February 11, 1910
DR. HYDE CHARGED
WITH MURDER IN
THE FIRST DEGREE.
Colonel Swope's Nephew by
Marriage Formally Accused
OUT UNDER $50,000 BOND.
Special Grand Jury Convenes
Saturday to Investigate
BIG LIBEL SUIT DROPPED.
By Dismissing Proceedings,
Dr. Hyde Avoids Giving
DR. B. CLARK HYDE.
Dr. B. Clark Hyde, whose wife is a niece of the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope, was formally charged in a warrant issued yesterday afternoon by Justice of the Peace Loar at Independence, with having caused the death of Colonel Swope by poison.
Dr. Hyde was arrested in the office of Marshal Joel Mayes at 4 o'clock and an hour later gave bond in the sum of $50,000 before Justice Loar. The hearing is set for February 17.
The surties on the bond are M. D. Scruggs, vice president of the Kansas City Live Stock Commission Company; Fernando P. Neal, president of the Southwest National bank, and Herbert F. Hall, presiden tof the Hall-Baker Grain Company. Frank P. Walsh, John M. Cleary, John H. Lucas, attorneys for Dr. Hyde, and William McLaughlin joined in signing the bond, which was twice as large as was suggested by Prosecutor Conkling.
SPECIAL GRAND JURY CALLED.
Two hours prior to the issuance of the warrant, Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the riminal court ordered that a special grand jury be convened to examine into the deaths of Colonel Thomas H. Swope, Chrisman Swope and other members of the Swope family who died of typhoid fever, including Moss Hunton, who died suddenly in the Swope home.
Marshal Joel Mayes was busy yesterday selecting a list of names of men who will be asked to serve on this grand jury. The jury will be convened Saturday morning when Judge Latshaw will instruct them in their duties.
The refusal of Dr. Hyde to appear at the Reed offices yesterday morning so that his deposition could be taken in his libel suits for $600,000 against the Pulitzer Publishing Company and the dismissal by the attorneys of the suit when they learned that an attachment had been issued for Dr. Hyde, precipitated the criminal proceedings.
The information was sworn to by John G. Paxton of Independence, the executor of the Swope estate. On the reverse of the warrant was a request by Prosecutor Conkling for an immediate arrest.
BIG LIBEL SUIT DROPPED.
The scenes of activity in the Swope case yesterday were kaleidoscopic. The legal sparring began in the morning when attemts to take depositions in the offices of Atwood, Reed, Yates, Mastin & Harvey on one hand and Frank P. Walsh on the other failed because the witnesses subpoenaed were not present.
Following the issuance of an attachment by the Reed forces came the dismissal of his suit for $600,000 damages.
The dismissal of the libel suit in which the Reed forces had obtained a prior right to taking depositions was not wholly a surprise, but it roused the attorneys for the Swope estate to activity. It was shortly after 10 o'clock a. m. when the attorneys and the women witnesses in the case gathered in the Reed offices. George H. Roberts, the notary, had failed to arrive and he was found in the court house. He had not expected the case to be called. Dr. Hyde had not arrived and it was determined to ask for an attachment. This was issued and a deputy sheriff began a search for Dr. Hyde.
JUDGE LATSHAW ACTS.
It did not take long for this news to reach the Walsh offices and John M. Cleary was dispatched to Independence. There the suit alleging libel against the Pulitzer Publishing Company, John G. Paxton, Dr. E. L. Stewart and Frank G. Hall was dismissed. The sheriff was notified and recalled the deputy who had been unable to find Dr. Hyde. the latter was ensconced in a private apartment of Mr. Walsh's offices. The news of the dismissal of the suit did not sit well with the attorneys for the Swope estate. There was a conference between Reed, Atwood, Maston and Paxton. It terminated at the office of Prosecutor Conknling.
It was at this juncture that Judge Ralph S. Latshaw entered the case. He went into conference with the attorneys and a quarter of an hour later declared that he would convene a special grand jury on Saturday monrning.
In the meantime Mr. Paxton had gone to Mr. Walsh's office. He said that he was sorry that he had caused the attorneys any embarrassment, but that he had a great deal of private business to attend to. He would greatly appreciate the favor of being excused until 2:30 p. m. Mr. Walsh conferred with Judge Johnson, and returning to the room, told Mr. Paxton that they would excuse him until 2:30 p. m.
Then Mr. Paxton got busy. Mr. Reed arranged for an interview with County Prosecutor Virgil Conkling. It did not take the attorneys long to arrive at a decision. This was that Mr. Paxton should swear to the information and that Prosecuting Attorney Conkling would recommend an issuance of a warrant charging Dr. Hyde with murder.
Before Prosecuting Attorney Conkling departed for Independence he called up Mr. Walsh on the telephone and asked him to have Dr. Hyde in the office of County Marshal Joel Mayes at 4 p. m. as he desired to serve a warrant on him at that time. Mr. Walsh promised to have his client there at the appointed time.
Dr. Hyde was not at the Walsh offices when this message came and caught his attorneys somewhat by surprise. They were getting ready to take the deposition of Mr. Paxton. Dr. Hyde was notifed over the telephone to come to the Walsh offices and then Mr. Cleary was given the job of finding bondsmen for Mr. Hyde. He was only a few minutes later than 4 p. m. in getting the signatures of the three businessmen to the bond which was made out in blank.
The warrant was issued at 3:30 o'clock on the application of J. G. Paxton in the office of Justice of the Peace Loar of Independence. Mr. Paxton was accompanied to the office of Justice Loar in the Jackson County Bank building by T. J. Mastin. Virgil Conkling indorsed the information. "I hereby approve of complaint and request that a warrant be issued," affixing his signature to the back of the document.
"I suggest that the bond be fixed at $25,000," said the prosecutor. "I believe that is sufficient in this case as there are certain contingencies which lead me to believe that a greater bond is not necessary." Justice Loar also was informed by the prosecutor that he could do as he pleased as to the amount of the bond, but that the state would be satisfied with that amount.
LEAVES WITH WARRANT.
Justice Loar upon the receipt of complaint at once was given another paper by Virgil Conkling which proved to be a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Hyde. In the body of the warrant the wording was identical with that in the complaint, and after being signed by the justice of the peace, who ordered it delivered to the marshal of Jackson county, the prosecutor and Attorneys Mastin and Paxton left in an automobile for Kansas City with the warrant.
Prosecutor Conkling stated that he had placed in the warrant that the preliminary examination would be held February 17.
Justice Loar stated that if the defendant waived preliminary examination he would commit him to jail, but if not he would accept the bond which it was expected Dr. Hyde would give.
Shortly before 4 p. m. Mr. Walsh and Mr. Lucas took their client to the criminal court building. Dr. Hyde was smiling. They hastened to Mr. Conkling's office where they remained until they were told that Mr. Conkling and Mr. Paxton had returned from Independence and were in the marshal's office.
Prosecutor Conkling handed the warrant to Marshal Mayes and told him Dr. Hyde would be in the office in a few minutes.
"Is your name B. Clark Hyde?" inquired Marshal Mayes of Dr. Hyde a few monents later when he was brought into the office by Attorneys Walsh and Lucas.
Dr. Hyde nodded his head in reply.
WAIVES READING WARRANT.
"I have a warrant which I am directed to serve on you. Shall I read it?" Marshal Mayes inquired.
"We waive the reading of the warrant," spoke up Attorney Walsh and the party including Dr. Hyde smiled.
Dr. Hyde and Marshal Mayes entered into a conversation on temporal subjects. The afternoon was delightful, remarked the marshal.
Prosecuting Attorney Conkling and Attorneys Walsh and Lucas drew to one side of the room.
"I have recommended that Justice Loar take a bond of $25,000 for the appearance of Dr. Hyde at the preliminary hearing which has been set for a week from today," said Mr. Conkling.
COULD MAKE IT A MILLION.
"That is satisfactory to us," replied Mr. Walsh. "Mr. Cleary is out now and will be here very shortly with a bond that will be good for a million dollars if necessary.
"That is not necessary," replied Mr. Conkling. "I have suggested a bond which I deem sufficient."
Attorneys Conkling, Walsh and Lucas then withdrew to the outer office, leaving Dr. Hyde with Marshal Mayes.
"I am very much interested in knowing what they are going to do with me next," said Dr. Hyde to Marshal Mayes.
"Do we have to go to Independence, and will I have to stay there all night?" asked Dr. Hyde.
"If your attorneys are unable to get bond for you, you will remain with me tonight. If they do get bond, you will go to Independence with me and then go on home," said Marshal Mayes.
Dr. Hyde was inclined to be almost talkative while in the marshal's office. He talked on almost any subject not pertaining to the case, and his face, for the first time during the week, was wreathed in smiles.
About 4:30 p. m. Mr. Walsh suggested that the party depart for Independence, as he expected Mr. Cleary had already started there. Assistant Prosecutor Jost accompanied the party in the Walsh automobile, representing Mr. Conkling. A moment later they were on their way to Independence.
