Note: This is an encore post from 2006.
June 26, 1907
Fred D. Samuels is a monster and nothing less, according to his aunt, Sister Kostka, assistant mother superior of the Ursuline Convent in Frontenac, Wis. As her mother, Maria S. Bowman, lay dying at her home, 1266 E. Adams, Samuels refused to let Sister Kostka (nee Minnie Bowman) see her.
In fact, Kostka charged, Samuels refused to let a Catholic priest visit Mrs. Bowman and refused to grant her a Catholic funeral. Instead, Bowman received two services, one at St. Patrick’s on Central Avenue and another at the Lutheran church on East 46th St.
Kostka complained to the district attorney’s office that Samuels starved Bowman and abused her, leaving bruises on Bowman’s arms from where she was restrained. He did all of this, Kostka said, because he wanted the inheritance, which included $12,000 ($246,282.84 USD 2005) and some property.
“My mother died of starvation,” Kostka said. “She would be alive today but for my nephew. He has a horrible temper and he abused my mother shamefully. He repeatedly held her hands behind her back and forced her into a chair by taking hold of her wrists. I saw the marks of his fingers on my mother’s dead body.”
In an account supported by Mrs. Bowman’s nurse and doctor, Samuels said that Bowman was senile and that the marks on her wrists were from holding her hands so she could receive an injection. She had been unable to eat for the last week of her life, he said.
And he added: “I would not allow the Catholics to bury her because was not a Catholic.” As for not allowing Kostka to see Bowman, Samuels said: “My grandmother hated her and did not want her near her.”
The Times noted that Bowman was the widow of former East St. Louis Mayor John B. Bowman, who was assassinated in 1885.