Posts Tagged ‘Suicide’

Edmund Norman Leslie: Genealogical Maniac

August 24, 2012

Image from Skaneateles: History of its Earliest Settlement and Reminiscences of Later Times –  by Edmund Norman Leslie (HATHI TRUST Digital Library)



Skaneateles Man is 92 Years Old and Has an Estate Valued at $100,000 — Petition Filed to Have Him Declared Incompetent.

Edmund Norman Leslie, a well know Skaneateles nonagenarian, is said to have a mania for looking up the genealogical history of his acquaintances. Skaneateles people, as a rule, are proud of their ancestry, therefore, there is nothing significant in proceedings which have been started to have the aged man declared incompetent and a committee appointed to care for his property or person.

Of course, there are some people who send their family skeleton back into its hole the moment any effort is made to bring the bony creature from its closet. Not that it would make any difference, perhaps. A black sheep or two among a long line of ancestors is more the rule than the exception, but there are some who favor not some outsider delving into the family secrets.

Nothing like that in Skaneateles. No objection was made to Mr. Leslie’s publishing a book, which was a historical review of Skaneateles with a sketch of some length of some of the more prominent families. The book was well received and Mr. Leslie was encouraged to continue his research into family histories.

Whatever Mr. Leslie discovered will not reach the public, however, because proceedings have been started to have the aged Skaneateles historian declared incompetent and a petition for the appointment of a committee has been made to County Judge W M. Rose by Attorney Martin F. Dillon of Skaneateles.

Mr. Leslie is 92 years old and has an estate valued at $100,00. He is part owner of the Mansion House at Buffalo. The committee for him has not been named.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Jul 4, 1908

Skaneateles, May 17. — The last chapter of the old Mansion House in the city of Buffalo was closed last Monday when Martin F. Dillon as executor and trustee under the last will [and testament of Edmund Norman Leslie] conveyed the same to the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad company. For nearly sixty years one half of the same was owned by Edmund Norman Leslie of the village of Skaneateles.

Edmund Norman Leslie was the son of Captain and Mrs. David Leslie. Captain Leslie was born in Scotland in September, 1780, in the parish of Monimail, Fishire. He became a noted ship captain and upon his retirement took up his residence at New Bedford, Mass. He had two children. Henry and Edmund Norman Leslie. Captain Leslie died in New York in 1835.

Edmund Norman Leslie also became a ship master and many time sailed around the  Horn. He retired from business and came to Skaneateles in 1851. He married Millicent A. Coe, who died March 15th, 1890. Mr. Leslie was a sturdy Scotchman and believed in doing right to all his fellowmen. He took a great deal of interest in village affairs and political battles were waged by him. He was president of the village of Skaneateles in 1895 and 1896. He prevented the Skaneateles Water Works company from forcing the sale of its property on the village and in the face of its opposition guided the village while it constructed a new system. During his term of office, he also granted the franchise to the Syracuse & Auburn Electric Railroad company, preparing the franchise himself. He was also identified with the establishing of the Lake View cemetery, the Skateateles Library association and other enterprises identified with the village. He was good to the poor and each year would call upon the coal dealers to ascertain whether or not there were any poor people on their list in need of fuel.

After the death of his wife, Millicent A. Leslie, he acquired an additional interest in the Mansion house in the city of Buffalo. Mr. Leslie died at his home in Genesee street in the village of Skaneateles November 30th, 1908, at the age of 94 years. His only relatives were distant cousins, one of whom married Lieutenant Edward F. Qualtrough; another married Lieutenant Harrison, U.S.A., who at the time of his death had charge of Forrtress Monroe, and another married Lieutenant Mann who was killed in the Indian war.

The history of the same is quite romantic.

Image from The History of Buffalo

History of Mansion House.

In the early “forties” Belah D. Coe owned and operated many mail and stage routes, which terminated in Buffalo. To accommodate his passengers, he built the Mansion house, which contained 285 rooms. It was a brick building and substantially fireproof, the partitions also brick, extending from the cellar to the garret. For many years, it was operated by W.E. Stafford, who became famous as a hotel man, and who went to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Belah D. Coe was a bachelor, and at his death in 1854, by his will, this property went to two nieces and a nephew, being Millicent A. Marshall of Buffalo, Millicent A. Leslie and Edward B. Coe of Skaneateles, and to the heirs of their body. In the event of the death of any of these people with out issue, the share was to be divided between the Buffalo Orphan asylum and the Auburn Theological seminary.

