Share this article

print logo

Front page, March 11, 1916: 'Woman dies of starvation in bare attic'

The big headlines on this date 100 years ago were about Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa and the upcoming U.S. presidential election (in which Woodrow Wilson would defeat Charles Hughes).

But "Woman dies of starvation in bare attic; furniture used for fuel," was a Buffalo story.

"After living in destitution for more than 10 months, Mrs. Elizabeth Harris Wilber Jensen, 55 years old, died from starvation and exposure early last night in her room in the attic of a building near Abbot road at Windom station. At her bedside when she died were her children, Charles, 29, Sadie, 21 and Mary 22 years old. The two girls who until recently were on the vaudeville stage are known as the Howard Sisters and played at a local theater about a year ago. ...
"From the start the family barely had enough to eat. The four persons lived in three small, dark and poorly ventilated rooms in the attic of the building...they found it hard to get food during the summer months and were compelled to sell their clothes, pieces of furniture and everything in the household that they had no use for."

Jailer James Lannon said "it was the worst case of destitution that he has ever seen. He said this morning while Mrs. Jensen's body lay wrapped only in a blanket in the cold and dreary building, her children stood around suffering from the cold and hardly knowing what to do. There was nothing in the house to eat and the only pieces of furniture in the place were the bed and a broken chair."

Click on page below to view larger image.

March 11 1916

There are no comments - be the first to comment