Death Follows Disgrace

 

 

HORSE WHIPPED BY HIS WIFE

[By “Gazette’s” Leased Wire.]

OMAHA, June 29. — Jesse F. Thayer, formerly a captain in the American Volunteers, but lately retired to private life and working at his trade, committed suicide here this morning. He was horse whipped at Lincoln three days ago by his wife from whom he had separated and this is said to have preyed on his mind.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jun 29, 1901

 

Omaha - 16th & Webster (Klondike Hotel) and Jefferson Square (circled)

 

 

DEATH FOLLOWS DISGRACE

CAPTAIN THAYER COMMITS SUICIDE AT OMAHA.

HORSEWHIPPED BY HIS WIFE

Scene on the Streets of Lincoln Led Directly to the Tragedy — Downfall Caused by a Woman.

OMAHA, Neb., June 29. — Humiliated by a public horsewhipping administered by his wife and piqued because his guilty love was unrequited, Captain Jesse F. Thayer, formerly in command of the American Volunteer corps at Lincoln, committed suicide in Jefferson square this morning by taking cyanide of potassium mixed with whisky. Three men saw him compound the draught and drink it off and these say that death followed almost immediately. In his pocket was a letter bidding farewell “To mother and those who love me.”

The body was taken to the undertaking rooms of the coroner and a telegram was sent to the widow, Captain Belle Thayer, 1526 O street, Lincoln, who has succeeded him in command of the Volunteers of that point. Messages were sent to several other relatives.

Captain Thayer came to Omaha from Lincoln last Wednesday with a young woman named Dottie Hashberger, a dressmaker. She found employment in Moore’s restaurant on North Tenth street and did odd jobs about the Thurston hotel. They occupied separate apartments at the Klondike hotel.

About 9 o’clock this morning Thayer was seen sitting on the grass in Jefferson square, near the Cass street entrance. He took from his hip-pocket a half-pint flask, wit ha small amount of whisky in the bottom, removed the cork and poured into the mouth of the bottle some white powder from the palm of his hand. This he shook up carefully and held between his eyes and the light as if to satisfy himself that the drug was thoroughly dissolved. Then he raised it to his lips and drank it off at a single gulp. A moment later he fell back upon the grass. There was no struggle, but those who witnessed the proceeding saw something suspicious in it and ran to him. He was then breathing his last. They called Officer Ryan, who was half a block away, and a doctor was summoned by telephone.

The taking of the poison was witnessed by E.D. Whelon, 817 North Sixteenth street; E. Heatman, 509 North Sixteenth street, and D.B. Tatroe 1010(?) North Sixteenth street.

The suicide was about thirty-two years old, a handsome man of military bearing, neatly but plainly dressed. He was formerly a singer in a traveling light opera company and his talent as a vocalist made him especially valuable to the American Volunteers. He had been married twice. To his widow, Captain Thayer, of Lincoln, he had been married seven years. He was in reduced circumstances financially, and when his clothing was searched in the coroner’s office only 7 cents in money was found in his pockets. He borrowed the money with which he bought the poison of F.J. Preston, aide-de-camp of the Omaha American Volunteers.In room No. 8 of the Klondike hotel, occupied by Miss Hashberger, were found two notes written by Thayer, both addressed to her. One assures her of his unfaltering love and begs her forgiveness and the other requests her to send his effects to his mother, Mrs. William H. Thayer, 127 South Galena avenue, Freeport, Ill.

The letter found in his pocket reads as follows:

June 29 — It is not necessary to go into details why I have done this act, but I have determined to rest, to find quiet(?) rest, where I will not suffer. I have meant to be good, and I was for awhile, but now — well, it is all over. And so I bid farewell to all that is dark and to that which has wrecked the happiness of those I love.

Forgive. I know that my loved ones will suffer for a time, but God in His great love will forgive poor, heart-broken

JESS.

To Mother and those who love me.

While captain of the American Volunteers, Thayer used to frequently tell the crowds that assembled on the street corners the story of how he was saved from suicide four years ago in Des Moines. The story was to the effect that the opera company of which he was a member, was stranded in that city and he was thrown upon his own resources, without money or means of gaining it. He became despondent and one evening started for the river, intending to jump in and end it all.