Edward B. Coe left home in 1840. He was declared judicially dead in 1857, and the share of his portion in the Mansion house went to the Buffalo Orphan asylum and to his sister, Millicent A. Leslie, as the Auburn Theological seminary could not, by its charter, take and hold real estate. After the disappearance of Edward B. Coe in 1849, he became a sailor and drifted into South Africa, where he was sold as a slave. His brother-in-law, Edmund Norman Leslie, never believed him dead. He obtained from the Department of State of Washington, the name and location of all the United States consuls and commercial agents in all parts of the world. He had a circular printed in red and black letters offering a reward of $200 for any information of Edward B. Coe, at the same time giving a minute description of his person, particularly that he had his name tatoed on his left arm. These circulars were mailed to every United States consul in all parts of the world.

Edward B. Coe Returns.

In 1891 Edward B. Coe returned and then began the fight to recover the property left him by his uncle’s will. During the argument in court, the presiding judge intimated that, having been declared judicially dead, he had no standing in court, to which his counsel, the late William H. Seward, replied: “If such a decision is to be law in this case, Edward B. Coe, who is sitting here in the presence of this court, can go into the street and commit murder and you cannot punish him, because he has been declared judicially dead.” This argument restored the property to Edward B. Coe. He lived here for several years, but meeting business reverses, he mortgaged his property to the late Charles Pardee, who afterward acquired the same by mortgage foreclosure. IN 1875 Charles Pardee committed suicide, and this property went by his will to his daughter, Mary E. Moses.

Edward B. Coe left Skaneateles for Philadelphia at which time the steamer “Queen of the Pacific” was about to leave for San Fransisco by the way of Cape Horn. After a voyage of about six weeks he reached San Francisco. The “Queen” then commenced regular trips from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, carrying freight and passengers. He remained on this vessel until September 5th, 1883, at which time he became despondent and fastening a large heavy lantern to his arm jumped overboard and wen to the bottom of the Pacific ocean.

About that time the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad company acquired a portion of the property by condemnation, and the award was paid in court, upon the application to withdraw the same, by Millie Coe, the daughter of Edward B. Coe, then a girl 17 years of age. This indeed was a battle royal. The question raised was that she had an estate tail in this property, and her father, not having the title in fee simple, could not deprive her of it. The opposition contended that the statue of 1786 eliminated the estate tail in this country.

The legal giants of that time were employed on either side, Benoni Lee of Skaneateles, L.R. Morgan of Syracuse, P.R. Cox of Auburn, Spencer Clinton and Charles D. Marshall of Buffalo.

The court finally held that Miss Coe had no interest in the property. A short time after this decision, Edmund Norman Leslie acquired that interest and held the same at the time of his death in his ninety-fourth year. By his will, he devised the same in trust to Martin F. Dillon of Skaneateles, who has for two months been engaged in perfecting the title, and the deed was finally delivered last Monday.

The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad company will tear down the old structure and use the land for a new $10,000,000 terminal. This will be the end of an old landmark, which had stood for nearly three-quarters of a century, during which time guests from all nations of the world have been entertained.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) May 18, 1913

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Jun 18, 1913

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York)  Dec 28, 1914

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Apr 14, 1916

*  *  *  *  *

An excerpt from a bio of the “genealogical maniac” posted on an message board:

Upon his removal to Skaneateles the want of active employment induced him to take up the subject of the early history of the town and village. He obtained two ledgers which had been kept by early merchants of 1805 and 1815 respectively, and from them secured the names of nearly all the earliest settlers, especially those who made their purchases here. He collected and preserved some very valuable historical matter concerning the locality, which was first published in a series of papers in the Democrat, afterward copied in the Free Press, and later printed in book form by Charles P. Cornell, of Auburn, N. Y.

