It was midafternoon. Ellen and Elizabeth, with a classmate, were crossing a park when they noticed that an older girl who also attended Portland's Brackett Street School was following them. Carrying a stone, she shouted some angry words. The Harmon children had been taught never to retaliate, so they ran toward home.
As they ran, Ellen turned to see how far behind them the girl was. When she turned, the stone hit her directly in the face. She fell to the ground unconscious, blood streaming from her nose and staining her clothes. Someone gave her first aid in a nearby store. Then a customer, a total stranger, offered to take Ellen home in his carriage. But Ellen, fearing that she might soil his carriage with blood, refused. However, as she made the attempt by foot, she soon became faint and collapsed to the ground. Elizabeth and the classmate managed to carry her home, a block or two away.