At 5:15 o'clock a large automobile glided up to the bank building at Independence. In it was the county marshal, having in custody Dr. Hyde. Accompanying the party were Frank P. Walsh, John Cleary and John H. Lucas. They immediately went to the office of Justice Loar.
Dr. Hyde followed his lawyers closely, and as soon as he entered stepped to one side, and motioning to a newsboy, bought an evening paper, scanning the headlines. Not once did he raise his eyes, but kept them riveted on the columns which contained the latest developments in his case. After reading the full account, he turned the paper over and reread it.
MAYES SIGNS RETURN.
County Marshal Joel Mayes drew up his chair to the desk and signed the return, turning it over to the justice.
Dr. Hyde, who was standing near, found room on a window sill where he kept reading his paper, only looking up sufficiently long to buy another, which he read with as much eagerness as the first.
Frank Walsh left the court room, stating that he would be back in a short time. Upon his return he placed the bond before the justice of the peace for $50,000 instead of the $25,000 expected.
"I expected bond for $25,0000, but this is better still," said Justice Loar.
Mr. Walsh signed the document, then handed a pen to Dr. Hyde. Dr. Hyde wrote in a plain, bold hand, without a tremor, and his signature was affixed with as much indifference as if writing a prescription for a patient. After Dr. Hyde, John M. Cleary and John H. Lucas signed the bond.
LAWYERS SIGN BOND.
After this preliminary Dr. Hyde, followed by his lawyers, went to their automobile and soon were out of sight.
"This is a good bond," said Justice Loar, after the crowd had left the office. "Mr. Neal is president of the Southwest National bank, and the others I am given to understand are stockyards men. I do not expet that there will be a preliminary examination here. I am confident that it will go to the criminal court at once.
Labels: attorney, automobiles, County Marshal Mayes, doctors, Frank Walsh, Independence, James A. Reed, Judge Latshaw, murder, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, telephone
February 9, 1910
OF BY THE NURSE.
Testifies That Capsule Was
Given on Order of Dr. Hyde.
STRYCHNINE THEN USED.
Hypodermic Injections Made
That Colonel Swope's death was not due to cerebral hemorrhage or any organic cause and that more of the deadly poison was indicated by the examination of the contents of the stomach, was testified to by Dr. Ludwig Hektoen, a Chicago pathologist at the inquest at Independence yesterday afternoon.
Dr. Hektoen followed Miss Kellar, the nurse who said that Colonel Swope suffered convulsions, following the administration of a capsule. She also testified that Dr. Hyde asked her to interest herself in having Colonel Swope appoint him executor in the place of Mr. Hunton.
Mrs. Maggie C. Swope was the last witness of the day and told of the will of Colonel Swope and that he had said that as soon as he was able he would go downtown to change it.
Whether Dr. Hyde will be put on the stand today is a question that was not settled yesterday. Dr. Hyde attended Colonel Swope in his last illness and certified the cause of death as cerebral hemorrhage or apoplexy.
Whether Colonel Swope's death was due to strychnine poisoning will be a hard fought question. That the symptoms are described by the nurse in her testimony yesterday were not those of strychnine poisoning, was the assertion of a chemist who was in attendance at the inquest.
MAY ACT FOR EXPERTS.
The report as presented by Dr. Hektoen as to the findings of the analysis of the liver of Colonel Swope and his report on the post mortem together with expert testimony on the effects of strychnine poisoning, will be the principal points to be considered by the jury in determining the cause of death. That the jury will ask for some expert witnesses is the general belief of those who have heard the testimony and the questions which the jurors have asked.
Dr. Hektoen and Mrs. Swope were the centers of attraction yesterday. Mrs. Swope was present at the morning session. In the afternoon she was attended by three of her daughters who stood behind a garden bench on which she sat.
She was greatly interested in listening to the testimony of Dr. Hektoen and raised her veil during this time.
Dr. Hyde seemed to evince more interest in the testimony of Miss Kellar than in any other witness. He frequently talked to his counsel, Mr. Walsh, and later smiled at portions of Dr. Hektoen's testimony.
Miss Kellar's testimony, which preceded that of Dr. Hektoen, told of Colonel Swope's last day. She said she gave him a capsule at the request of Dr. Hyde. She told of the convulsions which followed 20 minutes later and which lasted for 10 minutes of his lapsing into unconsciousness and of giving him two or three, she did not remember the number, of hypodermic injections of strychnine by order of Dr. Hyde.
UNCONSCIOUS ALL DAY.
She said that Colonel Swope was unconscious during the entire day and breathed hard. His legs shook convulsively, he had a high pulse, and finally died.
It was 10:30 o'clock in the forenoon when Miss Kellar, the last witness Monday, was called to the stand. A part of the questions and answers she had made were read to her and she was questioned about the food that was given Colonel Swope during his last illness.
Miss Kellar said that no one other than she gave Colonel Swope food during his last illness. The most of this food was part of the regular menu for the balance of the family and occasionally she personally prepared light foods, such as rice. She obtained the raw materials from the supply pantry next to the kitchen. The regular meals were prepared by the negro cook. Miss Kellar described the house and the location of the various rooms.
"Dr. Hyde told me h e wanted a private talk as soon as I got through with the preparation of Mr. Hunton's body," said Miss Kellar. "This was a half an hour after Mr. Hunton's death. A couple of hours later I saw him in the sitting room upstairs.
DR. HYDE ASKED FAVOR.
" 'Isn't it awful?' he asked me, referring to the death. Then he told me he wanted to do something for him. He said that I had a good deal of influence with Colonel Swope and he wanted me to suggest to Colonel Swope that he select Dr. Hyde as one of the executors to succeed Mr. Hunton. He said that he understood Colonel Swope favored another whom he did not like.
" 'The minute I begin to interfere with the private affairs of Colonel Swope I will overstep my bounds.' I told Dr. Hyde and I left the room. Mrs. Hyde entered the room while we were talking, but stepped out. We all retired immediately after that conversation."
Miss Kellar testified again about telling the story of Mr. Hunton's death to Colonel Swope. She ate breakfast with Dr. Hyde, but had no conversation with him. Dr. Hyde came to Colonel Swope's room and Colonel Swope greeted him. Later, she said, Dr. and Mrs. Hyde went to Kansas City. In the afternoon Colonel Swope remarked that he would have enjoyed a ride had it not been for the death of Mr. Hunton.
"Colonel Swope ate well Saturday," said Miss Kellar. "I took his food off the stove, in the kitchen. Dr. and Mrs. Hyde returned about 10 or 10:30 p. m.
Dr. Hyde asked me if I had talked to Colonel Swope about the executor matter, and I said I had not. I don't think that Dr. Hyde went to Colonel Swope's room, as Colonel Swope always kept the door bolted.
SPENT BETTER NIGHT.
"Sunday morning Colonel Swope remarked, to my surprise, that he had spent a better night than usual. I gave him his bath and then prepared his breakfast. I presume he had toast, breakfast bacon and eggs, and probably some fruit. We had breakfast about 8 o'clock or a little after, and I had hardly gotten started when Dr. Hyde came down. After greeting me Dr. Hyde asked if Colonel Swope had had his breakfast. I said he had, and Dr. Hyde asked me to go with him. He said he had those digestive tablets and that he had promised to bring to Colonel Swope and wanted him to have one now. We went upstairs to Colonel Swope's room. Then I remembered there was no cooler on that floor and returned to the first floor for a drink of fresh water. Dr. Hyde was standing in the middle of the room. Colonel Swope was lying in his usual position in the bed with his head at the foot. He always said that he could rest better upside down. Dr. Hyde handed me what I supposed was a three-quarter grain capsule. It was not dark and I suppose it contained either white or gray matter. He took it from a pink colored box.
" 'Here is your digestive tablet,' I told Colonel Swope. He showed antagonism to taking this capsule and I finally laid it on the table and looked at Dr. Hyde with a nod which indicated that I would induce the Colonel to take the medicine later. We returned to the breakfast table and then I went back to my charge.
"Mrs. Swope handed me two Independence dailies and The Journal and the Times of Kansas City. I took them to Colonel Swope's room and he adjusted his eyeglasses. He said that he would look over the Independence papers while I found the articles in the city papers concerning the death of Mr. Hunton.
CAPSULE IS GIVEN.
"Before I handed him the papers I gave him the capsule. It was 8:30 a. m. I noted the time for his big gold watch was on the table. He began reading the Independence papers and I had found the articles in the Kansas City papers when I noticed him breathing hard, as if blowing. His eyes were set toward the west window and as I ran to his side and called to him 'What's the matter, Colonel Swope?' he made no reply but went into convulsions.
"It was then 10 minutes of 9 a. m., or twenty minutes after I gave him the capsule. His eyes then fixed upward and the pupils dilated and his face became cyanosed. He quivered all over. His eyes assumed an expressionless appearance.
