They Wrote Their Own Ending: Suicides of Trumbull County Ohio Women

It is always a tragedy when anyone takes their own life. Sadder still is the fact that suicides are increasing year by year. Men resort to suicide more often than women and using more violent methods than their female counterparts to dispatch themselves. Women have been viewed as “long-suffering” and strangers to violence then and even now, but for some women in the distant past, living became too much to bear and they took their fate into their own hands, leaving their friends and family to suffer the effects. These are the stories of a few Trumbull County, Ohio women whose suicides once filled the headlines of the local newspapers.

Rosa Sparks
North Bloomfield, Trumbull County, Ohio
March 25, 1879

Twenty-year-old E. Rosa Sparks allowed the disgrace from her passion to drive her to the grave. Reportedly, she ruined her reputation, by giving herself to an unknown man, most likely feeling that she loved him dearly. He must have not loved her enough to marry her, it’s possible she was pregnant or someone discovered the nature of her relationship, so she despaired. Employed at the Ensign Hotel, she must have fallen for another worker or perhaps a customer, who abandoned her. In any case, another worker discovered her body on the bed in her room. She had fashioned a garotte, a piece of clothesline wound around her neck and tightened with a stick that she twisted with one hand until death enveloped her. So little did she struggle that the bed sheets were hardly wrinkled. She was buried in North Colebrook Cemetery in New Lyme, Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Her family and friends were not content with the coroner’s official cause of death as suicide, believing foul play to have played a part. Her step-father demanded her body to be reexamined, thus her body was exhumed and the contents of her stomach sent for analysis to Cleveland. Unfortunately, nothing came of the inquest and poor Rosa was forgotten with the passage of time.

The Ensign Hotel, also known as the Bloomfield Hotel, used to stand on the Northwest corner of the intersection of routes 87 and 46, in the present location of Gallo’s auto sales.

Nellie Schultz
Niles, Trumbull County, Ohio
May 16, 1910

Nellie Schultz decided at the incredibly young age of nineteen that she no longer wished to live. She had only been married to Enos Schultz for a year, having moved to the area from Pennsylvania shortly before the wedding. Six months into their marriage, the couple moved to Niles from Mineral Ridge when Enos took a job as a craneman at the Deforest Iron and Steel plant. The night of Sunday, May 15th, Nellie fell into a state of despair and swallowed a dram of carbolic acid. She suffered through the night and at last gave up her spirit on Monday morning.

Enos and Nellie’s Niles home, built in 1884

Enos remarried the following year to Annie Rapp and returned to his birthplace in Reading, Pennsylvania. The couple had two children together. Once again, tragedy entered Enos’ life when five years into their marriage, Annie succumbed to tuberculosis. He married for a third time to Elizabeth, who outlived him. Enos and his last two wives were buried in Reading, Pennsylvania. 

Nellie’s burial place is unknown.

Betsey Pratt Storier
Farmdale, Trumbull County, Ohio
June 21, 1912

At 80-years-old, Elizabeth “Betsey” Storier had enjoyed a long life with a wide circle of friends and family. However, after the death of her husband, she fell into the usual listlessness and poor health of the widowed. Rather than slowly succumb to her fate, she decided to leave this world on her own terms.

Betsey began life in Warren County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of  Ambrose and Parmelia Pratt. Ambrose and his wife had hailed from the east coast, Massachusetts and Connecticut respectively, and settled in Brokenstraw Township, Pennsylvania. Betsey was born in Youngsville, a borough of Brokenstraw. The family moved to Gustavus, Ohio in 1835 where Betsey later met and married John Storier in 1852.

When John passed away in 1910, Betsey was not left alone in her grief. Her son William and his wife invited her to live with them at their home nearby in Farmdale. Through the passage of time, ill health prodded Betsy forth into her despair. One morning, her daughter-in-law came upstairs to wake her for breakfast and found Betsy dead on the floor. Sometime in the night, Betsy had wrapped a rope around her neck, tied the other end to the bed post, and leaned in a manner constricting the airflow in her throat. Her suicide sent shockwaves through not only her family, but her community. 

Betsey was laid to rest in Logan Cemetery in Gustavus, Ohio. 

