Women in Peril 1868 — Mathilda Routh


I have written a few stories of how hard it was for women in years gone by. I try not to write sad stories, but feel it is important that everyone remember what women went through. PMS and Menopause were sometimes treated by sending them to Brockville or Kingston insane asylums and unwed mothers, well, all I can say is my heart breaks for them. A list of stories is below.


Author’s Note Update December 2 –2016..

Perth Courier, May 12, 1871

Teskey-Routh—Married, on the 28th ult., at the residence of the bride’s father, Appleton, by Rev. Thomas Atkinson, Franklin Teskey of Appleton to Miranda Routh of the same place. She was Maltida’s sister

Perth Courier, Jan. 10, 1868

A young woman named Mathilda Routh died in Appleton last week under circumstances which lead to the holding of an inquest.  As the result of the inquest it was discovered that the poor girl had fallen victim to a heartless wretch who first ruined and then induced her to procure an abortion to conceal her shame.  The jury returned a righteous verdict of “willful murder” against William H. Patterson of Almonte but we regret to learn that he has managed to decamp.  Consequently, justice is not likely to be carried out.  Miss Routh was only 21 years of age and altogether the case is painful in the extreme.


Of course, women did find themselves with unwanted pregnancies. Abortifacients were discreetly advertised and there was a considerable body of folklore about methods of inducing miscarriages. Amongst working-class women violent purgatives were popular, pennyroyal, aloes and turpentine were all used. Other methods to induce miscarriage were very hot baths and gin, extreme exertion, a controlled fall down a flight of stairs, or veterinary medicines. So-called ‘backstreet’ abortionists were fairly common, although their bloody efforts could be fatal. Estimates of the number of illegal abortions performed in England varied widely: by one estimate, 100,000 women made efforts to procure a miscarriage in 1914, usually by drugs.

In Memory of Matilda, daughter of Launcelot & Meranda Routh, who died Dec 30, 1867, aged 21 yrs.

Wesleyan Methodist Cemetery

Lot 13, Con. 9, Ramsay Twp. near Almonte.

Burials – 1827 – 1947


Name Matilda Routh
Event Type Burial
Event Place Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Cemetery Wesleyan Methodist Burial Ground+
Note In Memory Of, Matilda, Daughter Of, Launcelot & Meranda Routh, Who Died,Dec.30,1867, Aged,21,Y’rs., [Inscription Unreadable]

The Sad Tale of Unwed Mothers of Days Gone By — Perth through the Ages Tour


The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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