I was flipping through my computer files looking for something and came across a Washington Star clipping from 1878. It seems I was looking for articles mentioning George Glorius, Glorious George, of Sq. 519 in Truxton Circle. George plays a bit part in the article.
The article is about a case involving the death of a young woman who lived at 229 Q St. NW (another TC address that no longer exists) who died after getting an abortion. The article, titled “Poor Sophie Major. The mournful story of her seduction and death.” is just as click baity as mine. This was 1878, and the term yellow journalism had yet to be coined.
The red head, or ginger, in this story is John W. Hurley, a gas fitter and plumber who worked at 925 Massachusetts Ave NW….. another address that no longer exists. In the article he’s described as “tall, slender, red-haired young man, said to be somewhat “wild” in his habits….” He’s the guy who got Ms. Olivia Sophie Major pregnant. The unnamed newspaper author wrote, “Such as termination of the life of one fitted to adorn life and to be a useful member of society, seems very hard, especially when it is known that her seducer walked the streets of Washington last night unharmed by the avenging hand of retributive justice, unimpeded by the process of the law. There are crimes quite as foul as that murder, and in the eye of Heaven John W. Hurley’s soul is not free from a stain as deep of a hue of crimson.” They published his name, where he worked, his red hair, do you think the paper was trying to rile up a mob against him? He walked the street unharmed by retributive justice, as if calling to the reader to go out and harm Mr. Hurley in the name of justice. His crime? Knocking up Olivia Sophie Major (1859-1878) and not marrying her. There was another mention in the article hinting at a desire for violence against him.
It seems Ms. Major was seen by several doctors. Continue reading Beware of Ginger Man: A Story of Death and Sex