Find Kansas City Antiques and Collectibles at the Vintage Kansas City Marketplace ~ Own a Piece of Old KC

Vintage Kansas



Old News
Headlines and Articles from The Kansas City Journal

Business Office...4000 Main
City Editor.....4001 Main
Society Editor....4002 Main

Two cents. Subscription Rates:  By carrier, per week, 10 cents; per month, 45 cents.  By mail, daily and Sunday, one month, 40 cents; three months, $1.00; six months, $2.00; one year, $4.00.  Sunday only, six months, 75 cents; one year, $1.50.  Weekly Journal, 25 cents one year.

Like Vintage Kansas City on Facebook

As We See 'Em ~ Caricatures of Prominent Kansas Cityans

The Isis Theatre ~ Kansas City, Missouri

The History of Fairmount Park

Claims of Cancer Cured by Dr. Bye in Vintage KC Missouri

Special Cut Prices ~ Always the Same

Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

February 11, 1910


Colonel Swope's Nephew by
Marriage Formally Accused
and Arrested.


Special Grand Jury Convenes
Saturday to Investigate
Swope Deaths.


By Dismissing Proceedings,
Dr. Hyde Avoids Giving

Dr. B. Clark Hyde, Charged with First Degree Murder.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


"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.


"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.


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.


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: , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 10, 1910


Elmer Swope Has Photo of Father;
Is Coming Here.

MARTINSBURG, W. VA., Feb. 9. -- Although the story of Elmer Caryall Swope of this city, who claims he is the son of the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope, is discredited by the Kansas City relatives of the dead millionaire, Swope has engaged attorneys and has prepared to fight for the millions left by Colonel Swope.

Through his attorneys Swope is tracing the movements of his father after leaving his wife near here prior to the war. Government reports are said to bear out Swope's statement that his father served in the Union army and was promoted from the ranks to a colonel. Elmer Swope will leave with his attorneys for Kansas City wihtin a few days to confer with his Kansas City attorney. He has in his possession of picture of his father taken when he married and the photo is said to greatly resemble the late Western millionaire. He also has in his possession records of his father prior to his marriage in 1859.


February 10, 1910


Wanted to Question Him in
Regard to Contents of

J. W. Martin, one of the jurors in the Swope inquest case, was asked yesterday after the verdict was brought in what testimony caused the jurors to arrive at a conclusion.

"The fact that Dr. Hyde did not go on the stand and testify impressed us greatly," he said. "In the morning we had a meeting and the question of the nurses testimony as to the capsule was up for discussion. It was then that we decided that we wanted to hear what Dr. Hyde had to say as to the contents of the capsule. When we were denied this, it made an impression on me as well as the other jurors.

"Another thing which we considered carefully was the conference between the nurse and Dr. Hyde when Thomas H. Swope was stricken. It had its weight, bu the refusal of Dr. Hyde to testify, thereby shutting out all information of an explanatory nature, which he might have been able to give, impressed us deeply."

The verdict of the jury was to the effect that Thomas H. Swope came to his death from strychnine poison administered in a capsule "by direction of B. Clarke Hyde, whether with felonious intent, we, the jury, are unable to decide."

Coroner Zwart tried to get Dr. Hyde to the witness stand and testify in his own behalf, but the doctor's attorneys assumed responsibility for keeping him off the stand. They said in a statement they felt satisfied the evidence adduced at the inquest would convince the public of their client's innocence.

Dr. Hyde was apparently least interested of all in the room when the coroner's jury brought in the report of the inquest. He sat facing the jury and a shadow of a smile flitted over his features as the foreman finished reading. Coroner Zwart will certify the stenographic report of the case together with all of the evidence he has to the criminal court. This will be done immediately.

Just when a warrant will be issued by Prosecuting Attorney Conkling, if one is issued at all, is problematic. It was rumored from apparently good sources yesterday afternoon that no action would be taken until a report on the rest of the viscera, still undergoing examination in Chicago, is made to Executor John G. Paxton and Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling.


After Miss Kellar was recalled to the stand, where she repeated much of the testimony she had given in the other days of the inquest, Coroner Zwart called Dr. Hyde to the stand. A hush fell over the court room and all eyes were fixed on the features of the physician. Dr. Hyde did not move a muscle. His attorney, Frank P. Walsh, leaned over the table and in a low but distinct voice announced:

"The attorneys for Dr. Hyde have advised him not to testify. We do not care for him to testify here, and therefore at our suggestion he must decline to be sworn."