On the way he heard the American Volunteers singing on the street and paused to listen. The testimonials reached him; one or two seemed exact parallels of his case. He followed the army to its hall and listened to the preaching and the result of it was that he was converted and joined the army itself. The next night his voice, trained for light opera, was heard singing hymns upon the street.

Miss Hashberger, whose home is in Schuvler, was seen at the hotel this morning, when she gave the following account of events immediately preceding the suicide:

“I became acquainted with Captain Thayer and his wife in Lincoln about town months ago, as I was in the habit of attending the Volunteer meetings. I had known him scarcely a week before he began to show me attentions. About this time he left his wife. Then one day he told me he loved me — that I was the only woman he had ever loved, and that he couldn’t live without me. I reminded him of his wife, but he answered that he would not live with her again. I told him I didn’t love him — which was true. I told him I liked him as well as anyone on earth, but that I didn’t love him.

“In spite of this he kept calling on me and improving every possible opportunity to see me and after awhile people began to talk about us. Then his wife gave him a horsewhipping. It was not true, as reported, that I was present at that time, but of course everybody knew that it was because of jealousy for me that Mrs. Thayer did it. This caused our names to be associated more than ever and both of us felt disgraced on that account.

“Captain Thayer had resigned his commission in the American Volunteers and when he asked me to come to Omaha with him I saw nothing to do but to come. Things were getting unpleasant for me in Lincoln. So I consented, and we came. It was with the understanding that I should marry him as soon as he was free to get married.

“For a week or more he has been despondent because I told him I didn’t love him. Yesterday afternoon he repeated the question and when I gave him the same answer, but assured him that I would marry him nevertheless, he told me that he could be satisfied with no such arrangement and threatened to commit suicide. A few hours later he returned with a package marked ‘poison’ and told me he was going to take it. I pleaded with him and finally persuaded him to leave the package with me; also his knife and razor, and this he did, but I learned afterwards that he had opened the parcel and removed enough f the drug for a fatal dose.

“The last I saw of him was about 10 o’clock last night. He was acting very strangely and his friends told me that they had given him a lot of whisky as an antidote for a dose of poison he had taken. That was in his room here in the Klondike hotel.”

Miss Hashberger is a comely woman, perhaps twenty-five years of age. She appears to be deeply affected by the tragic turn of her intrigue.
Lincoln End of the Story.

The news of the death of her husband by suicide reached Mrs. Belle M. Thayer, captain of the American Volunteers’ post in this city, yesterday morning at 10 o’clock. The news came from the Douglas county coroner. Mrs. Thayer at once began preparations for going to Omaha, and left during the afternoon on the Rock Island. She was seen before leaving the city and asked to tell the story that led up to the tragedy. She was much affected by the news, and preferred to say nothing. she did not think the horsewhipping administered by her last Wednesday evening had anything to do with her husband killing himself. She laid the blame for his downfall and death on Miss Dot Hashberger, the young lady who accompanied him to Omaha. She said his mad infatuation for the woman had driven him wild, and that in that state of mind he had ended his life. At that time she knew nothing of the details of the suicide, but she felt sure that he had killed himself because of his intimacy with Miss Hashberger.

Mrs. Thayer said her husbsand’s relatives live in Freeport, Ill. She telegraphed them at once on receipt of the news but had heard nothing from them when she left the city. She said that she and her husband had traveled for several years with an opera company. when they entered the work with the Volunteers he was an earnest Christian. He had grown stronger in the faith the longer he followed the work until he met Miss Hashberger. With him it seemed to be a case of love at first sight. He paid attention to the young woman until his actions began to cause a scandal in the circle of Volunteers. Then he resigned his commission as captain of the post, and his wife succeeded him. He took up his residence at the Walton hotel and began working for a local painter and paperhanger. He never stopped paying his attentions to the young woman and their appearance on the streets together was noted.