Mr. Leslie furnished entirely from his own collections the only complete list of the names of 364 union volunteers who enlisted from the town of Skaneateles, or enlisted elsewhere, but belonged to this town, giving rank, company, and regiment, in alphabetical order, which list was published in the Free Press. He has also collected some of the most valuable files of original local newspapers, had them bound in volumes, and presented them to the Skaneateles Library Association for preservation. He has erected a beautiful memorial tablet in St. Jame’s church in memory of the sons of that church who lost their lives in defense of the Union. He has also published several series of the lives of early prominent residents of the town, notably of Lydia P. Mott, a prominent promoter of female education, who established ‘The Friend’s Female Boarding School,” which was known as “The Hive.” Many of the ladies of Auburn and surrounding country were educated at this school, which was discontinued about seventy years ago. Mr. Leslie’s labor is of a character that will survive and perpetuate his memory to coming generations. All of his valuable historical work has been done gratuitously.

Poor Imogene

July 28, 2012


Down by the river — the dark surging river,
Where the waters fretfully foam,
Where the flexile willows bend and quiver,
And the long marsh grasses sigh and shiver
And the watersnakes make their home.

There, bearing a load of shame and sorrow,
A scoffed and tainted name,
Bowed by a grief that may not borrow
A ray of peace from the hopes of to morrow
The hapless Imogene came.

Here was a face the sweetest and fairest,
Deep eyes of the softest blue,
A winsome mien and a grace the rarest;
To see her but once was to love her the dearest,
And warm was her heart and true.

And once was the life of this beautiful maiden
As pure as the angel’s are,
The wings of her morning came joyously laden,
And sweet were her thoughts as the breezes of Aiden,
Unvexed by a shadow of care.

And thus as she stood in her virginal bower
The ruthless spoiler came;
He wove round her being this treacherous power,
And then, like a crushed and faded flower,
He left her alone in her shame.

And now to her breast may come again never
The peace which innocence knows;
One moment she kneels by the deep surging river,
One moment she plunges, then darkly forever
The cold waters over her close.


The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 25, 1882

When Seth Got Home

June 13, 2012

A Touching Ditty in Prose.

When Seth got home from mackereling, he sought his Sarah Ann, and found that she, the heartless one, had found another man. And then most awful tight he got, and so he went away, and bound himself to go and out live oak in Florida.

He pined upon the live oak lands; he murmured in the glades; his axe grew heavy in his hands, all in the wild-wood shades. Mosquitoes bit him everywhere, no comfort did he get; and oh! how terribly he’d swore, whenever he’d get bit.

At last, despairing of relief, and wishing himself dead, he went into the woods apiece, and chopped off his own head!

Thus died poor Seth. So said Bullfrog.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Jul 12, 1856


June 9, 2012



Shady tree,
Babbling brook,
Girl in hammock,
Reading book,
Golden curls,
Tiny fee,
Girl in hammock
Looks so sweet.
Man rides past,
Big Moustache,
Girl in hammock
Makes a “Mash.”
Mash is mutual,
Day is set,
Man and maiden
Married get.


Married now,
One year ago,
Keeping house
On Baxter Row.
Red hot stove,
Beefsteak frying,
Girl got married,
Cooking, trying,
Cheeks all burning,
Eyes look red;
Girl got married,
Nearly dead,
Biscuit burnt up,
Beefsteak charry;
Girl got married,
Awful sorry.
Man comes home,
Tears moustache,
Mad as blazes;
Got no hash.
Thinks of hammock
In the lane,
Wishes maiden
Back again.
Maiden also
Thinks of swing,
Wants to go back,
Too, poor thing!


Hour of midnight,
Baby squawking,
Man in sock feet,
Bravely walking,
Baby yells on,
Now the other
Twin he strikes up,
Like his brother.
By the bottle,
Emptied into
Baby’s throttle.
Naughty tack
Points in air,
Waiting some one’s
Foot to tear,
Man in sock feet —
See him — there!
Holy Moses!
Hear him swear!
Raving crazy,
Gets his gun,
Blows his head off,
Dead and gone.


Pretty widow
With a book,
In the hammock
By the brook.

*   *   *   *

Man rides past,
Big moustache;
Keeps on riding,
Nary mash.

— Author Unknown.

Freeborn County Standard (Albert Lea, Minnesota) Jun 1, 1882

Frank Rand- Notorious Murderer

April 30, 2012

Image from Illinois Genealogy Trails


This Notorious Murderer Kills the Deputy Warden of Joliet, Ill., Prison.

