14 June 2014

Madame Restell, Sleepy Hollow, NY

Ann Lohman (1811–78) was better known as Madame Restell, and the 'enhanced map' to Sleepy Hollow cemetery states that she was also called 'The Wickedest Woman in New York'. Lohman was born Ann Trow in Gloucestershire, UK, and married Henry Summer at the age of sixteen. The couple emigrated to the USA in 1831, where Summer died of fever shortly after.

Five years later she married Charles R. Lohman, a radical who with his friend George Matsell had been concerned with the publication of Robert Dale Owen's Moral Physiology: or, a Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question (1831) as well as Charles Knowlton's Fruits of Philosophy: or, The Private Companion of Young Married People, which was published the same year. 'Madame Restell' became interested in women's 'concerns' to such an extent that the neologism 'Restellism' became synonymous with abortion. Pressure increased on Restell's illegal activities and in 1878 – rather than face a second term of imprisonment – she died in her bath by slitting her throat. She was buried with her husband in Sleepy Hollow cemetery, upstate New York.

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