Mrs. Thayer had rooms in the Brown block, 1526 O street. When she learned that Miss Hashberger had stopped at the Walton hotel last Tuesday night she at once concluded that the man and woman had occupied the same room, a conclusion that seems to have been in error. The next day she called on her husband at the hotel and found him in the parlor in company with Miss Hashberger. This was more than she could stand. She went out and secured a horsewhip. About 5 o’clock Wednesday evening she met him near the corner of Thirteenth and O streets and administered a whipping to him. He got away from her and went to the depot. He was carrying a grip at the time, supposed to contain Miss Hashberger’s effects. Mrs. Thayer followed him, hoping to find the woman at the train. The woman went away on that train but Mrs. Thayer did not find her. It was said that she went to Omaha and that Thayer followed on a late train.

Since that time Mrs. Thayer has heard nothing from her husband. While she had reason to believe that he was in Omaha she did not know it. He had never written to her. The evening following the horsewhipping scene on the public streets Mrs. Thayer conducted the services at the Volunteers tent on North Fourteenth street. Every evening since that time she had done this work, leading the meeting with a fervor and earnestness that gave little hint of the domestic trouble that was bothering her. She loved Thayer intensely, and the evening after the scene on the streets she told a reporter that should he come back to her repentant and ready to again live right she would forgive him for his misdeeds. When she received the news of his death yesterday she was heartbroken.

Thayer seems to have felt that he had forfeited the love of his wife. In the note left by him he refers to “mother and those who love me.” Not a word was left to his wife.

Mrs. Thayer said yesterday that she had never known him to threaten to take his life, but she had heard that he had talked of it before she married him. She said they had lived at Freport, Ill., Chicago, Des Moines, Kansas City, and Lincoln. They came to Lincoln from Kansas City about April 1. On May 11 he met Miss Hashberger. From that time on he was a different man. Friends of Thayer in this city say he had threatened his life before he went to Omaha to be near his love.

Miss Hashberger worked for a time for Mrs. Alexander in the Hall-Lansing block in this city. IT was because of the devotion of Captain Thayer for her that she was forced to quit this position. Her home is at Schuyler. She has a married sister in this city, who lives on North Fourteenth street. She is twenty-two years of age. It is said that she, too, has threatened to kill herself. She is said to be of a flighty temperament and her friends never attached any importance to her threats which seem to have been made in a jesting manner.

Shortly before going to Omaha Miss Hashberger paid a visit to her parents at Schuyler. Thayer followed her there and was introduced to her relatives.

Friends of the young woman in this city say that she was a good girl, but that her misfortune in meeting Thayer, and in accepting his attentions placed her in a light that she illy deserves. They fear that this tragedy may result in her downfall in one way or another. Her relatives were notified at once to go to Omaha after her, and it is probable that she will be taken to her home at Schuyler.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jun 30, 1901

Funeral of Captain Thayer.

The funeral of Captain Jesse F. Thayer, who committed suicide by taking poison in Jefferson square Saturday morning, was held from the undertaking parlors of Coroner Swanson at 2 o’clock. Interment was at Mount Hope cemetery.

The body could not be sent to Austin, Ill., the home of the deceased, because the necessary funds could not be raised.

Captain Ella Thayer, the widow of the deceased, is very bitter against Miss Dell Hashberger, who came to this city with Thayer. She called yesterday at the Klondike hotel, where Miss Hashberger is staying, and asked to see “the woman that murdered my husband.”

The hotel clerk refused to grant the request, fearing that trouble might result from a meeting of the two women.

“I am going to my home in Mankato, Minn., said Mrs. Thayer, “I shall resign my commission in the Volunteers and give up the work of the organization. I cannot say at present just what my plans will be.”

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jul 2, 1901

Thayer Case Closed.

The last incidents resulting from the suicide of Captain Jesse F. Thayer of the American Volunteers, Lincoln, closed this morning, when the widow, Ella Thayer, and Dottie Hashberger, the young woman with whom the suicide infatuated, left Omaha for their respective homes. Miss Hashberger accompanied her brother Frank to Schuyler, where her parents live. Mrs. Thayer went to Mankato, Minn., where she will rest for a few weeks before resuming her evangelical work in Nebraska.

Both women attended the funeral of Captain Thayer Monday afternoon in the rooms of the coroner and it was observed that Miss Hashberger seemed much more deeply affected than the widow. The latter shed no tears, whereas the former, in spite of her declaration that she did not love the deceased, was shaken with sobs and several times seemed on the verge of fainting. The women did not speak to each other and each was apparently oblivious of the other’s presence.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jul 3, 1901

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