"I have here a copy of a newspaper dated February 1," said Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling, who rose to his feet immediately after Mr. Walsh declared his client would not testify. "It contains a signed statement by Dr. Hyde, and in the light of his refusal to testify, I desire to ---"

Coroner Zwart again re-entered the arena. He motioned to Mr. Walsh and to Mr. Conkling. Mr. Conkling, his assistant, Mr. Jost, Coroner Zwart and his assistant, Mr. Trogdon, left the room. A conference of a couple of minutes followed, and when they returned Coroner Zwart declared taht he did not know just what this legal scrimmage had to do with an unsophisticated coroner, but that he wanted Dr. Hyde to testify.

"I hold that Dr. Hyde must be sworn to take the stand," said the coroner. The words were hardly out of his mouth when Mr. Walsh rose to reply.

"I stated before that on the advice of counsel, Dr. Hyde refuses to testify," he said.


Prosecutor Conkling again offered a suggestion. "The prosecutor asks the same rule apply here as with the rest of the witnesses."

"The coroner holds that the witness who is here must be sworn and then he may or may not testify as he chooses," declared Coroner Zwart.

"Notwithstanding the stand that has been taken by the coroner, and the prosecuting attorney," said Mr. Walsh, "and not intending any disrespect to the coroner, I will simply reiterate my statement that Dr. Hyde will not testify."

"If the witness does not desire to reply to certain questions which may be asked of him, he can refuse to do so under his constitutional rights," said Coroner Zwart.

"As I have said before, Dr. Hyde will not be sworn. That is final," said Attorney Walsh.

"That is sufficient for my purpose," almost shouted Prosecutor Conkling.

Coroner Zwart turned to the attorneys and remarked that he tried to afford them all of the courtesies that he could. The attorneys smiled and seemed satisfied.


After testimony by Dr. Gayle as to the efficacy of strychnine as a poison, Coroner Zwart said to those in the courtroom:

"Does anyone present in this courtroom know anything as to the cause of the death of Colonel Swope?" There was an intense silence broken by a juror who asked that Mrs. Swope be recalled. Mr. Paxton escorted her to the witness chair from the seat on the garden bench she occupied the previous day. She was asked about the extra pay Miss Kellar received for attending Colonel Swope, adn said that this was talked over by the entire family, and it was their wish that Miss Kellar receive $35 instead of $25 a week. This she said was after the suggestion for the extra $10 a week had been made by Dr. Hyde.

As Mrs. Swope stepped from the witness chair, Coroner Zwart stepped forward. He told the jury that the evidence had been presented and that they were to retire and find a verdict. He handed them two legal forms for verdicts. The one that was used was added to by the jurors who were unable to decide as to the intent of Dr. Hyde in ordering the administration of the capsule which they said caused death.

Half an hour later the jury sent for Dr. Zwart. They wanted to know if they should insert the time and place of Colonel Swope's death on the verdict. He told them that they should, and a quarter of an hour later they reported.

Labels: , , ,

February 9, 1910


Or Seemed to Appear, While Miss
Kellar Was Testifying.

When this testimony was given, Dr. Hyde gazed pensively out of the window, as though the proceedings were boring to him. -- From the routine report of the Swope inquest in yesterday's Kansas City Post.

Over behind his attorneys Dr Hyde was listening to the testimony. His eyes were half closed andhis head was bowed. Then he raised his head and watched the nurse closely. His eyes were wide open now and his lips parted just a little. -- From the Kansas City Star's report of the Swope inquest.

Dr. Hyde's pale face flushed under the sudden battery of scrutiny, turned upon him as a searchlight falls upon the just and the unjust -- under the hands of a skilfull operator. His shrewd, clever, calculating face set hard and his brilliant eyes glittered, but his long slim fingers lay quietly on the table in front of him and he smiled back at Mr. Walsh's interest and friendly attempt to reassure his embarrassment. -- From the Sob Squad's report of the Swope inquest in the Kansas City Post.

Labels: ,

February 9, 1910




Artificial Cause of Death Suspected
by Pathologist.
Mrs. Maggie C. Swope, Sister-in-Law of the Colonel.

