Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mrs. Dora Schwarting, San Francisco Midwife & Child Torturer – 1901

FULL TEXT: Mrs. Dora Schwarting, a midwife, residing at 510 Eddy street [San Francisco, Ca.], was yesterday arrested on the charge of maltreating Annie Keller, a minor child. The arrest was made at the instance of Mrs. William H. Groat of 512 Eddy street. The little girl whose arms, legs, face and body bear the marks of what had been apparently a terrible beating, was taken under the protecting wing of Secretary White of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Mrs. Schwarting was released on $100 cash bail.

Annie Keller is one of the four children of C. G. Keller, said to be a paper carrier. Keller is now in the country and the children are distributed among relatives and others. Annie was placed with Mrs. Schwarting about four months ago, Keller paying a small sum monthly for her maintenance.

According to the testimony of the child, which is corroborated by Mrs. Groat and a dozen ugly scars and bruises, Mrs. Schwarting took no chances of spoiling Annie by sparing the rod, the rod in this particular case being sometimes a poker, occasionally the open hand. but. for preference a billet of stone or wood.

The poker is said to have been called into requisition a month or so ago for the purpose of teaching Annie the wickedness of opening the oven dear when a roast was in course of cooking. Mrs. Schwartlng's escaped that time with a black eye.

On Friday evening last, the little girl says, she heard the door bell ring. It was one of her duties to notify her landlady in such event, and in her search for Mrs. Schwarting the little lodger entered the room of one of the patients.

As Mrs. Schwarting explained to Mrs. Groat yesterday morning, "My patients do not wish to be seen," and accordingly, when the door bell had been attended to, Annie was thrashed with what she describes as a billet of wood.

Mrs. Groat saw the little girl later, and after hearing her story and seeing the condition of the child's arms she was going in to see Mrs. Schwarting, but Annie's pleading, "She will kill me if she knows I told," made her change her mind.

Yesterday forenoon the quiet of the Groat residence was broken by screams from next-door. Running into the yard, Mrs. Groat found Annie cowering in a corner, sobbing and evidently in great pain. She took the child into her own house, reported the matter to Secretary White and later swore to the complaint on which the warrant was issued for the midwife’s arrest.

The appearance of the child’s body bears silent but strong witness to the brutality of her punishment. Her left ear is torn and discolored, her left arm from shoulder to wrist and her left leg from hip to ankle are one mass of glaring bruises, and the whole demeanor of the child is such as might be caused by the violent treatment of which she complains and from which she seeks protection.

[“Uses Poker And Billets Of Wood To Punish Her Ten-Year-Old Lodger - Mrs. Dora Schwarting, a Local Midwife, Arrested for Cruelty to Little Annie Keller, Whose Body Bears Silent Testimony to the Rigor of Her Landlady's System of Corporal Punishment,” The San Francisco Call (Ca.), Aug. 11, 1901, p. 25]



For more cases, see: Women Who Like to Torture


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