"I called for help. I cried down stairs: 'Tell Dr. Hyde to come quickly.' I returned to Colonel Swope's side. He was not groaning, but the sound was that of an 'ah-ah.' Dr. Hyde did not come quickly enough and I called him for the second time. Mrs. Hyde came up before her husband. She said he would be up in a moment. He was in his shirt sleeves when he got up to the room. Miss Margaret Swope came to the door for an instant and Mrs. Hyde came inside. Dr. Hyde looked anxious. He felt Colonel Swope's pulse and in a few minutes declared 'Apoplexy, probably brought on by Mr. Hunton's death.'
RECOVERS IN TEN MINUTES.
"I don't remember just what Dr. Hyde was doing meanwhile. I was busy noting Colonel Swope's condition. In ten minutes he recovered from the convulsion and cried: 'Take it away, take it away.' I moved my hands as if removing an object, and he was satiated. Dr. Hyde then ordered me to give him a hypodermic injection of strychnine, one-sixtieth of a grain. As Colonel Swope slowly composed himself he said: 'Oh my God, I wish I had not taken that medicine. I wish I were dead.'
'This was a perfectly rational expression, I thought. He was very restless and Dr. Hyde ordered me to give him another hypodermic injection. I then looked for the pink box from which Dr. Hyde had taken the capsule. There was nothing in Dr. Hyde's actions which would have caused me to question anything he ordered me to do. Colonel Swope's pulse was very rapid. It was 140 and rapid and bounding. I don't remember whether I gave him two or three injections of strychnine. Shortly after the last one he lapsed into a state of coma.
"He never recovered from this condition. His eyes half closed and became fixed and the heavy breathing continued. His knees and legs twitched and once when I pulled the covers over him I noticed that his lower limbs were bluish in color. I called Dr. Hyde's attention to this. Dr. Hyde went to dinner first and when he returned I went downstairs. About 3 p. m. Dr. Hyde told me I might go outside for a bit of fresh air. I was glad of the opportunity to get outside and I chatted for a few moments with visitors.
"When I got back Colonel Swope's condition was the same. I noticed his legs and they were purple to the knee. He lay on his back and his limbs jerked. Dr. Hyde looked at the purple limbs but made no reply."
"Shortly afterward Colonel Swope seemed to rally slightly. As he did I turned to Dr. Hyde and remarked, 'I would hate to answer for the consequences when Colonel Swope recovers.' He asked why and I told him 'Because you know that he will connect his attack of illness with the taking of that medicine.' Dr. Hyde made no reply.
SAID HE WAS SINKING.
"It was not long afterward when Dr. Hyde, who was on the left side of the bed, declared that Colonel Swope was sinking. I had hold of his right wrist and said that I did not think so. I could not see that there was much change and told Dr. Hyde so. He then came over to my side of the bed and took the pulse there. He reiterated his assertion that Colonel Swope was failing rapidly. I don't remember what the count was , but I held his pulse the greater part of the day.
"The hypodermic injection was given with my instrument and the drugs were taken from my case. Dr. Hyde broke his while in Kansas City, he told me, and that was the reason I used mine.
"Shortly before 7 p. m. I was called to supper. Dr. Hyde said that he would remain with Colonel Swope. The family gathered round me in the dining room and asked as to Colonel Swope's condition. I told them that he might last until midnight, that he might last for a couple of days or that he might recover. I had been downstairs about twenty minutes, it seemed to me, when I was called. Mrs. Hyde was the first to meet me.
" 'All is over,' she said. 'Uncle Tom just passed away. He died so easily.' This was about 7 or 7:15 p. m.
"I hastened up to the room to prepare the body for the undertaker. I was left in the room alone and had scarcely finished when Dr. Hyde and Mr. Paxton came upstairs. They asked me for his vest and said that Colonel Swope had said that in the event of an emergency, his will would always be found in his vest pocket. Mr. Paxton got the will, and had me swear that I saw him take it.
"Colonel Swope told me many times about the will. He said that he kept it in his vest pocket, so that it would be easily found in an emergency. He also was fond of using the expression that he had just ninety more days to live.
"Dr. Hyde predicted early in the last illness of Colonel Swope that he would never go to Kansas City again. The symptoms of Colonel Swope's death were entirely different from those of Mr. Hunton.
"Shortly after Dr. Hyde and Mr. Paxton left the room, I happened to think of a check for $5,000 which Mr. Spangler had brought him a couple of days before and which I put in a puffbox. I grabbed the puffbox and hastened to Dr. Hyde and Mr. Paxton, telling them that I forgot about it when they were in the room.
" 'Present your bill to Mr. Paxton, the executor of the estate,' said Mr. Hyde later in the evening. 'Make it $35 a week, as we think that you were of much service to Colonel Swope and he was a wealthy man and left a large estate, and it was worth that much.' I told Dr. Hyde that I would only charge $25 and that was all my bill would be for. Later Mrs. Swope talked with me about it, and said that the family desired to make me a little present, and that this was the only way that it could be done. I assented when she insisted and put in my bill for $35 a week."
Dr. Ludwig Hektoen, who conducted the autopsy and carried the viscera of Colonel Swope to Chicago for a pathological examination and chemical analysis, was the first witness after the noon recess. Dr. Hektoen arrived in the morning, but spent the time in Mr. Paxton's office. He was the guest of Mr. Paxton at dinner, and then returned to his office, getting his grip and arriving at the court house at 1:30.
DR. HEKTOEN NERVOUS.
The jury was ready, but Coroner Zwart had not decided whether to put Mrs. Swope or Dr. Hektoen on the stand first. Dr. Hektoen's face was slightly flushed when he entered the court room, and was called to take the stand. He was a bit nervous and sometimes repeated questions which were asked him. He carried his notes in manuscript, which he had fastened together.
Dr. Hektoen said that he was 45 years old, and that he was a pathologist. He defined the word for the jurors' benefit. He said that on January 21, at the request of Mr. Paxton, he conducted a post-mortem examination and autopsy on the body of Colonel Swope. With him at the time were Coroner Zwart, Drs. Hall, Stewart, Twyman and Adkins. Dr. Hall assisted him and Dr. Steward took notes. His description was technial and he was asked several times to explain the technical phrases and descriptions to the jurors so that they could understand just what he was talking about.
Dr. Hektoen, in his testimony, said:
"The body was that of an old but apparently well nourished man. It was frozen solid, and showed no signs of decomposition. It was naked, and my attention was first called to marks on the wrists and ankles. I was told that these were undertakers bands, and had been made after death. We tried to thaw out the body, and then made an incision. I noticed that there were two incisions in the body, one in the arm and the other in the abdomen. Both were made by the undertaker, I was told.
TUMOR ON KIDNEY.
There was no difficulty in making the examination, only in removing the organs from the body. There were some changes in the lower part of the aorta. Portions of this had degenerated and hardened. there were slight chronic changes in the kidneys and a tumor growth on the left kidney. This was an encapsulated tumor of about two inches diameter. It was yellow on the opened side.
The brain was divided into pieces and subsequently subdivided into smaller pieces in my laboratory in Chicago. This was done to inspect it for evidence of cerebral hemorrhage. There was no evidence in the brain or about the lining of the brain of any blood clot, hemorrhage or of the blood current carrying a clot into the brain. Neither was there any evidence of any disease. Had there been a clot or hemorrhage, the embalming fluid would not have carried it away or disturbed it.
A careful examination was made of the internal capsule or ventricles for evidence of a minute hemorrhage. Sometimes a hemorrhage in this section of the brain is minute, or it may be extensive. If the hemorrhage was so minute that it could not be detected by the naked eye it would not have been sufficient to have caused death. A hemorrhage in this section of the brain would be termed cerebral apoplexy.
A very thorough examination was made of the heart. It was normal, although it was filled with blood. The aorta was smooth to the part that runs down the chest wall. Here it was thick and showed calcified areas. This is common in old age. It was not extensive, and there were also indications of degeneration. Degeneration of a blood vessel is a softening of the tissues. The calcification is a hardening through a limy deposit. The blood in the heart was due to the efforts of the undertaker to force embalming fluid through the body. The clot was formed after death. There was no evidence of an ante-mortem clot.
The lungs were practically normal, although there was some congestion in the lower left lobe, but no condition which would be sufficient to have caused death.
The stomach was found to have been punctured by the undertaker. The puncture was not so much of a consequence. The organ was small and did not appear to contain much material. It appeared considerably contracted at the end which joins the small intestine. I ligated the stomach above and below and transferred it intact to one of the glass jars. On the gross examination I found nothing to account for this.
The small and large intestines were normal. In the descending colon were found a small polypoid growth wich hung free. This was not of a serious nature and co uld not have caused any gastric or digestive disturbances.
The pelvic organs were normal. In the lower half of the left kidney there was an encapsulated growth which I referred to before. This did not interfere with any vital organ. The spleen and the liver were of normal structure and size. The bladder and prostate were also normal.