Joliet, Ill., March 1. — A murderous assault was made upon Capt. John McDonald, deputy warden of the penitentiary here, this afternoon. The assassin is a notorious desperado name Frank Rand. Deputy McDonald in going his rounds entered the collar shop where Rand works. As customary, McDonald stopped at the desk of Keeper Madden to receive his report. While the deputy was talking with the keeper Rand snapped his finger at his keeper and raised his hand, giving the signal for a request to go to the closet. Madden nodded assent, and resumed conversation with the deputy, whose back was turned on Rand. The keeper also turned his back to Rand to give an order to another convict. Instantly Rand, who was crossing the room, picked up a heavy iron poker three feet long, rushed upon Deputy McDonald and struck him on the head with all his force, smashing in his skull. McDonald dropped senseless. Rand shouted “I have killed the son __ ______ at last,” and drew a large knife. Keeper Madden rushed up to Rand and received a terrible gash in an arm, but held Rand until two life convicts, Demolin and Roab, came to his assistance, and Rand was hurled violently to the floor.

Hearing an alarm, Assistant Deputy Warden Garvin and Keeper Ed McDonald, brother of the attacked deputy, rushed in and the convict Roab was on top of Rand and had the life nearly choked out of him. When Garvin ordered him off, Roab begged to be allowed to choke him to death. Rand rising staggered toward the door and made a quick plunge; grabbing a knife on the table, he turned desperately on Deputy Garvin, who broke a heavy cane over Rand’s head, cutting him terribly. Pulling a revolver, Garvin shot Rand in the side, then grabbed the convict by the throat. While holding him thus, Keeper McDonald frantically drew his revolver, placed the muzzle at Rand’s right ear, and fired. Rand fell. Deputy McDonald and Rand was carried to the hospital. An examination showed McDonald’s skull terribly crushed. Pieces of skull were removed, leaving the brain exposed two inches long and one wide. He will die. Rand was unconscious a long time. It is not known how dangerously he was wounded. On recovering consciousness, Rand said: “I am Jesus Christ, and was sent to rid this prison of that cruel deputy. I think I have done it.” Rand continued, “I left a broad trail of blood all the way to prison when I came here. To do so I killed nine men. This makes my tenth.” Deputy Garvin says responsibility for McDonald’s death rests upon the jury which sent him Rand to the penitentiary instead of hanging him. During the terrible struggle the convicts behaved admirably.

Tribune’s Joliet, Ill., special: Deputy Warden McDonald, who was assaulted by Frank Rand, is still very low, although his friends think there is a fair chance for his recovery. When asked why he had assaulted the deputy, Rand said: “He was cruel to me. I suffered like a being in hell while he confined me in the solitary. I had a vision from God in which I was told to “kill the deputy.” The physicians have not yet probed for the ball in Rand’s head. The other wounds are not serious. Rand is fully posted on the result of the recent trial of Convict Mooney, the murderer of his cell-mate, is up to all the insanity dodges, and has begun to get in his insane talk and actions this early, for the purpose of carrying out a plan he has evidently concocted to be declared insane and sent to an insane asylum. This is the motive for his attack on Deputy McDonald.

The Standard (Albert Lea, Minnesota) Mar 12, 1884

From the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois:

Mr. Tunnicliff ranks high as a lawyer, and when he was State’s Attorney, he prosecuted several criminal cases of national notoriety. He prosecuted John Marion Osborn for murder, who was hanged at Knoxville, March 14, 1873, — being the first and only criminal suffering capital punishment in Knox County. He also prosecuted the notorious “Frank Rand,” known as the “Bandit of the Wabash,” who was sentenced to the penitentiary at Joliet for life, where he tried to murder the Deputy Warden and afterwards hung himself in his cell.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Mar 8, 1884

Hidden Treasure near Franktown

April 13, 2012

Image from the Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection

Hidden Treasure.

Franktown in a Blaze of Excitement.
$85,000 Buried By a Highwayman — Efforts to Find the Sack of Money — What the Spirits Say About the Matter — History of the Search.

