Hazel Bausman was an aunt to my maternal grandfather, Stanley “Spud” Davis. She died in a car accident in 1929. I found the following article discussing her accident and published in the Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, Iowa) on November 20, 1929. I accessed the article at Google Newspaper Archives.
I’ve read several articles on her death and there doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary. But boy, this past summer when I was back visiting relatives I can’t tell you how many told me that Hazel’s death was VERY suspicious. Almost like she was murdered. I even met a distant relative in Iowa, and she told me she grew up hearing about Hazel’s suspicious death.
Everyone was very serious about the accusations and when I told them I had never read anything odd about the accident, they were all surprised.
Perhaps people thought it was strange that no one else was hurt and Hazel ended up dying. Who knows. But the conspiracy theories were rampant this past summer. I would love to know how all the suspicions started because over 80 years later, they are still strong.
Transcription of article:
WOMAN KILLED IN HIGHWAY ACCIDENT
MISS HAZEL BAUSMAN, SCALES MOUND, MEETS DEATH NEAR GALENA.
CAR PLUNGES INTO DITCH, UPSETS
Three Other Occupants of Machine Escape Serious Injuries; Driver Freed of Blame.
Miss Hazel Bausman, 34 years old and a resident of Scales Mound, Ill., was killed in an automobile accident on Route 5, four miles below East Dubuque, at 12:30 o’clock Wednesday morning.
The tragedy occurred during a flurry of snow. Blinded by the snow and the glare from the lights of an approaching car, Miss Evelyn Stoewer, of Galena, driver of the car in which Miss Bausman was a passenger, applied the brakes suddenly, causing the machine to skid on the slippery pavement; plunge, over an embankment on the left side or the highway and tip over. A skull fracture caused Miss Bausman’s death.
Other occupants of the wrecked auto were Arthur Stephan, of Scales Mound, and Emmerson Houy, of Galena. Stephan received minor injuries and the other two occupants of the car escaped with only a severe shaking up.
Miss Bausman and Stephan occupied the rear seat of the car, with Miss Stoewer and Houy in the front seat.
The remains of the dead woman were removed to Galena and at an inquest held Wednesday morning the coroner’s jury held Miss Stoewer and her companion, Houy, blameless for the accident.
Miss Bausman was a lifelong resident or Scales Mound, made her home there with her widowed mother, Mrs. Nicholas Bausman, and was employed as a clerk in a Scales Mound store.
Early Wednesday afternoon the body had not yet been removed to Scales Mound and no funeral arrangements had been made.