After the post mortem examination was made I could not arrive at any conclusion as to the cause of death. There was nothing in the examination we had made which would have indicated a cause for death. I then put the organs I desired for chemical analysis into four half gallon glass jars and placed them in my suit case. I put the brain in one jar, the liver in another, stomach in another and kidneys in another. I took a small section of the heart for microscopic examination.
PERSONALLY CARRIED CASE.
I personally carried this suit case to my laboratory in Chicago. There after a conference with Mr. Paxton I got Dr. Walter S. Haines, professor of toxicology in the Rush Medical College, to make the chemical analysis.
On February 5 I received a reports that indicated that the liver contained about a grain of strychnine. The circumstances under which the poison was found indicate positively that the introduction of the strychnine was during the life of the subject. The liver and other organs would absorb strychine if it were injected into the body after death, but the strychnine would have to be in solution and would be in all parts of the body.
"There is no way of telling by chmical analysis whether the strychnine reached the liver by means of hypodermic injection or through the mouth and stomach. If there was an unusually large amount of the poison in the stomach nd a small amount in the other vital organs it would indicate that the poison was administered thorugh the mouth. Still we might find a greater amount of the poson in the other organs than in the stomach and it would have been administered through the mouth during life.
"The examination on the contents of the stomach are still uncompleted. I have received no written report, but have received a verbal report that the examinations are being prosecuted. The report on the liver is not final, as the examinations now being made are to confirm the findings heretofore made. I have been informed verbally that there are indications that strycnine will be found in the stomach contents.
COULD NOT BE STORED UP.
"The use of strychnine in medicinal doses could not cause death as a sufficient quantity could not be stored up in the organs. I don't know how fast it is absorbed and eliminated, but if the drug is given three times a day there is no danger of poisoning. One might find minute tracaes of the strychnine but not in such quantities as one grain. A fatal dose is generally believed to be half a grain. Smaller doses have caused death in many instances. A man might live several hours or he might die in one-half hour after he took a fatal dose. This would depend on the contents of the stomach and whether the drug was combined with some other drug."
Labels: Independence, Swope Mystery
February 8, 1910
CORONER'S INQUEST BEGINS
DEATH AND POST-MORTEM OF
COL. THOMAS SWOPE
HYDE'S NAME MENTIONED.
Doctors and Nurses Testify
The coroner's inquest into the death of Colonel Thomas C. Swope got underway in Independence yesterday, and it was brought out that Colonel Swope, tried a number of tonics and remedies, and that he worried over his will in the weeks before his death, and wanted the poor of the city to benefit by the income from his residuary estate, valued at $1,000,000.
Harry S. Cook, superintendent of the Forest Hill cemetery, told the story of the removal of the body of Colonel Swope at dead of night from the catacombs where it was at rest. He said that secrecy was observed and that a blanket was hung on the grillwork of the tomb, so that no one could look in, had anyone had an inkling of what was going on.
The casket, he said, had not been touched and the body was frozen and in a good state of preservation.
The autopsy was conducted at Ott's undertaking rooms at Independence. Coroner Zwart, Drs. Hektoen, Twyman, Stewart, Hall, and a younger docter were among those who attended the post-mortem, it was testified. The body was still frozen, and coal oil lamps and stoves were lighted to thaw it. Bottles were filled with hot water and laid on the body, and then all was covered with blankets.
The post mortem began at 2 p. m. After the doctors finished the autopsy, in which they removed all of Colonel Swope's internal organs and his brain, the body was sewed up, dressed and put back in the casket and removed to the third floor of the undertaking establishment, where it was hidden. It was taken back to the vault the following day. This was done in the day time, as the story of the autopsy had leaked out and there was no further reason for secrecy.
Dr. E. L. Stewart, who graduated seven years ago, and specializes in microscopy, took notes for the doctors who conducted the post mortem. Dr. Steward did not remember all of the details of the autopsy. He declaired that he was too busy taking the dictation by Drs. Hall and Hektoen to observe their operations as closely as he would have liked to. He said that so far as he could see, there was nothing about the appearance of any of the organs removed by the doctors which would indicate that they were other than in a normal condition.
Dr. Stewart turned his findings over to Dr. Hektoen, he said. Dr. Hektoen also took charge of Colonel Swope's viscera. Dr. Stewart remarked about the frozen condition of the body, which he said was rather frail. The brain, he said, after removal, was cut into thin slices so that the doctors could ascertain if there had been a hemorrhage. No blood clot was found either in the brain or in the lining.
NO CLOTHING ON BODY.
The clothing had been removed from the body when he first saw it and he noticed an undertaker's mark on the arm. He also noticed a small dark mark on the left wrist and the undertake's mark on the abdomen. He told of pulling off the scalp, sawing the cranium and removing the skull cap and then taking out the brain. This he said was sliced, but he did not remember into how many sections nor their thickness. The brain was then placed in one of the big half gallon fruit jars and was sealed.
Dr. Stewart said that the brain was taken out whole, as he remembered it. There was no hemorrhage, at least none that was visible to the naked eye, he said. Dr. Stewart did not know whether Dr. Hektoen took the kidneys. He said that to the best of his recollection several of the blood vessels near the heart were hardened. He said that neither he, nor any of the doctors who performed the autopsy, could attribute Colonel Swope's death to any unusual condition found in his vital organs.
He said that one kidney seemed to be slightly enlarged, but this fact, he added, might have been natural. The liver, he said, was of the ordinary gray color and was in good condition. Dr. Stewart said that had there been a hemorrhage of the brain that the embalming fluid wich is used would not have reduced it.
Dr. G. T. Twyman, the Swope family physician, was present at the autopsy, which he said was conducted by Drs. Hektoen and Hall. The body was very well preserved, but was frozen hard. the fluids in the body had all turned to ice. Efforts to thaw it were without avail. There was but one abnormal condition of any consequence, he said, and that was a thickening of the walls of the stomach.
KNEW NOTHING OF DEATH.
Dr. Twyman said that Colonel Swope was not anxious to take medicines or tonics. He last saw him professionaly on April 28, 1909. He had seen him at various times since then and there was nothing in his condition to lead him to the belief that he would die suddenly, he said. Dr. Twyman said that he knew nothing about Colonel Swope's last illness or death. He did not know what caused Colonel Swope's death and he declared that there was nothing in the post mortem which could lead him to form an opinion as to the cause of death.
Sylvester W. Spangler, who since 1903 has had charge of Colonel Swope's real estate, told of Colonel Swope's penchant for taking medicines of various sorts which might be recommended to him by friends, including a tonic which contained strychnine, quinine and iron. He also told of the oft-repeated wich of Colonel Swope just prior to his death that he could arrange in some way to so place his residuary estate that the revenue could be used for the benefit of the poor.
"The last time I saw Colonel Swope alive was the Saturday preceding his death," said Mr. Spangler. "I came down on account of the death of the night previous of his cousin and also to attend to any business matters which he might indicate he wanted closed. I was with him for about an hour and he was in bed all of this time. About the close of our converstaion Colonel Swope addressed me: 'So far as pain is concerned,' he said, 'I have none and never felt better in my life, but I realize that I am a weak man and can't live long.' I cheered him up as best I could.
KEPT TONIC IN OFFICE.
"Colonel Swope kept a tonic in his office, which, according to the label, contained strychnine, quinine and iron and was put up in Independence. He took the contents of two of these bottles, to my knowledge. He would take the medicine for a couple of days and then would not take any for several days, or a week. He took a teaspoonful at a dose. The medicine was orange colored. He also took tablets, some of a white sort and some bromo-quinine tablets. He took Pape's Diapepsin for his stomach trouble. In fact, he took a great many medicnes which were recommended to him by friends as good for his particular case. Two years ago he took some acid phosphates.
"He often told me about some new remedy he had purchased and which he said he would give a trial, as it was harmless, and if it did no good it would do no harm. He had a vest pocket memorandum book in which he kept a record of the medicines recommended to him and which he tried. He would invariably return to me and tell me that the medicines were fakes. The elixir, he said, was prescribed by an Independence, Mo., doctor and was to give him strength.
"Colonel Swope rewrote his will while I was in his employ. He did not discuss the bequests with me and I knew nothing of the amounts until after his death and the publication of the instrument.
"The reason he gave me for rewriting the will was that some of his property had greatly increased in value and that some had decreased. He wanted the proportions of his bequests to be as he first intended. After providing for all of his heirs he still had a good deal of property that he wanted to dispose of in a charitable way. This residuary estate was worth, he told me, about $1,000,000. He wanted the revenue from the estate to be applied to the benefit of the poor, regardless of their former conditions in life.
WORRIED OVER WILL.
"He was endeavoring to find a way to dispose of this property so that the revenue would be used for the purpose intended. He could transfer it, he said, so that it would not be necessary for him to make a new will and the old would could not be broken. He was worried over the disposition of the residuary estate. He told me that if he deeded it to the city that the revenue, and possible the principle, might be wasted, while if he deeded it to loyal citizen friends, that he feared they were too busy hustling after the almighty dollar to give the property and the revenue the proper attention.
