Seduction and Death

Last Sunday afternoon the church bell sounded the death knell of Winnie Gross, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gross, and the circumstances that lead to the closing of her young life are sad indeed.

Like her days, the story is short. She was seduced and died of child-birth. On Monday morning the babe's life went out, and it was placed the coffin with its mother.

The funeral service was held at the church on Monday forenoon, Rev. Renchberger, officiating. The interment took place at the Brick church cemetery.

She was about seventeen years old.

It's all wrong. One man can steel a few dollars and the stern decree of the law will send him to penitentiary for a term of years. Another man may rob a girl of her virtue, bring disgrace upon her and the family, and even cause death, and the villainous seducer not worth even the powder and lead that should be used to stop his hellish meanness, is allowed to parade the streets and drag his vile and stinking carcass into society without even an attempt at prosecution.

This case should be a warning to girls and young men, and these vile seducers of innocent girls, should rejoice that the hands of an outraged and indignant people are not raised to do them violence. Young man, lifted your fallen nature before the impending fate overtakes you.

The fellow that caused the ruin which lead to the death of this young lady is said to be Bill Beardsly.

The bereaved family has the heartfelt sympathy of the people.

Nappanee News, Thursday, 3 February 1887
Nappanee, Elkhart County, Indiana


There are several spelling variations of the Gross family name. On her death certificate, Winnie was listed as Grass. (Death Certificate of Winnie Grass, Elkhart County Book, pg. 10, Elkhart County Health Unit, Indiana.) Her father Henry and brother William were Grass and her brothers Hugh and Floyd were Grasz.

The Brick Church Cemetery where Winnie is buried is now the oldest part of the Union Center Cemetery. Her tombstone no longer exists.