[From our own Correspondent]

For the past few days Franktown has been the scene of a great excitement over a supposed hidden treasure. Men, women and children have been hunting in the mountains for it. The story about the treasure has been known for the past twenty-five years. It is as follows: Some time in 1850 a man was tried and convicted of murder. Before his execution he made a confession, of which this is the substance:


I had been a highway robber on the plains for years and had accumulated eighty-five thousand dollars. I started back to California to take a  steamer for the East. In November I reached Washoe valley, and seeing that a storm was brewing, I feared that I could not cross the mountains to California, so concluded to bury my money. I therefore buried it, back of Franktown, above what is known as the old Mormon mill, with the intention of returning for it in the spring. Not being satisfied with my gains, I went on the road again. Now here I stand, convicted of murder and doomed to die.


The above story is as told to me by a man who heard it, and who came to Washoe valley on purpose to seek the buried treasure. He came in 1858 or ‘9 and was well known to your correspondent and to all the old settlers in the valley. Failing in his search, he left in disgust for parts unknown. For years nothing has been openly said about the treasure, although it has been searched for from time to time by several parties.


It has been known here for several days taht a prominent spiritualist from California, not at all acquainted with this section of the country, has described the exact location of the Morgan mill, and that he has led many up the side of the mountain to look after a fortune. Your correspondent has had an interview with Mrs. Bowers, “the Washoe Seeress,” and she says there is treasure hidden somewhere near Franktown. As she was here in ’54, she remembers well the story about the treasure. But strange to say, when she calls on her spirit friends, none of them are able to tell her the exact locality of the deposit. Even her deceased husband and brother, whom she claims to be her constant companions, say they know nothing about it. The spiritual Mr. Bowers tells her that if he did, he would be sure to tell her, as he knows she needs money.


Maurice May had an idea that he knew where the treasure was hidden. So about 5 o’clock last Sunday morning, he and a confidential friend started out with pick and shovel to become suddenly rich. They at last reached the proper place to dig when, lo and behold, there they found a hole about four feet deep, and all that remained of the treasure was a dollar and a half, lying on the ground near the hole, an evidence that some one had been before them in the search. On the way home Maurice looked so disappointed to think that some of our Franktown Christians had robbed him of Eighty-Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Eight Dollars and fifty cents that a favorite dog failed to recognize him. The dog bit him and May shot the animal. It is hinted around that May suspects Judge Harcourt and Constable Frank Wooten of robbing him of the treasure that was as good as his, so that a double duel may soon be expected.


Franktown, Feb. 10, 1880.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Feb 11, 1880


Charles F. Wooten Takes Poison at Victoria.

A Victoria (B.C.) dispatch, dated October 19t, contains the following of local interest: “Charles F. Wooten came to Victoria on the 18th of August from Virginia, Nev., and has been lodging at the Pritchard House ever since, under the assumed name of C.F. Whittaker. He has been living very quietly here and was very reticent, though claiming to be a mining man and at one time amalgamator at the United States Mint at Virginia, Nev. He retired very early Wednesday night, and his room was not disturbed till this morning, when its occupant was found dead. A bottle containing opium in liquid was found on the bureau. A Coroner’s jury returned a verdict of suicide by poison. The following letter was left by Wooten:

To Any lodge F.&A.M. of Victoria, B.C.:

Please give me a decent burial. I am a member and P.M. of Washoe City, Nev., U.S.A., and send your bill to my lodge. You will please inform James Twaddle, Tulare City, Tulare county, Cal., of this, and instruct him to tell my wife. I ask her forgiveness. No one to blame but myself. This is a cold world. Good-bye, Josie, good-bye. May God bless you and protect you. I have disgraced you, that is all. Frank.


Known in Victoria as Whittaker. Good-bye, my love; good-bye. FRANK.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Oct 23, 1888

The article mentions both Mormon Mill and Morgan Mill. I am not sure if this whole thing is made up (correspondent’s name is Chuck-A-Luck, after all) or if one of the mill names is a typo, as there appears to have been both a Mormon mill and a Morgan mill, although Morgan Mill was in Empire, Nevada, which is about 90 miles a way, give or take a few, so I am inclined to think he means Mormon Mill, which according to the page below, was owned by Orson Hyde, a Mormon.

