52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #26 Grace Martell

Since I am working on my American branches of the family at the moment, this week’s 52 Ancestors post is again about someone who isn’t an ancestor.  This week, my post is about Grace Martell Starner.

My relationship to Grace is as follows:

Lois Grace relationshiop

Before my latest research, the information I had for Grace mainly came from the Utah County, Utah Cemetery Index on Ancestry.com, the 1920 and 1930 US Censuses, and a family tree at Rootsweb World Connect.

The basic information I had was that Grace was born 19 April 1916 at Rains, Carbon, Utah, United States.  She died 5 June 1937.

While I was researching her mother, Charlotte, I came across an article about Grace’s death on Newspapers.com, from The Lehi Sun, 20 May 1937, page 1 (https://www.newspapers.com/image/331886700)

The following is a transcription of the beginning of the article

Former Resident Drowned in San Francisco Bay

      Relatives in Lehi were notified of the accidental death of Mrs. Grace Martell Starner, 21, on Saturday, May 15th. The young lady was drowned in the San Francisco bay on Saturday.

This article went on to provide a date and place of birth for Grace: She was born April 18, 1916 in Raines, Utah, the daughter of Morris Jenkins Martell and Charlotte Callaway Whimpey Martell.

The article finished: “When the telegram was received here the body had not been recovered from the bay.”

This article had stated her death was accidental.  Yesterday, I was searching for records for Grace on Ancestry.com, and found a Newspaper article attached to a Public Member Tree entry for Grace which had the following header “Women Suicide Body Sent East”.

I then went back to Newspapers.com to see if I could find the article there, and any other articles about her death.

I was able to find the article on Newspapers.com.  The article was from The Times (San Mateo, Calif) – (the full title of the newspaper is The Times and Daily News Leader)., Thursday, June 3, 1937, page 12 – https://www.newspapers.com/image/38949649/

Woman Suicide

Body Sent East

      The body of Mrs. Grace Starner, 23-year-old San Francisco matron, washed ashore yesterday at Mori’s point nearly three weeks after she committed suicide because of some “untold sin,” will be sent to Provo, Utah, tonight for burial.

      Positive identification was made by her husband, Robert Starner, and his brother, Roland Starner, of San Francisco, after viewing a dental chart and a shoe found on the body.

      Mrs. Starner’s husband, a traveling salesman, was unable to explain the suicide note she left before wading into the surf at Thornton beach May 15, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Dan O’Connell.

      He said she often had told him she was lonely and despondent because his business kept him away from home for long periods.

      In her note Mrs. Starner declared that “The penalty of sin is death. So now I’m going to die. I’m rotten to the core. There’s not much sense in staying around and ruining others’ lives.”

      William Crosby & Co. had charge of arrangements for sending the body to Utah.

I also found another article, from when her body was found in The Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California), Wed. June 2, 1937, page 1 – https://www.newspapers.com/image/53713869

Woman’s Body Thought Suicide

SAN MATEO, June 2. – (AP) – The body of an unidentified woman was recovered from the ocean today and Coroner William Crosby said it might be that of Mrs. Grace Starner of San Francisco.

  He said Mrs. Starner, wife of Robert Starner, San Francisco traveling salesman, walked into the ocean May 16 after writing a suicide note.

Background of featured image is a photo from Unsplash – https://unsplash.com/photos/AuXj9CyTA3E Photo by unsplash-logoJenu Prasad