|Birth: ||1856, USA|
|Death: ||Aug. 26, 1871|
New York, USA
On August 26, 1871, a shabbily-dressed young woman waited on the platform of the Hudson River Railroad Depot in New York City. The young woman checked the trunk for Chicago -- her own destination -- then vanished in the crowd.
As the flimsy trunk was hauled to the platform, the lid was jarred, and an overpowering stench filled the balmy summer air. The station master was called over. He opened the trunk to find bloodstained quilts and rags -- and the nude body of a young woman.
She was frail and slight, doubled up and crammed into the small space. Her pale hair spilled over her body. Her blue eyes stared sightlessly at the horrified spectators.
A summoned police officer had the body brought to the morgue, and an appeal went out to the public to identify the dead girl. Crowds braved the smell to catch a glimpse of the young woman, kept on ice to try to slow decomposition. An examination revealed that death was due to uterine infection from an induced abortion.
The newspapers dubbed the mystery "The Trunk Case", and filled their pages with lurid descriptions of the crime and poetic descriptions of the victim. She was, The New York Times said, a "young girl ... [with] a face of singular loveliness... but her chief beauty was her great profusion of golden hair... that lay in heavy masses upon her breast."
The family doctor and dentist identified the young woman as Alice Bowlsby. The trial of the man responsible for her death was a massive media sensation. The public outcry led to a drive for more stringent laws against abortion practitioners.
The morgue sent Alice's body to Potter's Field, a public graveyard on an island off Manhattan. "A pauper's burial!" exclaimed the Daily Monitor, in outrage. Wealthier community members offered money to the family, and a florist donated $50 worth of flowers for the coffin. Mrs. Bowlsby thanked them for their graciousness, but refused their gifts. After the summer heat broke, gravediggers unearthed Alice's remains and sent them home to 42 West St., where her family held a small, private memorial service. They buried her again at a family gravesite, in Parsippany, ten miles from Paterson.
Specifically: Buried in a small family plot in Parsippany
Created by: Christina Dunigan
Record added: Sep 26, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59239161