Title: The history of Nevada, Volume 1
Editor: Sam Post Davis
Publisher: The Elms Publishing Co., Inc., 1913
Page 232 (google book link)

Here are two news clips mentioning the Morgan Mill:

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Sep 5, 1877

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 27, 1883

The Mormon mill was a sawmill, while the Morgan mill processed ore. If I were to bury a fortune, I wouldn’t do it near a mill where they process ore, for fear some of the miners or other workers might find it.

Read more about Franktown here:

Title: General history and resources of Washoe County, Nevada, published under the auspices of the Nevada Educational Association
Compiled by: N. A. Hummel
Edition: reprint
Publisher: Sagebrush Press, 1969, 1888
FRANKTOWN – Page 10 (google book link)

School Will Be the Death of Me

August 16, 2011


Hanged Himself Rather Than Go Back to School.

Newark, N.J., June 10. — The body of Charles Chadwick, nine years old, who committed suicide by hanging in the cellar of his home, 84 Seventh avenue, rather than go back to school because the principal had threatened to send him to a reformatory, lay in its little white draped coffin in the darkened parlor on the first floor.

Charles was sent home from school because his coat was torn. His sister Cora, aged twelve, went home with him. His mother told him to go back to school. Charles left the house, but returned again at 2 o’clock. He begged his mother not to send him back to school, but Mrs. Chadwick insisted. Once more Charles left the house, and that was the last seen of him until shortly after 9 o’clock in the evening his father found him hanging in the cellar dead.

“If I had only known,” said Mrs. Chadwick, “how much he really feared going back to school I wouldn’t have made him go. He told me that his principal had threatened to send him to a reform school, where he could never see me or his father again until he was twenty-one years old, but I thought it was only an excuse to stay away. Now I know that it was his fear that he would never see me again that made him want to stay at home.”

Adams County News (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 11, 1910


Mother Sends Him to School and He Commits Suicide.

Newark, N.J., June 9. — The police today declare that the suicide of nine-year-old Charles Chadwick was one of the most carefully planned they ever had to deal with, and marvel that a child of such tender years could have executed it.

The lad had been sent home from school. He told his mother if he were sent back he would kill himself. She laughed at his remark, dressed him anew and sent him back to school.

The boy went to the rear of the house and entered the cellar. There he removed his collar and tie, looped a rope about a beam in the ceiling and deliberately hanged himself.

The Marion Daily Star (Marion, Ohio) Jun 9, 1910

Death Follows Disgrace

October 19, 2010




[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)






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


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

Taylorville Teacher Takes Own Life

July 6, 2010


John Harmon Hangs Self Early Today.

Taylorville, March 13 — John B. Harmon, manual training teacher in the city schools of Taylorville, committed suicide by hanging himself in the barn loft early Tuesday morning at his home here. He used a double strand of baling wire. His wife and family of seven children are grief stricken and can give no reason for his act.


He left no word, but it is supposed the suicide was the result of worry over his position as it was nearing the time of the end of the year. Mr. Harmon was a man that worried considerably over small matters. A member of the board of education said this morning that he had no reason to worry about his position as there was no question but that he would have been re-employed for the place.

Mr. Harmon got up at 5 o’clock to build the fire. When he did not return his wife sent their son Joy, aged thirteen, to the barn to see about the father. The boy found his father hanging in the barn dead and took the body down himself without any assistance. Harmon had climbed up on a pile of hay and tied the wire around his neck, then jumped down.

After the boy had taken the body down he went to the house and told the family.

Harmon Family - 1910 Census - Taylorville IL


Mr. Harmon had been a teacher here for thirteen years. This was the tenty-sixth year he had taught. Last year he qualified for the teacher’s pension, though he did not receive any pension because he had not yet retired from active service.

He was born in Jefferson county, Dec. 20, 1862. His father was a native of Carolina. He began teaching when he was fifteen years old. He was a deacon in the Christian church, assistant superintendent of the Sunday school, and for a number of years was superintendent of the Hewittville Sunday school. He was a member of the Masonic lodge at Dix.

He is survived by his wife and seven children, Waldo B., Nancy I., Jessie, Ruby, June and Joy, twins, and Russell. He also leaves a sister Mrs. Mary E. Harvey who made her home with them. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 13, 1917