"About six weeks before he died he went to the vault and got his will. After keeping it in his office for a week he told me one Saturday that he would take it home and spend Saturday and Sunday on it. Monday morning he brought it back and said that he had looked it over carefully and that it was as nearly perfect as he could make it. He said that he could not betteer it if he wrote it 100 times.
"Colonel Swope's effects, such as clothing which he kept in the office, were given to the Salvation army after his death. I never heard of an enemy of Colonel Swope and knew of no one that he ever entertained any malice against.
"Colonel Swope claimed Wooford county, Ky., as his home until he gave Kansas City Swope park in 1903. He lived in Independence except for a few months, about 1904 or 1905, when he roomed at the Orient hotel.
"Colonel Swope voted but once in his life, he told me, and that was when McKinley made the first race for the presidency. Colonel Swope made a special trip to Wooford county, Kentucky, to cast his vote for McKinley."
Miss Pearl Virginia Kellar, 36 years old, a trained nurse of five years' experinece, was the witness of the day. Miss Kellar attended Colonel Swope during his last illness and was employed by Dr. B. Clark Hyde, three weeks prior to that event. For several weeks Miss Kellar has been virtually one of the members of the Swope household in Independence. She said that she had only a passing acquaintance with Dr. Hyde, prior to the time that he employed her to go to the Swope home.
MENTIONS HYDE'S NAME.
"Dr. Hyde called me over the telephone Sunday night, September 12. He asked me to meet him Monday at 7:30 a. m. and go to Independence. On the way he told me that Colonel Swope was not really ill; that he had fallen and slightly injured his left shoulder, but to make him feel that I was doing something for him and to massage the injured shoulder. Mrs. Swope and the four daughters met us at the threshold and after donning my uniform I was escorted to Colonel Swope's room where we shook hands and he said he was glad to seee me. The injury I found to be very slight. I was with him three weeks, except one day when I went to the dentist.
" 'Here are some "Pinkle's Pink Pills and some tonic,' said Dr. Hyde to me. 'Let him have the pills and also the tonic as he has been in the habit of taking them.' I found the tonic to contain strychnine, iron and quinine and peptomangan. It was put up by Pendleton & Gentry of Independence. Colonel Swope told me that Obe Gentry had given Mr. Hunton the prescription and that it was very good.
" I kept a nurse's record of Colonel Swope for two weeks, or a week longer than he thought I kept it. He objected to the keeping of the record and when I told Dr. Hyde that I had kept it a week longer than Colonel Swope was aware, and that there was no good reason for keeping it longer, Dr. Hyde suggested that I discontinue it. Colonel Swope objected to me taking his temperature. I made up his bed and straghtened him around, then gave him a bath, an alcohol rub and massage and later another alcohol rub and massage."
NURSE'S NOTES READ.
Miss Kellar here produced her notes and read off her daily notations as to the treatment the patient received and his condition. She said that he ate very full dinners, including cabbage at one meal which she said Dr. Hyde told her he could have as he had been accustomed to it. She gave him occasional drinks containing wine or brandy. She said that Colonel Swope and Dr. Hyde were on perfectly friendly terms.
Her records showed that he took several doses of the pink pills, varying the number from time to time. Monday, September 20, she said that he sat up for an hour in an adjoining room where he looked over the grounds. Wednesday she said that he began taking the tonic, which heretofore he had not touched. She said that Mr. Hunton suggested taht now as he was better that he could take the tonic and get well sooner. Miss Keller also testified to the frequency that Colonel Swope vomited and said that these attacks were without the slightest warning and usually at meal times.
"On Wednesday, September 29 Colonel Swope and I went out riding. We drove out the Lexinton road past the Swope farm which he had not seen in nine years. We were out for two hours and he stood the trip splendidly. Thrusday we drove almost to Kansas City. Friday we started to Blue Springs, but failed to take the right road and had a rough ride.
"After putting Mr. Swope to bed, I came down stairs and Mr. Hunton called me. He was eating dinner and suggested that I eat with him. We had almost finished when Mrs. Swope and Miss Margaret came in. Mr. Hunton looked at me and said that he felt queer. Mildred and a girl friend entered the room at this time and Mr. Hunton tried to pick up a glass of water. He half raised it and then it fell from his hands. I ran to his side and discovered that his left leg was helpless. A negro boy helped me carry him to the library and we summoned doctors.
HUNTON BECAME SICK.
"By the time Dr. Twyman came Mr. Hunton had lapsed into unconsciousness. He had vomited profusely. The boys got an ironing board and we laid Mr. Hunton on this and carried him upstairs. Colonel Swope meanwhile had called, and one of the servants failing to pacify him, I told him that Mr. Hunton was seriously ill. After Dr. Hyde came they decided to bleed Mr. Hunton.
"I did not tell Colonel Swope about the death of Mr. Hunton until Saturday morning. When I told him that Mr. Hunton ws dead, he grasped the bed clothes, and hiding his head, cried, 'Poor Moss.' For a moment he sort of sobbed, and then he asked me to tell him all about it. He th en told me he wanted to be very quiet. He wanted to see no one but Mr. Spangler. He first said taht he did not want to see Dr. Hyde for fear that the doctor might think that he needed him professionally. Colonel Swope did not go across the hall to see Mr. Hunton, and I read to him. The news of Mr. Fleming's wife's death came at noon. Mr. Spangler ws the only visitor. He came about noon."
As Miss Kellar reached this part of her narrative, Deputy Coroner Trogdon conferred with Coroner Zwart and Attorney Reed and announcement was made of adjournment until 10 o'clock this morning.
MRS. SWOPE SHIELDED.
Miss Kellar, the trained nurse who was with Colonel Swope the last three weeks of his life, arrive at the court house shortly before 4 p. m. with Mrs. L. O. Swope and a woman companion. They were driven to the court house in an automobile and were escorted by Attorney John Mastin. They were taken in the witness room, which was kept locked. Miss Kellar, her companion and Mr. Atwood shielded Mrs. Swope from the gaze of the curious. Mrs. Swope was attired was attired in black and wore a heavy veil.
The array of legal talent in the case yesterday was probably the largest in the history of the court house. The Swope heirs and Mr. Paxton, the executor of the estate, were represented by Messrs. Reed, Atwood and Mastin. Virgil Conkling, the prosecuting attorney, represented the state, while Dr. Hyde was represented by Attorneys Walsh, Cleary and Johnson. Coroner Zwart wsa represented by Deputy Coroner Trugdon.
"Can we come in and listen to the case?" inquired Mesdames William Young and Cliff Morrow, neighbors of the Swopes, of J. A. Brown, superintendent of the court house building. "Certainly," he replied and secured them a seat immedately behind the attorneys. There were a score of women at the inquest in the afternoon.
Labels: cemetery, Coroner Zwart, courtroom, doctors, Independence, James A. Reed, probate, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, Swope park, Thomas Swope
February 7, 1910
CIRCUIT JUDGE SAYS ELMER C.
WAS PROSPEROUS BUSINESS
MAN OF MARTINSBURG.
DOUBTS STORY'S TRUTH
Must Prove His Allegations,
Which Legal Records
The claim of Elmer C. Swope of Martinsburg, W. Va., that he is the son of the late Colonel Thomas Swope was the general topic of conversation yesterday among old friends of Colonel Swope, by whom it was ridiculed. They declared that Colonel Swope came here before the war, and that therefore the Eastern claimant was in error. They also insist that Colonel Swope was a bachelor, and that had he been married someone here surely would have known of it.
"I think that Elmer C. Swope is laboring under an hallucination," said Judge E. E. Porterfield, who was born and raised in Martinsburg. "I knew Elmer C. Swope when he came to our town a quarter of a century ago and went to live with his uncle, Hugh A. Frazier. Mr. Frazier was in the implement business and young Swope was then just out of age and took an active hand in the business. He was well liked and the business prospered.
"I left there over a score of years ago but have returned frequently for short visits. On these trips I have seen Elmer Swope, and have talked with him. In recent years he suffered business reverses, and lost much of his money. My brother, Joseph L. Porterfield, is in the real estate business in Martinsburg and I make sure that I would have heard something about Elmer C. Swope's claim before this were there anything to it."
SHIFTS TO INDEPENDENCE.
The center of interest in the Swope case shifts this morning to a little room in the court house at Independence, where Coroner B. H. Zwart, assisted by Deputy Coroner Trugdon, will begin the inquest into the cause of death of the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope.
Here the witnesses on the several sides will be asked to tell the coroner's jury all they know about the last illness and death of Colonel Swope. The attorneys for the interested parties will be present. The coroner, his deputy and the members of the jury will ask questions of the witnesses. Whether Prosecuting Attorney Conkling will question the witnesses will be determined this morning. It is presumed by the attorneys for the Swope heirs that the prosecutor's office will ask some of the questions, either directly or through the deputy coroner.
Yesterday was a day of rest of those engaged in the case. The attorneys attended to private affairs and several of them took long motor rides in the afternoon.