Sarah Effie Scanlon
Niles, Trumbull County, Ohio
September 6, 1913

Sarah Hammon, a 21-year-old stenographer, married Thomas Scanlon in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The couple came to Niles and rented an apartment in the Daughtery Building on the northwest corner of Mainstreet and Park Avenue. Sarah, a member of the German Reformed Church, had many friends and acquaintances but even her wide support system could not save her from her own sense of doom.

Only three weeks into their marriage, Sarah flew into a fit of jealousy over her husband and fell into despair. On Friday, September 4th, she drank a combination of red precipitate and bi-chloride, hoping for a swift end to her pain. Yet the chemicals burned within and sent her into unbearable agony. Despite the intervention of doctors, the internal damage proved too great and Sarah died at 9 o’clock in the morning of September 6th.

Sarah had written two suicide notes, one to her husband and one to her mother, that were later found on the dining table. Within them, she asked forgiveness for her rash actions. Sarah was laid to rest in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Bertha Little Maple 
Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio
July 20, 1933

When a 51-year-old farmer, William Stanley Maple, completed his work in the fields and walked into his home, he expected to see his 54-year-old wife Bertha making supper. Instead, he discovered her limp body hanging from a self-fashioned noose in the stairwell. 

Bertha had been alive after lunchtime when her husband returned to work at 1:30, but she was not well. Bertha had reportedly been in ill-health for some time and despairing of the burden she would be on her family. The country was in the midst of the Great Depression, and though some farmers fared better than other professions, they still suffered along with everyone else. Bertha climbed to the top of her staircase, tied a rope to the balustrade, and placed the noose around her neck. She then leapt forth and plunged downward to her tragic end.

William had married the daughter of George and Sarah Little on March 31, 1907 in Trumbull County. Bertha bore him two sons, George and Kenneth, who were both in their late twenties when their mother committed suicide. Upon her death, she also left behind a grandchild.

Photo copyright Ashley Armstrong

Bertha is buried with her husband at Hillside Cemetery in Bazetta Twp., Trumbull Co., Ohio. William lived to the age of 80.

Despite an exhaustive search, I have been unable to find the location of the Maple’s house because in the 1930’s, rural homes did not have house numbers. I do not know if the farmhouse survives, though many historic homes remain standing in Johnston Twp. If the home is still standing, a deed would exist with William Maple’s name. If the house endures, perhaps Bertha’s spirit dwells in the stairwell, chilling the air on a hot summer’s day.

Lillian Boger Morris 
Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio
February 21, 1940

Lillian Morris arrived at the Esquire Bar where she worked as a waitress at her usual time of 5:40 a.m. The restaurant was owned and operated by her husband, Christ, and was located on the corner of East Market and Pine. Her shift began at 6 a.m., but she would never wait tables that day. She walked behind the bar and grabbed a .38 caliber revolver from a drawer without anyone noticing. The chef and another employee were already at work and watched as she went down to the basement where on any other day she would remove her coat and hat. Instead, she sat down at a table, aimed the revolver at her heart, and fired. The bullet traveled through her body, killing her, and landed in a coal bin behind her. A muscle spasm in her hand caused the gun to go off a second time and the bullet hit the ceiling.

The two men upstairs heard the two bangs but assumed it was a passing auto backfiring. At 6 a.m., the chef walked down into the basement to fetch supplies and discovered Lillian’s bloodied body slumped over the table. He immediately called police.

Friends and family had noticed that Lillian had seemed depressed, but did not seem to have reason to take her own life at the young age of 31. 

Christopher “Christ” Morris, of Grecian descent, married Lillian, the daughter of Marshall Boger and Maggie Bole, on an unknown date. They had no children. In 1927, Christ had been in some kind of trouble, for he was caught giving money to a policeman, Thomas Fagadore,so that he would offer him protection against harm. Perhaps Christ was in trouble again and the fear was too much for Lillian to bear? Or perhaps she simply wasn’t happy with her life for whatever reason? How much I wish she had left a diary behind…or even a suicide note…to tell us what troubled her to the point of casting off her earthly shell.

Photo copyright Ashley Armstrong

Lillian was laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery in Bazetta Twp., Trumbull Co., Ohio. I do not know what became of her husband, Christ, other than the fact that he remarried and was still living in Warren in 1953. Here, you can view a photo of him standing in front of the Esquire Bar.

