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January 7, 1910



Spiritualist Seeks to Prevent
Heirs From Depriving
Him of Bequests.

That by giving her absent treatment over the telephone for rheumatism and in other ways, John H. Lee, said to be a spiritualist, won the confidence of wealthy Mrs. Victoria Mostow, 71 years old, and thus influenced her to bequeath him property worth $35,000, was the substance of testimony given yesterday in Judge J. G. Park's division of the circuit court.

The occasion was the trial of a suit by which Lee seeks to have set aside deeds transferring to James P. Richardson, principal of the Prosso school, and nephew of Mrs. Mostow, the property left to Lee by will. The heirs have a suit pending to set aside the will.

The story told by witnesses in substance follows:

Mrs. Mostow was the wife of the late Randolph Mostow, and a sister of the late Dr. De Estaing Dickerson. From the latter she inherited a large amount of property. Mr. Mostow died in the summer of 1908. During his last illness, he summoned Lee and was given treatment. In this way Mrs. Mostow became acquainted with the spiritualist.


After her husband's death, Mrs. Mostow became a believer in spiritualism. Through the medium of spirits and mesmeric powers Lee claimed that he could cure every known ill. Mrs. Mostow put in a telephone at her home, at Thirty-fourth and Wyandotte streets, and when she became troubled with rheumatism, Lee would give her absent treatment over the phone. At this time he lived near 4800 East Eighth street, several miles across the city from his patient.

In January, 1908, Mrs. Mostow made deeds to property at 817 Main street, and her home on Wyandotte, to her only surviving heir in Kansas City, James P. Richardson, owner of the Prosso Preparatory school. This was done to escape the payment of the collateral inheritance tax, and to prevent the heirs in Chicago from securing any of her property. The deeds were not to be recorded until after her death.


In the summer of 1908, it is charged, Lee secured so great an influence over Mrs. Mostow that he secured permission to move himself and family into her home. Here they have lived since. The taxes are said to have been paid by the Mostow estate, and during her lifetime all the household expenses were met by Mrs. Mostow.

After Lee had been living in the Mostow home a few months, it is charged, it was seen that he gained an influence over the aged woman, and she began deeding small pieces of property to him.

Mr. Richardson, seeing the trend of affairs and fearing that he might lose the property that was to be his at the death of his aunt, immediately recorded the two deeds. When Mrs. Mostow died, it was found that she had bequeathed the same two pieces of property to Lee.

Suit was brought in the circuit court by Lee to set aside the deeds, charging undue influence. A similar suit was also brought by Richardson and the Chicago heirs to set aside the will.

The evidence was all submitted yesterday in Judge Park's court. The final arguments will be heard some time next week.

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October 12, 1909


Real Estate Man Falls Dead Upon
Inspecting Apartment House
Employes Had Neglected.

Heart disease made acute by worry over the janitor service in an apartment house on West Thirty-fourth street, for which he was the agent, is said to have caused the death of Dr. Ammon Kuns, a real estate man of 805 East Fourteenth street, who expired suddenly in front of the apartments at 6 o'clock last night.

Dr. Kuns, who seven years ago retired from dentistry in order to handle realty, had been suffering from pulmonary trouble for more than a year. He left his home yesterday morning in good spirit and apparently in excellent health, remarking to his wife that he would go to the flat on Thirty-fourth street before supper and see about hiring a new janitor.

"Everyone leaves the rooms in a worse condition than the last," he said. "It is about the only worry I have."

Mrs. Kuns said last night that she had learned that conditions at the apartments were not even as good as her husband had expected when he arrived there. She believed that his dismay at finding that some of his instructions had been neglected caused the undue excitement that hastened his end.

Mr. Kuns was 57 years old. He was born in Illinois, went to Jewell City, Kas., 27 years ago to practice dentistry, and lived there continuously up to seven years ago when he moved to Los Angeles, Cal. Four years ago he came to Kansas City.

Besides the widow, he is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Stella Mayhue, San Francisco; Mrs. Theodore Conley, Los Angeles; Mrs. O. E. White, of Jewell City, and Miss Helen, living at the home.

Kuns was a member of the Odd Fellows, Masonic and Woodmen of the World, local lodges. Funeral arrangements have not been made.

Deputy Coroner Harry Czarlinsky ordered the body sent to the Wagner undertaking rooms.

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July 12, 1909


Lady Somerset, Formerly of Kansas
City, and Mother, Arrive.

Lady Henry Somerset arrived home yesterday from Paris, France. Lady Somerset, when she left Kansas City for abroad, was Mrs. Adelaide De Mare, the widow of the Pepper building fire victim. while abroad she met Lord Henry Somerset, and they were married a few weeks ago.

Lady Somerset and her mother, Mrs. Craig Hunter, left Paris over a week ago for their home. They reached Chicago without mishap or delay, but from Chicago trouble beset them on account of high water. They should have reached Kansas City Saturday afternoon at 5 o'clock. High waters held their train for twenty-six hours, and when they finally reached their home, 1202 East Thirty-fourth street, Lady Somerset and her mother were decidedly fatigued.

Lady Henry Somerset stated last night that her husband's urgent business kept him in Paris. Lady Henry will spend the summer months with her parents in Kansas City.

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March 31, 1909



Father's Habeas Corpus Proceedings
Call Out All the Skeletons From
the Family Closet -- "Checkers"
Incident Again.