Independence had many visitors yesterday. They began coming into the town early in the morning and most of them walked about the old court house and visited with those shopkeepers whose places were open. The people in Independence are surprised that the outside outside world should take so much interest in the Swope case. In fact, there are many of the residents who are not aware of the fact that an inquest is to be held this week. The persons who will attend the inquiry promise to come largely from Kansas City.
The testimony which will be heard today will be from the undertaker and his assistants who removed the body from the cemetery to the undertaking rooms at Independence, the sexton at the cemetery and possibly the doctors who performed the autopsy and removed the viscera. Other witnesses will be placed on the stand to prove the identity of the body.
On Tuesday it is probable that the members of the Swope family, the nurses and possibly the doctors will be heard. The experts from Chicago, it is thought likely, will not be heard until Wednesday. They are expected to arrive here Tuesday, however, and will confer with Mr. Paxton, the executor of the estate.
In the meantime the attorneys in the Dr. Hyde libel suit will rest. It is not expected that they will endeavor to take any depositions until after the inquest. One of the principal reasons for a delay is that they expect to attend the inquest and therefore will not have the time to give to examining witnesses.
It is understood that Detectives Harry Arthur and Joe Morris have been detailed by the police department to attend the Swope inquest. They will be there to assist the prosecutor.
Labels: Coroner Zwart, detectives, doctors, Independence, Judge Porterfield, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery
January 31, 1910
IN WHITE PLAGUE FIGHT.
Men's Brotherhood to Learn How to
A meeting in behalf of the suppression of tuberculosis will be conducted tonight by the Men's Brotherhood of the Linwood Boulevard M. E. Church at the church, Linwood and Olive. Dr. M. T. Woods of Independence will tell how to escape tuberculosis; Dr. Seesco Stewart, dean of the Kansas City Veterinary college, will describe tuberculosis in the lower animals and how it affects public health. Dr. A. T. Kinsley will present stereoptican views.
Labels: churches, doctors, health, Independence, Linwood boulevard, Olive street, stereopticons
January 29, 1910
POISON IN THE
ARRESTS ARE NOT EXPECTED
UNTIL LAWYER RETURNS
Attorneys Hurriedly Called
Together on Receipt
That poison in a large enough quantity to produce death has been found in the stomachs of Colonel Thomas H. Swope, Kansas City's millionaire benefactor, and Chrisman Swope, his nephew, is known almost to be a certainty. The Chicago chemists telegraphed the result of their analysis yesterday afternoon to John G. Paxton, a Swope attorney.
Mr. Paxton will leave today for Chicago. He will return immediately with the official report of the two chemists and the internal organs of the Swopes, to be sustained in evidence at the coroner's inquest early next week.
An arrest is expected to be made Friday or Saturday of next week.
Mr. Paxton received the telegram from the Chicago specialists at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. when in that city he arranged with Drs. W. S. Haines and Ludwig Hektoen that they should wire him the results of the post mortem examination as soon as completed. From Chicago it is learned that a message of one word was to convey the information that poison in quantities large enough to produce death had been found, and that he, Mr. Paxton, was to go to Chicago immediately.
CHEMISTS' WORK FINISHED.
Though the attorneys here refuse to divulge the information contained in this message, it is known that the work of the chemists has been completed, and that the men here who are pushing the prosecution are satisfied with the results. Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling said last night that he expected the official report of the chemists, and all other evidence in the case, in his hands within forty-eight hours -- or Monday at the latest. The coroner's inquest will probably be held Tuesday. Two or three days after this, if the evidence is found satisfactory, warrants will be issued.
"I am satisfied with the results," said John H. Atwood, after reading the telegram.
"Ifs the examination of the stomach completed?" was asked.
"Drs. Haines and Hektoen are through with their work," was the reply.
Further than this Mr. Atwood refused to make any statement. Mr. Paxton was non-committal. He would neither affirm nor deny the report that poison had been found.
"Are you going to Chicago?" was asked him.
WILL SLEEP AT HOME.
"I will sleep at my home in Independence tonight," was his answer.
Neither the coroner nor the prosecuting attorney has received one word from the Chicago chemists. A duplicate copy of the report is to be sent to the coroner. The prosecuting attorney was apprised of the receipt of the telegram by Mr. Paxton yesterday afternoon, but concerning the contents of the message, the prosecutor refused to say what it contained.
Labels: attorney, Chicago, Independence, poison, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, telegram
January 29, 1910
MRS. SWOPE TAKES A DRIVE.
Her First Public Appearance Since
Investigation of Colonel's Stomach.
A drive from the Swope residence in Independence in company with her nurse yesterday afternoon, marked the first public appearance of Mrs. Logan O. Swope, since the recent examination of the stomach of her brother-in-law, Thomas H. Swope. Mrs. Swope was on a shopping trip, but did not leave the carriage, her nurse attending to all of the details of the trip.
Since the first public announcement of the recent investigation, none of the members of the family have been seen either in public or on the grounds. All callers at the residence were met at the door by a servant, and none but the most intimate friends were allowed to see any members of the family.
Mrs. Swope's appearance on the streets of Independence was taken by some as an indication that the Chicago scientists had reached a tangible decision in regard to Colonel Swope's death, in the report that was transmitted here yesterday.
Labels: Independence, Swope Mystery
January 27, 1910
MONUMENT TO GEN. PRICE.
Will Be Erected in Independence by
Daughters of the Confederacy.
A monument to General Sterling Price will likey be erected within a short time on the east side of the Independence court house by the Independence chapter, Daughters of the Confederacy. Yesterday afternoon a delegation from the chapter went before the county court seeking permission, which was granted, providing the monument erected would be an ornameantal one.
Labels: Civil War, county court, Independence, statues
January 21, 1910
CHILDREN WON'T EAT MEAT.
Independence Sunday School Pupils
Vote Thirty-Day Boycott.
The boys and girls of the Maywood Sunday school, near Independence, met last night and decided to eat no meat during the next thirty days. Petitions were circulated in Independence yesterday, but received few signers.
Labels: children, churches, food, Independence, Maywood
January 19, 1910
ALL GUARDED IN ONE ROOM.
Women Called to Mrs. Swope's Bed
Each Evening, Locking Door.
To the general public, the Swope home in Independence continues to be the "house of mystery." None of the family has been seen on the streets of the little town since the autopsy of the physicians a week ago. Every morning two nurses, driving the Swope phaeton, are seen to leave the home and go to the market. They return immediately. But not a word as to what is happening behind the curtained windows of the Swope mansion, or the bolted doors, ever escapes their lips.
It is known, however, that Mrs. Margaret Chrisman Swope has suffered a collapse and is now in a serious condition. The revelation of the supposed plot to kill Colonel Swope and Chrisman Swope, coming as it did without a moment's warning, has shattered the woman's nerves. The family physician visits her home each day, and he declares that she is not in a critical condition.
Mrs. Swope sleeps little at night. The women in the house are called to her bed room each evening and there, behind bolted doors, and with a watchman guarding on the outside, the family pass the night in the one room.
There is little sleep for any member of the family. The wakeful hours of the night are passed in thinking of the terrible events brought to light last week, and when sleep comes to the eyes of the weary ones it is to dream of things even more horrible than what the members of the family experienced.
Labels: Independence, Swope Mystery, women
January 17, 1910
MORBID CROWDS AT HOME.
Hundreds of Curious Pass Swope
House at Independence.
Drawn by curiosity, several hundred people passed back and forth in front of the Swope home in Independence yesterday, looking up at the great house which sets well back in a park, in the hope of getting a glimpse of some life about the premises. It was a murky day, the drizzling rain made it gloomier, if possible. The large forest trees, which flank the drive, dripped with moisture. Some of the more curious people went up into the yard, but they did not approach the home, as if in fear of the mysterious things which have happened there.
The officer was on guard as usual and as he has been for the past eight weeks. He has never left the house and he alone opens and shuts the doors to allow ingress and egress. None of the family, so far as known, even greet the most intimate friends at the portals of the home.
Yesterday morning at the Independence churches prayers were sent up during the services held for those bowed down in grief and sorrow, and unmistakable allusion was made in invoking divine care for the family so sorely afflicted. In the sermons no especial allusion was made to the tragedy which has shocked the city as never before.
Labels: Independence, Swope Mystery, weather
January 16, 1910
TRACE OF POISON
FOUND, IT IS SAID.
MYSTERIOUS WHITE POWDER
DISCOVERED IN CHRISMAN
Representatives to Confer
With Chemists Before
According to attorneys representing the Swope estate poison has been found in the stomach of the late Chrisman Swope. It is said this fact was known before the body of Colonel Thomas H. Swope was taken from the vault at Forest Hill cemetery last Tuesday to Independence, where the stomach was removed for the purpose of a chemical evaluation by Chicago specialists. The white powder found has been declared to be either strychnine or some other poison.
