WA Secretary of State Blogs

WSL Librarian Solves a Starvation Heights Mystery

starvation 1WSL Public Services Librarian Kim Smeenk has contributed some data to the lore of Starvation Heights, and corrected a century-long standing error.

In our Washington Reads a few years back we included this work, which will help summarize the setting:

Olsen, Gregg. Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest.

In 1911 in Olalla, Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, with no medical training, opened a sanitarium where she practiced her fasting cure. Patients starved and many died, but others continued to sign up for the cure. This true-life crime will grip the reader.

Here was the question: Find the Mrs. Elgin Cox listed in Wikipedia as one of the victims of Linda Hazzard – died 1908.

According to Kim, “The source Wikipedia refers to for this name and date is an article in the Sept. 30, 1911 Seattle Daily Times describing a pamphlet put out by Linda Hazzard. But Linda Hazzard put out the wrong information in her pamphlet, and the author of the 1911 Seattle Daily Times article didn’t check it, and just reprinted her list. It was then used by Wikipedia, and can be found on other web sites.”

Starvation 2

“Research results:

From the following items,

Seattle City Directory 1908

Seattle Daily Times – Sept., 1907 – Obituary with burial location for Lenora Wilcox

Seattle Daily Times – Sept. 26, 27, 29, and Oct. 6 1907 – Articles about her death and Linda Hazzard.

U.S. Census, 1870, 1900, 1910

We find out that Mrs Elgin Cox is  Lenora Wilcox who died Sept. 20, 1907 at her home,  1722 E Queen Anne Dr. in Seattle.”      

“She was buried at Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Seattle on Sept. 22, 1907. Her husband was Elgin (Glen) Wilcox. In the newspaper articles, he is not the one accusing Linda Hazzard. It was the neighbors.”

“Her entry in the 1900 census does confirm that she was born in Jan. 1870 in Kansas, and the 1870 census has her parents listed as Mary and Alfred Stooky. The 1910 census has her husband listed as a widower, still living in Seattle with their 2 sons, Howard Glenn and Elgin Roscoe.”

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One Response to “WSL Librarian Solves a Starvation Heights Mystery”

  1. Way to go Kim! That’s incredible. I just started reading this fascinating book.