February 6, 1910
Martinsburg, W. Va., Feb. 2, 1910.
Mr. Virgil Conkling, Kansas City, Mo.
Dear Sir -- I wish you would give me the particulars surrounding my father, "Thomas H. Swope's," death. by doing so you will greatly oblige. Very truly yours, ELMER SWOPE. Care Box 630, Martinsburg, W. Va.
Should the writer of this letter, received by Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling yesterday morning, be able to prove that he is the son of the late Thomas H. Swope, further complications will be added to this already involved case.
The letter was written on a peculiar sort of ruled paper, in an excellent hand, and indicated that the writer had received a fairly good education. It was addressed to Mr. Conkling as the prosecuting attorney, and will be answered in the ordinary course of office business on Monday.
"I was greatly surprised by the receipt of the letter," said Mr. Conkling. "The writer is not illiterate, and the manner in which the request is made indicates that he believes that possibly he is the son of the late Colonel Swope.
"The letter differs from the ordinary run of those from lost heirs, in that the writer makes a single simple statement and asks for information . The usual letters breathe strongly of the relationship which they declare existed at one time or another, and of troubles in families, discarded wives, and all the rest of the gamut of human emotion.
"The writer of this letter apparently means business. I know nothing whatever as to his claims that he is a son of Colonel Swope, as we all believe that Colonel Swope never married. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the man is a son, but of course it is extremely improbable that he is. I will reply to this letter Monday and give the writer such information as I have on hand."
The receipt of the letter created a flurry among the friends of the late Colonel Swope when the fact became known. They denied the claim of the writer, and declared that he perhaps was of that name but that he could not possibly be a son of the late Colonel Swope.