"Chrisman Swope's stomach was sent to Dr. Haynes in Chicago nearly two weeks ago," said John H. Atwood, attorney for the Swopes, last night. "An analysis was immediately made. The result was the finding of white powder in a large quantity. This powder was either strychnine or some other deadly poison. The name of the second poison I am unable to tell you. there is no doubt in the minds of the attorneys or of the Chicago specialists that the white powder is poison."
COUNSEL GOING TO CHICAGO.
John G. Paxton and Mr. Atwood, counsel for the Swope heirs, will leave this evening for Chicago. Mr. Paxton will return Tuesday night. Mr. Atwood may remain longer. When Mr. Paxton returns he will probably bring with him the official report of the doctors' investigation.
At a conference yesterday at the Swope home in Independence, participated in by Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling and counsel for the Swopes, the nurses who attended Thomas Swope told their stories.
A dispatch to The Journal from Chicago last night stated that Dr. Walter S. Haynes, the toxicologist, worked all day on the analysis and examination of the stomach of Thomas Swope with a view of tracing the typhoid bacilli which are said to still exist in the stomach and other organs. The work was carried on behind closed doors in the laboratory of the Rush Medical college.
Professor Ludvig Hektoen of the University of Chicago medical faculty has left Chicago for a few days, but when he returns he will work in conjunction with Dr. Haynes.
NO PUBLIC REPORT YET.
"I have not progressed sufficiently to make any statement as to my findings," said Dr. Haynes. "The examination will occupy several days at least. Professor Hektoen will carry on the work of making the exact microscopic tests."
The case is one of the most extraordinary presented for criminal investigation for some years.
Dr. J. V. Bacon in discussing the investigation in Chicago yesterday said that the placing of life in jeopardy by administering the bacilli of typhoid, tuberculosis or another diseases was simple, the only thing necessary being to administer the germs in milk, soup or other foods, wherein it would be impossible to detect by taste.
"The result in administering typhoid germs would simply be to create a case of typhoid," said Dr. Bacon. "The patient might recover or might die, just as in the case contracted in the ordinary way, and the percentage of recoveries is high enough to render such a method of attempted murder very uncertain. Of course in the case of an old man, enfeebled already by years, the risk of death in typhoid is heavy."
INTENDED CHANGING WILL.
It was not until a week ago, when an unofficial report was received from the Chicago specialists that poison had been found in the stomach of Chrisman Swope, that the family realized the extent of this alleged plot. Colonel Swope's body was removed from the vault in Forest Hill cemetery. The autopsy was held Tuesday and the following day the stomach and other vital organs sent to Chicago to be examined.
The investigation branched from this to the presence of typhoid fever among the Swope heirs. Eight members of the family had been taken down with typhoid fever, between December 1 and 18. Physicians were called in. then it was believed that the members of the family had not contracted the disease by natural means.
It is known that the millionaire benefactor was planning several days before his death to give $1,000,000 or more to Kansas City.
"This fund, held as a residue and bequeathed to no one," said John Paxton, attorney for the Swope estate, "contained about $1,000,000. He realized that he had provided for all his relatives handsomely, and this reside he had, I think, made up his mind to give to the public of Kansas City or for some charity. He died before he could change his will, and this residue of over $1,000,000 consequently was divided among the heirs."
Labels: attorney, Chicago, Independence, poison, probate, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, typhoid
January 15, 1910
INDEPENDENCE "HOUSE OF
DEATH" CLOSED TO VISITORS.
Swope Home in Independence
Guarded Day and Night by
The Swope Home in Independence.
The Swope home, a magnificent three-story brick structure on South Pleasant avenue in Independence, is regarded as the abode of death by nearly every resident of that rural city.
The sudden death of J. Moss Hunton, closely followed by that of Thomas H. Swope, the millionaire benefactor and that of his nephew, Chrisman Swope, awoke suspicion that all was not well and that the Swopes were a marked family among even the most easy-going of the inhabitants. Men and women passing to or from their homes during church hours of a Sunday evening gazed fearfully up at the now tomb-like building with its darkened windows and barred doors. If they ahd been asked ubruptly why they did this they would have stammered out the answer that they did not know. It was all so mysterious that one after another of the same family should be stricken with a fatal illness of different kinds, but uniformly ending in convulsions.
Where there are suspicions there are those to invent tales of various sorts or to uncover significant incidents from the charmed house of the past. Some of the stories were undoubtedly founded on fact. Many were as wild and incredible as any ever bandied about the boar's-head dinners of King Arthur's court or the tales taken as evidence in the days of Salem witchcraft.
Some of the followers of Joseph Smith, the Independence seer and prophet, it is said, believed that sometime in the life of the philanthropist he had offended his God and that a curse was now being visited on his household. There would be no end, they said, until the last vestige of the family was swept away.
Another rumor that always had credence was that someone skilled in the use of subtle poisons was profiting by his knowledge.
WATER FREE OF GERMS?
Soon after the death of Chrisman Swope, it was announced by physicians of the family, that a city chemist of Kansas City had been summoned and that he had declared the presence of typhoid germs in the water used by the Swopes. In the same statement was added that the well formerly used by the family had "played out" and that another long out of commission was furnishing the supply. The water, it was said last night, was analyzed and said to be free from typhiod bacilli, notwithstanding the report.
"There is evidence that Mrs. Logan O. Swope believed the house unsanitary. About the time the well story was given out, she sent word to John Welch, a plumber, to come to the place and overhaul everything. This was done. Not a pipe but was inspected, not a hydrant or sewer outlet but was dested and disinfected. They were, according to the plumber, in ship-shape. No trace of disease laden decomposed matter was found.
All this time solicious neighbors were making inquiries of Mrs. Swope and others closely conneted with the family, touching the cause of the unusual spread of typhoid in the home. They seemed at their wits end to account for the disease.
Thus it was given out that the milk used in the kitchen was tainted; that the water was stagnant; that there was a quantity of decaying sewage in the pipes and that a servant girl, recently hired, who had had typhoid, had thrown her infected clothing in the milk house adjacent to the kitchen. No one knew what to believe.
Just when Mrs. Swope or her lawyers awoke to the real peril is not known definitely It is supposed to have been less than a month ago, when the doors of the palatial home were shut finally upon all visitors and a private detective employed to watch that no one should step within.
This detective is William C. Rice, former chief of police at Fairmount Park. A reporter who knockked at the big outer folding doors last night was met by him and warned off the place.
"I am here to see that no one shall see Mrs. Swope," said he. "There is no hope of getting an interview. She is indisposed and would not talk for publication. It is impossible."
The bland officer said this with a degree of finality. Without another word he stepped backward into the lobby. the heavy doors swung to. A bolt dropped in place. While the disappointed interrogator was yet on the porch a distant click like that made by an electric switch, was heard. The great house was as dark as a tomb.
The story of several deaths in the Swope family, as told by some of their intimate friends last night, points to many susicious circumstances.
The family from the oldest member to the youngest was described as about of one disposition, kind, generous and impulsive. Thomas H. Swope would travel many a mile to help a friend.
Logan O. Swope, brother of Thomas H., died about ten years ago leaving a large inheritance in property around Independence. Naturally the burden of hte care of htis estate would devolve on the shoulders of Thomas, who already was loaded with business cares of his own. the year following Logan's death, Thomas sent for a cousin, J. Moss Hunton, then in Kentucky.
Hunton was a good manager anda man of high social standing in St. Louis, where his father, Judge James Hunton, is conisdered an authority on corporation law. Hunton came to Independence nine years ago and assumed the management of Mrs. Logan O. Swope's estate. He was acting as her major domo at the time of his death.
The Swopes, with the exception of Thomas Swope, a son of Logan, who owns a farm three miles northeast of the city, resided in the home on South Pleasant avenue. Hunton also lived there and as time went on Thomas H. Swope and he became inseparable companions and confidantes. Not a charity did the philanhopist indulge in but was previously laid before Hunton and met with his approval. The people of Independence came to love one as the other and Hunton acquired the unique reputation of being the only man in the city who would give a cigar or a box of candy to collectors presenting him with his month's end bills.
"I am Colonel Swope's bodyguard," Hunton told a friend on one occasion. "there is no danger of his ocming to grief when I am about. I guess things would go different if I shou ld die."
On the evening of Friday, October 1, the night of Hunton's death, he came home from a trip to the business district in good humor.
Suddenly, a few minutes after supper, he complained of feeling mortally sick and threw himself on a lounge in the sitting room, calling Mrs. Swope to his side. they had always been the greatest of friends.
"Maggie," said Hunton, "I believe this is the end." He then closed his eyes and the fatal convulsions came. Two hours later he was dead.
The death of Homas H. Swope came quite as suddenly two days from that of his confidant and friend, at about 8 o'clock the following Sunday morning. The abrupt taking away of all that was dear to Mrs. Logan O. Swope, except her children, was a great strain on her nerves and for several weeks she was on the point of a break down. She was advised to go to Chicago to recuperate. She followed the instructions and went in company with two of her personal friends, Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Thomas.
HURRIES TO DEATH BED.