After the testimony of Dr. Hektoen yesterday in the coroner's inquiry into the death of Colonel Thomas Swope, Dr. Frank J. Hall, a patholigist, testified that he was requested by Mr. Paxton to get permission from Coroner Zwart to perform the post mortem examination of the colonel's body. He acted as an assistant to Dr. Hektoen, and dictated the report to Dr. Stewart. His report was a repetition of that of Dr. Hektoen, except that it was more explicit. It was filled with techincal terms and called for frequent explanations by Dr. Zwart to the jury.

After a recess, Dr. Hall was asked several questions suggested by Mr. Reed. He said that if strychnine had been taken in quantities sufficient to have caused death it would not have been noticeable in the post mortem. He also said that some artificial cause for death was suggested as a result of the examination.

After Dr Hall testified, Dr. Hoektoen was recalled, and was asked whether strychnine affected the old people more than it did the young, and he replied that he did not know. He also said that there was nothing in the post mortem examination to indicate the cause of death, and that a chemical analysis was indicated.

Overton H. Gentry, a pharmacist of Independence, testified as to the nature of the tonic mixture which Colonel Swope took. He said that it was made up of quinine, iron, pepsin and minor drugs and that each dose, a teaspoonful, contained one-hundred-and-eightieth grain of strychnine. He put the tonic up in six ounce bottles, which would give a little more than a quarter of a grain of strychnine to the bottle.


"This tonic was an extemporaneous mixture," said Mr. Gentry. "It was put up for and sold to Mr. Hunton although I understood that Colonel Swope used it several times."

Mrs. Maggie C. Swope, widow of L. O. Swope, and a sister-in-law of Colonel Thomas Swope, at whose home he died, was the next witness. Mrs. Swope was dressed in mourning. A closely woven black veil with a heavy border dropped loosely from her hat to her chin. She spoke clearly.

"I have lived in Independence for fifty-four years," said Mrs. Swope. "Colonel Tom was my brother-in-law and he lived at my house for the last ten years or almost since the death of my husband. My husband was Colonel Tom's favorite brother. I have six children living and there were four at home during the last illness of Colonel Swope.

"Dr. and Mrs. Hyde came to the house Friday evening, October 1, the evening of Mr. Hunton's death. I sent for Dr. Hyde.

"Colonel Swope was very averse to taking medicines. 'Medicines don't do anyone any good,' he would say when it was suggested that he take something for his indigestion, or a tonic. He did take some medicines occasionally and took the tonic that Mr. Hunton got for him. He took two bottles of this tonic in a year. It was only at rare intervals that he would take the medicine. He also took charcoal tablets for his dyspepsia. He was only ill twice in the last two years. Both Drs. Twyman and Hyde prescribed for him then. Dr. Twyman prescribed a tonic for him a year ago and last summer Dr. Hyde prescribed some laxative pills.


"Colonel Swope fell Sunday, September 4. He did not want to get up and we had some trouble getting him upstairs. We sent for Dr. Twyman, but he could not come and sent his son, Elmer. He put his shoulder in a sling and said that he did not need any medicines.

"The following Sunday Dr. Hyde and his wife come out for a visit and Dr. Hyde called on Colonel Swope. He was smiling when he came downstairs. 'I have solved the question,' he declared. "Colonel Swope has agreed to have a nurse.' We all agreed that this was an excellent thing, for it was hard to care for Colonel Swope. He did not want anyone around and we could not handle him as well as a nurse would. He did not take any medicine, and the only thing we know that he took was those pink pills. Monday Dr. Hyde brought Miss Kellar.

"When Mr. Hunton was taken ill we sent for Dr. Hyde. His wife came with him, and when she asked if I wanted them to remain at the house I told them that I did. I was glad to have her there. They remained until Monday after the Swope funeral. Saturday morning Dr. and Mrs. Hyde went to the cemetery to get a burial lot. I asked my daughter to do this for me.

"Sunday morning Miss Kellar and I were alone at the breakfast table. Miss Keller had told me that Colonel Swope had spent an unusually good night and then Dr. Hyde came in. Dr. Hyde asked if Colonel Swope had had his breakfast, and when told by Miss Kellar that he had, he remarked to her, 'Please come and give him this digestive tablet.' They were not gone long, and when they returned Miss Kellar said that Colonel Swope had refused to take the medicine.


