We don’t know much about the mysterious woman known as Mrs. Rose, but we do know she caused a stir in Cincinnati in March of 1891. Read on to learn about Hannah Rose’s wild ride, one of nature hikes, assaults, and prison breaks.
By Sean E. Andres
Hannah Rose left Poland in her late 20s, speaking only what people thought was Hebrew, and arrived in New York in 1888. She was determined to get to 614 Hudson St., Chicago, Illinois, and so she took off by train in early 1891 across the east and midwest. Train passengers often gawked at Hannah because of her missing left eye. The journey wasn’t without issue, though. In two towns, she exited the train and got lost in the woods. The Ashland passenger agent warned the staff going to Cincinnati that she might be insane and to assist her in getting off the train at Cincinnati.
On Saturday, 28 February, she arrived in Cincinnati. No one could converse with her, and she fought all assistance. Soon she was back on board the train to Chicago that night, warning the staff to Chicago. Two miles from North Bend, Hannah went to the bathroom. Conductor Clements noticed her missing and found that she had jumped out the bathroom window. Hannah, in a place she didn’t know, wandered through the fields and roads all night while the Sedamsville police searched for her.
During the minister’s speech at the church in the black community of Lucatawa, Hannah, covered in mud and briars, lunged at the minister and dragged him from his pulpit, scaring the congregation into disarray. The congregation chased her, following her to the railroad tracks where she attempted suicide by lying down in front of the moving freight train. Before the train hit her, Harvey dragged her away, and other pursuers helped him keep her down.
They returned her to Cincinnati by train and charged her with lunacy and put her in a cell in the House of Detention at the Bremen St. Police Station. The police chief investigated to try to find family. He found that no such address as 614 Hudson St. existed and surmised that she had been misguided so to rob her of her money.
Hannah broke out of her cell the next day but was immediately recaptured, taken back to the House of Detention. Chief Deitsch continued to investigate, believing that she had come to Cincinnati in search of a husband and became crazy on the way from New York. They gave her another court date on Friday, 06 March, and placed her in Longview Asylum until then.
Hannah, widowed, ended up in San Francisco in a women’s relief center for the aged and infirmed. We don’t know what happened to Hannah in between this event and 1930 in the women’s relief center. She may have been left in the asylum or assisted by the Jewish Relief Society. But we do surmise that she, like many women, was not actually crazy. She was in a foreign place surrounded by people and languages she didn’t know with no way of knowing if she was in Chicago.
- Addyston’s website
- Cincinnati: A Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors by Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Ohio
- Digging Cincinnati History by Ann Senefeld
- San Francisco Public Library
- U.S. Census Records
- Williams Directory