While she was in Chicago word was sent to her that her eldest son, Chrisma, 31 years old, and a daughter, Margaret, were very sick of typhoid fever. She hurried back and arrived at the home four days before the death of Chrisman.
The home to which Mrs. Swope returned wsa one of hte blackest sorrow and apprehension. Margaret and Chrisman were both at death's door. One of hte servants was sick and MIss Cora Dickson, Margaret's governess who had thrown over her position as teacher of the third and fourth grades in the Columbian ward school to attend to her mistress, was down with the fatal malady.
In mortal dread of impending trouble as deep and poignant as any that had occurred heretofre, the widow cabled at once another daughter, Stella Swope, taking music lessons in Paris, to come home as quickly as steamship and train could carry her. Before she arrived in America, however, Chrisman was dead from a convulsion which turned the trend of his sickness to the worse at the climax.
Perhaps Mrs. Swope at this time believed as did some of her neighbors, that there was something supernatural in the calamities which had come to her in such close succession. anyway she sent a distant relative by marriage to meet Stella at New York and escort her home. Stella contracted typhoid fever on the train or home, it is alleged, and when she arrived was ready for the sick bed.
ADDED TO MYSTERY.
When the body of Thomas H. Swope was taken from its resting place in the vault in Forest Hill cemetery to the morgue of the H. J. Ott undertaking establishment in Independence it was about as much of a mystery as the more important details of this remarkable case. The physicians who examined the body, the lawyers at whose insistance the body was exhumed and the undertaker and coroner would not talk yesterday.
It is known that the body was at the Independence morgue, however, at 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, for it was at this time that a special coroner's jury was called to the Ott undertaking rooms to formally identify the body.
After they had been filed through the rooms and gazed at the face of the dead benefactor they were dismissed on call. The jurors were T. J. Walker, A. J. Bundschu, S. T. Pendleton, S. H. Woodson, Bernard Zick, Jr., and William Martin.
"We were asked merely to identify the body and our opinion as to how Colonel Swope came by his death was not asked," said T. J. Walker, one of the jurors, afterwrds. "We probably will not be called again until the contents of the stomach have been examined by the Chicago specialists.
Henry Ott of the undertaking firm would not give out a statement last night. He said he has been instructed to tell nothing and he intended to do as he was told.
Dr. B. H. Zwart, county coroner, said that Dr. Frank Hall asked his permission of the autopsy on the body of Colonel Swope, which was granted. the autopsy, he said, was performed by Dr. Heptoek of Chicago and Dr. Hall. A jury ws provisionally impaneled and viewed the body. This jury will be reimpaneled, according to Dr. Zward, providing an inquest is held.
"If there is a request for an inquest, I will order one," he said. "If after a reasonable time nothing further is done in the matter, I will then have to investigate and find why no request is being made for an inquest. It will be my duty to learn why the autopsy was made."
Labels: Chicago, Coroner Zwart, detectives, Independence, St Louis, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope, typhoid, undertakers
January 14, 1910
COL. "TOM" SWOPE
VICTIM OF PLOT
Scheme to Gain Control of
Millions by Wholesale
Murder of the Relatives of
the Great Public Benefac-
tor Believed to Have Been
BODY OF CAPITALIST
TAKEN FROM CEMETERY.
Stomach Will Be Sent to Chi-
cago for Analysis -- Chris-
man Swope, Who Also
Died Suddenly, May Have
Been a Poison Victim --
Suspect Under Close
COL. THOMAS H. SWOPE.
Was the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope, whose benefactions to Kansas City, including Swope park, amounted to more than a million and a half dollars, the victim of a scientific plot which had for its aim the elimination of the entire Swope family, by inoculation with the typhoid fever germs, looking to ultimate control of the $3,000,000 estate?
Acting on the theory that a poisoning conspiracy rivaling in fiendish ingenuity the most diabolical deeds of the Borgias was responsible for the death of Colonel Swope, October 3, last, and later of his nephew, Chrisman Swope, the body of Colonel Swope was removed Wednesday from the vault where it rested in Forest Hill cemetery and taken to Independence, where an autopsy was held.
The stomach was removed and will be taken to Chicago for analysis by chemists and toxicologists of national repute, in the hope of finding traces of poison, which members of the Swope family, their counsel and friends believe to have caused death.
RESULT OF AUTOPSY.
The autopsy of Colonel Swope's body Wednesday, attorneys for the Swopes say, resulted in the finding that death was not due to apoplexy, as was given out at the time. All the organs, including the brain, were found to be in normal condition. This could not have been the case had he died of apoplexy. The same was found in the Chrisman Swope autopsy. His brain was found to be normal, as were the other organs of his body. A slight trace of typhoid bacilli was found, but not enough, it is claimed, to have caused his death.e
But with this the plot does not end. After Colonel Swope and his nephews were out of the way, a plot was hatched, it is alleged, to kill off the entire family.
NEPHEW'S BODY EXHUMED.
Suspicion of foul play was aroused at the sudden death of Chrisman Swope last month. An autopsy was held, the stomach was removed and a thorough examination made. The stomach is now in Chicago, where it is being analyzed by a commission of eminent chemists and toxicologists.
"It will be several days before an arrest is made," said John H. Atwood of the law firm of Reed, Atwood, Yates, Mastin & Harvey. "We have the evidence well in hand. There is not a particle of doubt in my mind but that both Thomas Swope and Chrisman Swope were poisoned, and that they did not die of the diseases which they were said to have in the newspaper accounts."
TO KILL THE HEIRS.
This plot, said to have been planned with more deliberation, and even more heinous intent than the now famous Gunness affair, had for its supposed end the extermination of all the Swope heirs. Shortly before Chrisman Swope's death, it is charged, a man visited the office of a well known bacteriologist of Kansas City and secured some typhoid germs. With these deadly bacilli, those pushing the matter believe he hoped to innoculate the members of the Swope family.
Colonel Thomas H. Swope and Chrisman Swope are said to have both died after the same manner. The former died October 3. He arose the fateful morning, and was given a bath. An hour afterwards he died in convulsions.
Chrisman Swope was a man of about 30, young and vigorous. Shortly before this it was given out that he was suffering from typhoid fever. He was taken down December 2 and died four days after. He is said to have been administered a capsule an hour before his death. the nurses say that he died in convulsions.
EIGHT OTHERS STRICKEN.
The man suspected secured his typhoid bacteria November 10. His first visit to the Swope home in Independence was made Thanksgiving day. It was only a week after this that Chrisman Swope was taken down with the contagion. The plot is thought to have been to kill off the heirs by typhoid fever.
The sudden death of Chrisman Swope, following so close after the fatal illness of Colonel Swope, immediately aroused the suspicions of the family. An autopsy was held with the result that it was claimed that the last member of the family had not died of typhoid, as was said. The stomach was soon after sent to Chicago.
During this time, it is claimed, there was more evidence of a plot to kill off the entire family. Mrs. Logan Swope was taken down with typhoid fever early in December.
In rapid succession other members of the family were taken down with typhoid fever. They follow in chronological order:
Dec. 2 -- Margaret Swope.
Dec. 4 -- Miss Dixon, the governess. A negro servant by the name of Coppidge, Miss Compton, seamstress.
Dec. 5 -- Stuart Flelming.
Dec. 9. -- Sarah Swope, 14 years of age.
Dec. 11 -- Stella Swope.
Dec. 22 -- Lucy Lee.
None of the victims were in a critical condition.
NURSES FIRST SUSPICIOUS.
Lucy Lee was on her return trip from Europe. It is thought that she was inoculated with the typhoid germs in route to Kansas City. It is known that it takes from six to seven days after inoculation, for the first symptoms of the disease to show. In the case of Miss Lee, she was taken down four days after her arrival in Kansas City.
The investigation which resulted in these startling disclosures was largely at the insistence of the nurses employed in the Swope home during the illness of Chrisman Swope. At their suggestion Dr. G. T. Twyman of Independence was called in to make an investigation. He found the house to be in a sanitary condition and no place from whence the disease germs could possibly originate. Dr. Frank Hall also made an investigation with the same results.
FIVE DETECTIVES ON GUARD.
Mrs. Logan Swope and other members of the family told their suspicions to John G. Paxton, attorney for the Swope estate. At first Mr. Paxton would not believe that there could be anything in these charges. But after an investigation he, too, became convinced that there was truth in them. Mr. Paxton yesterday employed the law firm of Reed, Atwood, Yates, Mastin & Harvey, to push the investigation.
One man suspected is now under the espionage day and night of five private detectives employed by the Swopes.
Dr. Hekpeen of Rush Medical College, Chicago, is in Kansas City making investigations. He will take the stomach of Colonel Swope back with him for a thorough examination. Dr. Haynes of Chicago, a chemist of national reputation, will assist in the chemical tests to be made in the effort to find a trace of poison.
"The Swope millions will be used to run this mystery to the ground," said Mr. Atwood.
Labels: attorney, cemetery, Chicago, doctors, Independence, murder, poison, probate, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope, typhoid
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