"It was not long afterward when we received word that Colonel Swope had been stricken. I met Dr. Hyde in the hall afterward and he said: 'It is just a matter of time. He is going just like Mr. Hunton.' I stepped into Colonel Swope's room about 3 o'clock. He was unconscious then."

Mrs. Swope said that she had been told about the will which Colonel Swope had made but that she did not know its contents or any thing about any of the bequests until after his death. She said that she had been told that her children had been liberally provided for in the will. This was natural, she said, "as they were the children of his favorite brother.

"Mr. Swope was inclined to talk about his wealth to those whom he knew well. He frequently boasted to me that he was a millionaire. Dr. Hyde told me that Colonel Swope told him that he had a million and a half dollars that he intended to devote to charity. This was about the time he was taken sick.

"Dr. Hyde was aware that my children, one of whom is is wife, would be the biggest beneficiaries. They, however, did not know to what extent they had been provided for, although he told them that he had so arranged his estate that none should ever want for anything. He also talked of making a new will. He expected to do this when he got down town after he got well. Dr. Hyde understood that if Colonel Swope made a new will that the million and a half residuary estate would not go to the children.

"Dr. Hyde did not tell me that he wanted to be an executor of the estate of Colonel Swope but recently Miss Kellar told me that Dr. Hyde asked her to use her influence with Colonel Swope.


"I saw Dr. Hyde go into Colonel Swope's room when he was called by Miss Kellar and it was Dr. Hyde who told me that it was all over, referring to Colonel Swope's death. I only saw Colonel Swope once on the day he died. This was between 3 and 4 p. m.

"The children were all a little afraid of Colonel Swope. He did not like children and young folks seemed to bother him. That is the reason that the children did not go into his room during his last illness.

"I knew that his will was in his vest pocket. He told Moss that it was there the afternoon that he fill in the library. He told moss that if anything happened to him that he could find his will there."

Mrs. Swope was then questioned about the medicine which she threw away after the death of Colonel Swope and Mr. Hunton. She said that about a week after the funeral she cleared away a quantity of medicines which stood on an open shelf in Mr. Hunton's room. Some of these medicines, she said, were strychnine preparations or contained strychnine. Efforts were made by Coroner Zwart to get Mrs. Swope to tell just what all of the bottles and boxes contained and the colors of the boxes. Her testimony was apparently unsatisfactory in this respect. These medicines, she said, had accumulated for a couple of years.

"There was no possibility of Colonel Swope getting hold of these medicines, for he never entered Mr. Hunton's room," she said. "Colonel Swope had a well-beaten path from the library to his room and he never deviated.

"For the last twenty-five or thirty years Colonel Swope would tell me he did not expect to live much longer. He made the statement a couple of years ago while Dr. and Mrs. Hyde were here that 'You are talking to a dead man now. I am just walking around to save funeral expenses.'

"In the early part of his last illness he said that he was going to die. A week before he died he declared that he was going to get well and that he was going to change his will as soon as he got downtown. This was the first thing he said that he was going to do."

Subpoenas were served on Dr. Ludwig Hektoen yesterday in the libel suit of Dr. Hyde vs. the St. Louis Post-Dispatch an in the suit for libel by Dr. Hyde against Mr. Paxton.

Labels: , , ,

February 9, 1910


Testifies That Capsule Was
Given on Order of Dr. Hyde.


Hypodermic Injections Made
When Philanthropist
Was Unconscious.

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.


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.


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.


" '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.


"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.


"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.'


"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.


"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.


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.


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.


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.


"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: ,

February 8, 1910



Doctors and Nurses Testify
at Independence.

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.


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.


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.


"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.


"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.


"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."


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.


"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.


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: , , , , , , , , , ,

February 7, 1910




Must Prove His Allegations,
Which Legal Records
Alone Could.

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."


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: , , , , , ,

February 6, 1910


West Virginian Writes Pros-
ecuting Attorney for Par-
ticulars of Death.


Friends of the Late Capitalist
Declare the Relationship

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.

Labels: , ,

February 1, 1910




Asks Damages Aggregating
$700,000 for Statements
Regarding Deaths.

Physician Who Sues for $700,000 for Statements Growing out of the Swope Poison Cases.

CHICAGO, Jan. 31. -- Colonel Thomas H. Swope of Kansas City died from the effects of poison, according to the findings of Dr. Ludwig Hektoen and Dr. Walter S. Haines, announced in Chicago this afternoon.

