)
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA
Created by: Kathie
Record added: Nov 05, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100211927

Rest in peace, poor Clara.
- Kathie
 Added: Nov. 5, 2012

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