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 Elsie Mokrzycka

Elsie Mokrzycka

Birth
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Death 30 Mar 1927 (aged 10)
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Plot 10019
Memorial ID 125295251 · View Source
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Ten-year-old Elsie was one of 9 children who survived infancy, in the Mokrzycki family, of 57 Nelson St., Toronto. The parents were Antone Mokrzycki and Katarzyna Mokrzycka, both originally from Poland.

According to her sister (Frances), Elsie's original name was "Albinia", but when she started school, the teacher had said, "Oh, that's not a pretty name for a girl. I'll call you 'Elsie' instead." And that was it.

On the evening of March 30, 1927, Elsie was murdered by Fong Yong, a man suffering from severe mental illness, who ran amok with a large butcher-knife, on Elizabeth Street in Toronto. He wounded 4 other people, as well as fatally stabbing little Elsie, at the corner of Elizabeth & Albert Streets, in the area known as "The Ward" (now part of Nathan Philips Square).

The story was splashed across newspapers, throughout North America. The Toronto Star's coverage was particularly lurid, complete with composites of photos, including one of a butcher knife like the one used by Fong Yong. The newspapers erroneously gave Elsie's age as 11. In fact, she had only turned 10, three months earlier.

The murder affected the Mokrzycki family for many years, particularly Frances, who usually ran the errand that Elsie was running for the first time, and would bear the guilt for this, for the rest of her life, because her parents kept telling her "That should have been you," during the family's weekly visits to the gravesite.

Those were very racist times, so Elsie's tombstone originally read, "KILLED BY A MANIAC CHINAMAN". Years later, the last four words were removed, though you can still very faintly make them out.

The case was cited in Clayton James Mosher's book, "Discrimination and Denial: Systemic Racism in Ontario's Legal and Criminal Justice Systems, 1892-1961", University of Toronto Press (1998).

Elsie's story is told on pages 80-83 of the book, "The Ward", Coach House Books (2015).


Inscription

MOKRZYCKA
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
ELSIE ALBINIA
BORN DEC 14 1916
KILLED
MAR 30 1927

Gravesite Details Interred on April 2, 1927.

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  • Created by: PR
  • Added: 18 Feb 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 125295251
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elsie Mokrzycka (14 Dec 1916–30 Mar 1927), Find A Grave Memorial no. 125295251, citing Prospect Cemetery, Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by PR (contributor 48350610) .