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July 4th – A Dangerous Turn In Hazel Drew’s Plans

– Posted in: Murder Mystery Backstory

To fully appreciate why the July 4th weekend was the beginning of the end for Hazel, we need to go back to Decoration Day, 1908. Today is known as Memorial Day. Hazel spent Decoration Day with her friend Carrie Weaver in New York City. This was the second trip to New York City for Hazel in less than a month. 

The weekend didn’t go as planned. Hazel lost her purse with $6.00 in it. This was almost two weeks of pay for Hazel. Carrie’s employer had made arrangements for the girls to stay at the YWCA but they choose to stay at an elegant boarding house. It was a weekend of theater, train rides, restaurant meals and a boat ride up home on Sunday night. 

According to Carrie they met no men and it was upon the boat ride home Hazel revealed that she was going to spend the July 4th weekend in Lake George. Hazel also informed her employer Mrs. Cary and her family of these plans.

Excited about the trip Hazel spoke to Carrie about it again a week before leaving. 

A Man Known Only as C.E.S

The time of Hazel’s frequent trips was also a time when Hazel was corresponding with a man known only as C.E.S.; we know this from the affectionate letters he wrote. In one of the letters C.E.S writes: 

“You’re merry smile and twinkling eyes torture me. Your face haunts me. Why can’t I be contented again? You have stolen my liberty, please don’t forget a promise to write. When I reach Albany again, I will meet you at the tavern. I must see you soon, or I’ll die of starvation.” 

There were six letters from C.E.S, sent from the two cities Hazel had recently visited, Boston and New York City.

“Hazel was not a girl to run around much and never had a sweetheart. If she had, I think I would have known about it, for she made a confidant of me. The last I saw her was Friday night before the fourth. At this time she told me that she was going to Lake George to spend Sunday. I think she went with some of the girls.”

Carrie Weaver’s Statement – Albany Times Union, July 18

It seems Carrie didn’t know about C.E.S. and the letters or she was hiding this information.  

Were Hazel’s Plans Made in Isolation?

When we look at Hazel’s July 4th announcement, we find the timing significant, especially when juxtaposed with her death. When most of us make plans, it’s done when we are in communication with other people. Think back on when you decided to spend a holiday out of town. Did you make these plans in isolation? No, we almost never make plans alone. Now, if you disagree with me on this point, please comment below.

My point is this: we not only make plans with others, but we typically do this in the presence of others. Today we text and use social media, but even with this technology, most plans are made when we’re with the people we want to spend more time with. 

While in New York City Hazel had made July 4th plans, and they didn’t include her traveling companion, Carrie Weaver. When Hazel talked of her plans to go to Lake George she was informing Carrie Weaver, not involving her. Hazel had not previously mentioned this or made arrangements with her employer to leave, something a domestic in her situation is required to do. 

Events leading up to Hazel’s Death and Discovery

  • Early May – Hazel went to New York City. No one was known to have accompanied her.  
  • May 30th – Hazel Drew and Carrie Weaver went by boat to New York City. Carrie’s employer Mrs. Greene had made reservations for them to stay at the affordable YWCA. The girls instead had plans to board at the Margret Louise House a fine establishment for working women. 
  • June 1st – Hazel & Carrie return from New York City and Hazel declares she’s going to Lake George for the July Fourth Holiday Weekend. 
  • June 26th – Hazel, again talked with Carrie about her trip to Lake George. 
  • July 3rd – Hazel shows up at Mrs. Schumaker pleading with her to make a new shirtwaist from fabric she had just purchased. 
  • July 4th – Hazel doesn’t go to Lake George, but instead stays in Troy and Schenectady with her aunt, Minnie Taylor.
  • July 6th – Giving no prior notice or signs of discontent Hazel quits her job, packs her things and leaves the Cary residence. It’s now 10 AM. 
  • July 6 & 7 – Hazel is seen more than once waiting for someone at the train station in Troy NY. Where Hazel spent Monday night, July 6 is unknown. 
  • July 7 – Around 7:15 PM Hazel was spotted walking alone up Taborton Mountian in Sand Lake, NY. The daytime temperature had been over ninety degrees, and Hazel was dressed for fashion, layered with skirts and wearing heeled Victorian boots. 

July 11 – Hazel’s body was found floating in Teal’s Pond very close to where she was spotted on July 7th.  

What Was Hazel Hiding?

Hazel told her friends that Carrie Weaver was accompanying her to Lake George. Mrs. A. M. Greene, where Carrie is employed, said that Hazel had not asked Carrie to accompany her.

When Hazel left the home of her employer on the morning of the fourth, Mrs. Carey assumed she was going to Lake George.

“Hazel was with me here and in Schenectady on the fourth,” said Miss Taylor today. “She had intended to take a trip to Lake George and wanted me to go with her, but I did not want to go there on that day because the trains are so crowded on the holidays. Hazel did not inform Mrs. Carey of her change of plans come, but I am sure she had not intended to deceive her.”

Albany Times Union, July 17

Read more about these events here. 

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