On September 22, the Park City Museum will be hosting tours at the Glenwood Cemetery. In anticipation of this event, Museum staff and volunteers are writing a series of articles on the Glenwood and the people who have been buried there. One story is that of Jennie Hover.
Jennie was born in Scotland but came to America to have a better life. She married J.H. Hover and settled in Park City where her husband had a good job. Jennie was happy and contented in her marriage, but desperately wanted children. She and her husband tried unsuccessfully for years. Jennie visited many doctors who told her she was healthy and should be able to conceive. In 1892, she visited Dr. Brown in Park City who told her that her husband had too much “animal magnetism” which was “sapping away her life.” In such a condition, he claimed, she could never have children. This proclamation added to Jennie’s sadness and despair and, according to her husband, “prey[ed] upon her mind.” She grew increasingly “depressed,” “gloomy” and ill.
One morning, Jennie called her neighbor’s daughter Kittie, whom she had seen playing outside, over to the house. Kittie, later reported that Jennie was in her nightgown at the front door and in bed by the time Kittie got inside. Jennie said she was dying and asked Kittie to stay so that she would not be alone, then started convulsing. Understanding that something was desperately wrong, Kittie tried to call for help, but Jennie grabbed the girl by the arms and wouldn’t let her go.
Kittie was eventually able to escape and summon neighbors for help. The neighbors called the doctor and gave Jennie coffee and lemon juice, but it was too late. Dr. Gregor made it to the house, but there was nothing he could do. Jennie died a short time later. A coroner’s inquest determined that the cause of Jennie’s death was self-administered poison.
Though treatment options for mental health and suicidal ideation have improved in the modern era, Jennie’s death was scandalous at the time. The Methodist Church hosted a funeral service and Jennie was buried in the Glenwood Cemetery, but her husband was never able to put a proper headstone on her gravesite.
If you or anyone you know is exhibiting warning signs of suicide including feelings of hopelessness, the sense of having no purpose, or increased withdrawal and isolation from work, friends and family, please seek help. The United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-TALK (8255).
The Park City Museum will be hosting tours of the Glenwood Cemetery on September 22, from 10:45am-12pm and 12:45pm-2pm. If you are interested in learning more about the lives and deaths of the people buried in this historic cemetery, we invite you to join us. Space is limited and reservations are required. Tickets are $15 per person with all proceeds supporting restoration projects at the Glenwood.