It was formally declared by the doctors that Colonel Swope died from the effects of strychnine poisoning.

The report of the experts does not include the result of the analysis of the contents of the stomach of Chrisman Swope, nephew of Colonel Swope, who died soon after the demise of his uncle, under similar circumstances.


The investigation of the mysterious deaths of the late Colonel Swope and his nephew was shifted to Chicago today. For several weeks the internal organs of the bodies have been here in the laboratories of Dr. Hektoen and Dr. Haines, toxicologists. Today Attorney John G. Paxton, administrator of the Swope estate, Attorney James A. Reed, his associate, Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney at Kansas City; Dr. B. H. Zwart, coroner there, and Thomas H. Swope, nephew of the dead millionaire, came to receive the report of the experts as to whether or not poison had been found in sufficient quantities to cause death.


The visitors arrived on a Santa Fe train at 7:28 a. m., and went at once to the Hotel La Salle, where a room was engaged. Later a conference was held at the University Club, at which the findings were revealed.

Attention of Attorney Paxton was called to the fact that suits for $100,000 had been instituted against him for slander in connection with his share of the investigation.

"I have nothing to say about this suit except that I feel somewhat flattered," said Mr. Paxton. "I have received the news by wire that Dr. Hyde has sued myself and Drs. Hall and Stewart in suits aggregating $700,000 because of slander in connection with the Swope case. I have nothing further to say.

Mr. Paxton would make no further comment beyond saying that the investigation was not fully concluded yest, and would say nothing of the investigation of Chrisman Swope's death. It was said that strychnine had been found in the stomachs and livers of both men.

Coroner Zwart returned to Kansas City tonight, but Mr. Paxton, Mr. Reed and Attorney Conkling remained. They will leave Chicago tomorrow night, Mr. Paxton said. An inquest over the bodies of Colonel Swope and his nephew will probably be started next Monday. Any criminal warrants that will be issued will probably follow the inquest.


Through Frank P. Walsh and John M. Cleary, attorneys, Dr. B. Clark Hyde filed suit yesterday in the circuit court at Independence demanding damages aggregating $700,000 from J. G. Paxton, executor of the Swope estate and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The petition declares that published interviews pointed to Dr. Hyde, son-in-law of the Swopes and their family physician, as the instigator of a plot to murder Swope heirs.

The damages are asked on three counts and newspaper men are named as witnesses to statements alleged to have been made by Mr. Paxton which the plaintiff declares destroyed his professional standing and were meant to oppress, impoverish and wholly ruin him. The first suit against Mr. Paxton charges slander and the amounts asked are $30,000 actual damages and a like amount for punitive damages. The complaint in the suit against the publishing company states that headlines in the Post-Dispatch over a purported Paxton interview said that the man who "planned to kill family with typhoid germs," which, the petition alleges meant Dr. Hyde, "who has been continually watched by five detectives and will not be allowed to escape punishment."

The petition is long, and is a narrative leading up to the final mention of the family doctor's name and alleged insinuations that he plotted to kill. Interviews with the county coroner, Dr. B. H. Zwart and Dr. Frank J. Hall, specialist in analytical work, are made a part of the contentions of the plaintiff. The damages asked in the first count total $200,000, and after this comes a similar charge on another published interview and another $200,000 is asked. The third is based on the publication of Dr. Hyde's picture, which the petition alleges clearly identified him as the "man," meant in all the interviews charging murder plots.

Dr. Hall and Dr. Edward L. Stewart are made defendants along with the newspaper. The plaintiff estimates the total wealth of all the defendants at $5,000,000.

Mrs. B. C. Hyde, formerly Frances Lee Swope, yesterday gave out a signed statement insisting that she was constantly at her husband's side, and knew his every movement.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

January 29, 1910



Attorneys Hurriedly Called
Together on Receipt
of Telegram.

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.


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.


"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: , , , , , ,


Get the Book
Vintage Kansas City Stories ~ Early 20th Century Americana as Immortalized in The Kansas City Journal
Kansas City Stories

Early Kansas City, Missouri

>>More KC Books<<

The History and Heritage of Vintage Kansas City in Books
Vintage Kansas
City Bookstore

Powered by Blogger

Vintage Kansas

Vintage Antique Classics ~ Vintage Music, Software, and more Time Travel Accessories

In association with
KC Web ~ The Ultimate Kansas City Internet Directory