While the lad about whom there was all the fuss tried to pick the spectacles from the nose of his chaperon, the battle for his possession went briskly on between Theodore C. Thomas, the father, and Mrs. Agnes Boss Thomas, the mother. After five hours of hearing testimony little had been accomplished when court adjourned last night and the indications are that the case may take longer than today.

If there are any skeletons left in the Thomas family closet it will take a vacuum cleaner to find them, for the married life of the parents, now divorced, was gone into in great detail.

The Thomases were divorced three years ago, the husband securing the decree and the custody of the child., except for one month each year. On September 25, 1908, Mrs. Thomas took the child from the Oak street school in Leavenworth, brought him to Kansas City, and has since had him at the home of her mother, Mrs. Annie Boss, 113 East Thirty-fourth street. The father brought habeas corpus proceedings in the circuit court to gain possession of the boy, who is constantly referred to by his mother as "Tito." It is on this application that the hearing is now being had.

For the husband the court records were introduced as his case. Mrs. Thomas's attorney demurred, but were overruled and the introduction of testimony for the wife began.


Frank P. Walsh, the first witness, testified as for her good character. Then Mrs. Thomas was put on the stand and for four hours was pelted with questions. Her cross-examination will be resumed this morning.

Mrs. Thomas, who is of the Mrs. Leslie Carter type as to features and bearing, although a brunette, proved a quick and alert witness. She seemed a match for the attorneys.

Mrs. Thomas admitted that she attended one of the parties given at the Humes house. She said there was a Dutch lunch and a jolly time, but that she did not go again. She denied that there was anything out of the way the night she was at the Humeses. The others at the party nicknamed her "Checker," she said.


Thomas, according to the wife's testimony, kept a hotel at Cleveland. The wife said he was intemperate and that she largely supported him. She mentioned alleged indignities at the hotel. In 1906 she sued for divorce, but before the case came to trial she decided to go to Europe, and understood, so she said, that the divorce matter was to be held in abeyance. When she returned, however, she said she was told by Thomas that he had secured a divorce on a cross-bill, and also the boy. She said she knew nothing of the trial of the divorce case until that time.

"I finally left Cleveland and came to Kansas City, because Mr. Thomas threatened to kill me if I did not leave the child and go away," she testified.

Further, Mrs. Thomas said her husband again asked her to marry him, but that she would have nothing to do with a reconciliation. She testified that she had the boy in her possession for a month during both 1906 and the succeeding year, the time being October. As to her ex-mother-in-law, she said every effort was being made to alienate the affections of the child from her.

There yet remain many witnesses to be heard. Judge Slover is giving attorneys wide scope in bringing out testimony.

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March 4, 1909


Mrs. Victoria Mostow's Will Divides
Her Estate, Worth $50,000 to
$60,000, Into Many Parts.

David Raspberry is to get about $1,200 in cash and a lot from the estate of Mrs. Victoria M. Mostow, who died at her home at 200 West Thirty-fourth street. He is a negro coachman. Mrs. Mostow was a sister of the late Dr. D'Estaing Dickerson, of of Kansas City's pioneers.

Among other bequests was one of $5,000 for funeral expenses, a cemetery lot and a monument for herself. Mrs. Mostow's estate is valued at from $50,000 to $60,000 by A. L. Cooper, who is named as administrator. Mr. Cooper was her attorney. The instrument was drawn October 27, 1908.

The property at 817 Main street, under the terms of the will which was filed yesterday for probate, is to be sold, as are also lots in the Pullman park and other property. This money is to be divided with the exception of the lot which goes to Raspberry, among her nieces, nephews, servants and friends.

Mrs. Mostow was engaged, at the time of her death, in litigation with James P. Richardson, her nephew, head of the Prosso preparatory school. She had given deeds to both him and John H. Lee to the same property and she brought suit to revoke the instruments given to her nephew, who is cut out of the will. It is directed that this litigation be continued.

Richardson alleges that Lee, who with his family, has occupied the home on West Thirty-fourth street, and cared for Mrs. Mostow, exercised an undue influence over her by saying he had communication with the planet Mars via a black cat and a superhuman gas stove.

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May 9, 1907


Georges De Mare, Central High School Art Department Head Killed in the University Building Fire


PROFESSOR GEORGES DE MARE, who was at the head of the art department in Central high school, occupied studio 508, in the southeast corner. He made his way to the fourth floor, and, finding his way blocked with smoke, he jumped to the ground and was almost instantly killed. The remains were taken to Stine's undertaking rooms and later to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Craig Hunter, 1202 East Thirty-fourth street, to whose daughter Miss Adeline Hunter, Professor de Mare was married December 26 of last year. He was 38 years of age.

The tragic death of Professor de Mare shocked a wide circle of friends. He had been at the head of the art department of Central high school for the past two years, ever since coming to the city. He was universally liked by the pupils, and his death cast a gloom over the entire school.

Professor de Mare came of a family more than noted in the art world. His maternal grandfather was G. P. A. Healey, one of the greatest of American painters, who had painted portraits of Clay, Lincoln, and other notables. His father, who was a noted painter in Paris, died in that city a few years ago. The professor himself was born in this country, but was educated and lived in Paris until a few years ago. He held various responsible positions in leading art institutions of the country, especially in Chicago. His mother and two sisters live in Denver, another sister is in Paris, and two aunts, Mrs. Judge Hill and Mrs. Besley, live in Chicago.

Mr. and Mrs. Hunter were notified of the accident and Mr. Hunter and his daughter left the house for the scene of the fire without knowing at the time that Professor de Mare was dead. The tragic event prostrated the members of the entire household.

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