After some sleuthing, I discovered that the Esquire Bar changed hands and has been known as the Horseshoe Bar to this day. You can still go in for a drink and offer a toast to Lillian. Maybe she’s still there, walking through the restaurant, checking the inventory, observing the patrons and wishing to ask: did they want another round?

Here, you can view a photo of the original Horseshoe Bar after its transformation from Esquire Bar.

Here is a photo of the interior of the Esquire Bar during WWII.

Finally, here is a photo of Horseshoe Bar as it appears today:

Horseshoe Bar on the Corner of East Market and Pine

Hazel Noble
Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio
June 13, 1946

Six years after Lillian’s suicide, another Warren woman took her own life in a similar fashion. Hazel Noble was the daughter of John and Jeanette Hunt. She married Harry Noble and had at least two children, Donald and Jean. She was a school teacher in Ashtabula County for many years before moving to Warren in 1921.

Hazel’s home on Seneca NE built in 1897. It was a law office for some time and is now a private residence.

When Donald went off to war, his parents heard the heartbreaking news that he went missing in action on December 2, 1944. A faint glimmer of hope arrived when the Nobles received a letter from their son that stated he was in a POW camp, but was wounded. When word arrived that 19-year-old Donald had died from blood poisoning on January 24, 1945, Hazel became hopeless and her health rapidly declined.

Hazel pulled herself through life for a year and half before she decided she could go on no longer. One summer day, Hazel brought a .38 caliber revolver down into the basement and shot herself in the stomach. An employee of the real estate office on the first floor heard the blast and went to investigate. After he found the wounded woman, he called for an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. Hazel died a few hours later at the age of 48.

Hazel is buried in Howland Township Cemetery, Trumbull County, Ohio with her husband and son.

The Nobles lived on Seneca NE in an apartment above the Roy Westover Real Estate office. The building still stands to this day and is a private residence. Does Hazel wander the upper floor where she resided or does she linger yet in the basement where she shot herself?


  • Rosa Sparks: Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph in Ashtabula, Ohio, April 11, 1879
  • Rosa Sparks Find A Grave
  • Nellie Schultz suicide: Warren Daily Tribune, May 16, 1910 1:3
  • Enos Schultz Find A Grave
  • Ambrose Pratt living in Brokenstraw Twp., Warren Co., PA, 1820 United States Census,
  • Ambrose Pratt living in Gustavus, Trumbull Co., OH: 1850 United States Census,
  • Betsey Storier Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2021), Betsey Pratt Storier, 21 Jun 1912; citing Kinsman Township, Trumbull, Ohio, reference fn 35410; FHL microfilm 1,953,421.
  • Betsey Storier Obituary: Warren Daily Tribune, June 21 1912 1:6
  • Betsey Storier Find A Grave
  • Sarah Scanlon Suicide: Warren Daily Tribune, Sept 8, 1913 1:3
  • Sarah Scanlon Cause of Death: Warren Daily Tribune, Sep 9, 1913 1:1
  • Sarah Effie Scanlon Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1913 > 54501-57400 > image 758 of 3319.
  • George Maple and Bertha Little Marriage Certificate: “Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch( : 10 February 2018), William S. Maple and Bertha E. Little, 31 Mar 1907; citing Trumbull Co., Ohio, reference 2:3Z3WW26; FHL microfilm 905,554.
  • Bertha Maple Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 8 March 2018), Bertha E Maple, 20 Jul 1933; citing Johnson, Trumbull, Ohio, reference fn 43336; FHL microfilm 1,992,879.
  • Bertha Maple Obituary: Warren Tribune Chronicle, July 21, 1933 1:8
  • Bertha Maple Find A Grave Memorial
  • Lillian Morris Death Certificate: “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 May 2014), Lillian Boger Morris, 21 Feb 1940; citing Warren, Trumbull, Ohio, reference fn 13778; FHL microfilm 2023829.
  • Lillian Morris Obituary: Warren Tribune Chronicle, February 21, 1940, 1:2 and 8:2
  • Lillian Morris Find A Grave Memorial
  • Hazel Noble Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 March 2018), Hazel J Noble, 13 Jun 1946; citing , reference certificate; FHL microfilm 2,372,811.
  • Hazel Noble Obituary: Warren Tribune Chronicle June 14, 1946 1-1
  • Hazel Noble Find A Grave Memorial

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