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What Unspoken Illness Brought Hazel to William Taylor’s Farm?

– Posted in: Murder Mystery Backstory

During the Winter of 1907-08, an unspoken illness brought nineteen-year-old Hazel Drew to her uncle’s farm on Taborton Mountian. As the snow fell and the temperatures dropped below zero, Hazel stayed bedridden for almost a month.

She was being cared for by her sister-in-law Eva. Also at the house was her brother Joseph and her Uncle William Taylor.

As District Attorney, Jarvis O’Brien dove deeper into investigating Hazel’s death, her time at the Taylor farm that winter became a matter of special interest to him and his detectives.

The fact that the farm was very close to the pond where Hazel was found dead was a coincidence hard to ignore. But mostly O’Brien wanted to know what illness did Hazel suffer.

What he found was, and I think you’ll agree – rather shocking.

When O’Brien asked what Hazel’s illness was, no one knew. Both Joesph and William said they didn’t ask.  Eva simply said that Hazel showed up at the farm not feeling well and that she escorted Hazel into the bedroom where she stayed to recuperate.

For almost a month young Hazel Drew was sick with an unknown illness.

But what I find more even more suspicious is that no doctor was called and no other members of her family came to visit.


Three weeks is a long time for an unspoken illness.

Hazel Drew's Parents

John & Julia Drew

Her Mother and Father lived in nearby Troy. Troy was an easy trip by trolley.  But a trip John and Julia Drew never made. Hazel’s parents never checked in to see how their daughter was doing.

Also absent from her bedside was her Aunt Minnie Taylor. Like Hazel, Minnie was also a domestic servant for a wealthy Troy merchant.

Jarvis O’Brien had recently learned that this odd pair were constant companions. It turns out that thirty-nine-year-old Minnie Taylor and nineteen-year-old Hazel Drew would visit multiple times each week.

It wasn’t uncommon for the two of them to take buggy rides with unnamed men Minnie knew.

Now there’s nothing illegal about taking buggy rides, but it did seem odd that these two had become “Constant Companions.”

It was even more suspicious that Minnie did not visit Hazel during the entire three weeks Hazel spent recuperating on the farm.

Was this the beginning of Hazel’s real troubles? Or, had they begun some months before. 

According to the William Clemens, who was labeled as the “World’s Foremost Criminologist” Hazel went to her uncles to get an abortion.

Clemens supports his theory by referring to a letter from Hazel’s friend Mina Jones, who in the letter writes “I’m very, very sorry for you dearie. I know just how to feel for you.”

He also refers to another letter from a woman known only as Margret. According to Clemens, she wrote “I was very sorry to hear of your illness and going away. We were wondering what happened to you. I wouldn’t tell what was the matter.”

Hardly conclusive.  But when you ignore the way in which things were phrased in 1908,  it is possible to read into it and come to the conclusion that both Mina and Margret knew what it was that Hazel was suffering from.

How would Mina know how to feel for her? Her words were “I know just how to feel for you” or why would Margret say “I wouldn’t tell what was the matter” if they didn’t know what the illness was?

Other supporting evidence is Minnie Taylor’s request for Mina Jones to destroy all correspondence.

Hazel Drew's Aunt

Minnie Taylor


Yes, talk about bold. During the investigation, Minnie Taylor wrote to Hazel’s friend Mina Jones and told her to destroy any correspondence between her and Hazel.

Suspicious to say the least!

As the story unfolds, more and more things about Hazel’s life become suspicious.

These are the things we’ll be unpacking in the film and on this website.

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The Sand Lake Murder that Inspired Twin Peaks has a lot more left to unpack.

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