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The Mysterious & Secret Life of Hazel Drew Unfolds

– Posted in: Murder Mystery Backstory

It was late on the night of July 3rd, 1908 when a desperate Hazel Drew arrived at the door of a dressmaker. Hazel, like Laura Palmer the Twin Peaks character she inspired was living a secret life.

The door had barely opened, and Hazel began to frantically explain that she had weekend plans to go to Lake George, a popular resort in the Adirondack Mountains. She was holding a fold of newly purchased fabric and was pleading with Mrs. Schumaker to make her a new shirtwaist. But it was almost 11 pm on Friday before the fourth of July. A rather strange time to procure a custom made shirtwaist.

Hazel Drew, Jarvis O'Brien,Teal's Pond

Hazel was no stranger. She had recently commissioned a new skirt from Mrs. Schumaker and had the money owed as well as cash for the payment for the new shirtwaist. Ultimately, Hazel’s desperation won Mrs. Schumaker over. She took the new material from Hazel, sat at her sewing machine and made the shirtwaist Hazel so desired.

It was now after 11 pm. The weekend plans were coming together. Hazel was delighted.

Unfortunately, Hazel’s delight would dramatically change. The late-night session with her dressmaker would become the first in a chain of bizarre weekend events that would end with Hazel’s body being found, floating face down in Teal’s Pond – wearing the so desired shirtwaist.

Packed Her Things & Quit

Hazel never went to Lake George. Instead the twenty-year-old spent the weekend with her aunt and without notice, abruptly quit her job that Monday morning. Hazel wasted no time, she packed her travel trunk and with her suitcase in hand disappeared. For two, mysterious days, Hazel traveled. Hazel told her aunt she was going to visit friends, but didn’t. She was spotted briefly at Troy’s Union Station, spoke to a friend, made a vague reference to meeting someone but ultimately left no clues to who she was meeting or where she spent Monday night.

Her suitcase was packed with undergarments, a toothbrush, a nightgown, a comb, a handbag, and a Japanese kimono robe. The handbag contained a heart-shaped locket, a handkerchief and a personal from a Troy newspaper of October 7, 1907, saying; “Edward Lavoie has departed for Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he will remain all winter.”

Read more about Hazel’s actions on Monday, July 6th here in the July 18, Albany Times Union

How Did She Manage to Live So Well?

Hazel had for some months been living a very secretive life, buying tailor-made clothes and taking numerous trips to New York City, Boston, and Providence Rhode Island. One of the most important questions looming over the investigation was “how could she afford these luxuries on the salary of a domestic worker?” – it doesn’t add up.

In the July 29th edition of the New York, Evening World Hazel’s good friend Carrie Weaver was quoted saying “She could make a dollar go further than any woman I ever saw.” The article went on saying

It has been and still is a constant source of wonder to Miss Weaver how her friend managed to live so well, to wear such stylish costumes, to take so many and so extended trips, and to enjoy so many luncheons at such expensive hostelries on her wages as a governess.”

New York Evening World – July 29, 1908

Miss Weaver was loud in her praise of Miss Drew, and while reciting many of the adventures the latter confided in her of trips up and down the Hudson on first-class boats, and trips by rail to Providence, Boston and other neighboring cities, she protested all the while that Miss Drew explicitly stated that she had no men friends.

New York Evening World – July 29, 1908

Read the full New York Evening World article here.

If you know anything about the murder or just have a theory or opinion I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.

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