February 11, 1910
Long Siege of Residence Ends
When Wife Follows At-
PAINTINGS TAKEN AWAY.
Cincinnati Firm to Hold
Them Pending Settlement
of Supposed Debt.
A sharp rap at her front door apprised Mrs. J. L. Woods Merrill in her home, 3200 Peery avenue, a 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon that the enemy, in force, were storming her position. Tiptoeing to the window, she peered out. Then she stepped back in sheer surprise. James Fairweather, her attorney, was in the act of looking in.
"We'll have to give up," he whispered hoarsely through the casement. "The enemy is without and will soon be within. Deputy John Whole is here, armed with an ax and an order from the sheriff to cut a cat-hole in the portcullis if it is not lifted immediately."
It was true, as Mrs. Merrill could see at a glance. Wholey, ax in hand, looking like Richard, the Lion-Hearted, in the act of advancing upon a belligerent Corsair, was moving up the concrete steps leading to the three-story brick house which sets on a terrace several feet from the sidewalk. Behind him trouped four deputies. Not far away in the offing a couple of yellow fans had cast anchor.
"Oh, very well," she assented quietly.
A moment later Mrs. Merrill opened the door a wee little bit, peeked out, received the attachment writ which four deputies had been trying two days to serve and shut it again. Silence reigned in the house after the Yale night lock snapped. On the front porch a platoon of big men were drawing long breaths. If she opened the door again a siege which had cost them a night's rest and belated meals would bear happy fruit. If the oaken panels remained staring them in the face -- hist! The night lock was turning.
"Come in," invited Mrs. Merrill with an immobile face. "If you've got to ransack the house get through it as quickly as possible."
The deputies filed into the house and began work. Beautiful paintings that had cost thousands in good money were in a few minutes more or less carefully packed, so that the Madonnas of Spain could gaze serenely down upon Flemish landscapes through clouds of excelsior and gauze paper. Big, strong hands, admirably adapted to lifting pianos and transferring semi-anthracite from a wagon to a sub-basement, were skillful in wedging painted Cupids between the best efforts of Raphael and Murrillo so the time-seasoned paint would not rub off in the journey to the safety vault of the criminal court building.
"It's a shame and an outrage and it should not be permitted," said J. L. Woods Merrill in his office in the Arlington building yesterday afternoon, in speaking of the attachment gotten out in the interests of the Gamble Soap Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati, O., to get possession of $150,000 worth of paintings to satisfy a debt of $2,800 which is claimed Mr. Merrill owes Mrs. Francisca Gamble, but which Merrill claims never existed.
"Mrs. Merrill borrowed $2,800 from Francisca N. Gamble three years ago, but neither my wife nor myself ever gave a note for the same," said Mr. Merrill. "Since the money was borrowed, $800 was paid back one time and $600 another time, leaving only $1,200 due Mrs. Gamble. I have offered several times to settle the matter and last Monday morning when A. K. Nippert of Cincinnati called at my office we decided on a settlement, but at the last minute Mr. Nippert objected, saying he 'wasn't getting enough for Cincinnati.' And that is just the matter. They want to get those paintings to Cincinnati and then what would be the chance of me getting them back? They only put up a $6,000 bond to cover the value of ninety-two paintings worth over $150,000.
"While we were talking about the matter Mr. Nippert placed some papers on my table. When he left he gathered them up, putting them in his pocket. The next morning he came back and demanded that I return them to him. He then had issued a replevin to make me give them up and later got out the attachment.
"The replevin calls for 'one written instrument acknowledging the receipt of the sum of $2,800, signed by J. L. Woods Merril.'
"Take it from me," said Mr. Merrill, "those papers never existed.
"Just before Colonel Swope died, I talked with him regarding the establishment of an Original Oil Painting Art Institute in Kansas City," said Mr. Merrill, "and I had intended to donate some of our most valuable paintings. I still intend to do so should the institute be built unless these people are allowed to cobble them.
Labels: arts, business, Thomas Swope
February 9, 1910
PLANNED TO CHANGE
MRS. LOGAN O. SWOPE TEST-
IFIES IN INDEPENDENCE.
THOUGHT HE WAS DYING
Artificial Cause of Death Suspected
MRS. LOGAN O. SWOPE.
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.
WANTED TO STAY DOWN.
"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.
"MATTER OF TIME," SAID HYDE.
"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.
TOLD OF DEATH BY HYDE.
"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: courtroom, druggists, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope
February 8, 1910
CORONER'S INQUEST BEGINS
DEATH AND POST-MORTEM OF
COL. THOMAS SWOPE
HYDE'S NAME MENTIONED.
Doctors and Nurses Testify
The coroner's inquest into the death of Colonel Thomas C. Swope got underway in Independence yesterday, and it was brought out that Colonel Swope, tried a number of tonics and remedies, and that he worried over his will in the weeks before his death, and wanted the poor of the city to benefit by the income from his residuary estate, valued at $1,000,000.
Harry S. Cook, superintendent of the Forest Hill cemetery, told the story of the removal of the body of Colonel Swope at dead of night from the catacombs where it was at rest. He said that secrecy was observed and that a blanket was hung on the grillwork of the tomb, so that no one could look in, had anyone had an inkling of what was going on.
The casket, he said, had not been touched and the body was frozen and in a good state of preservation.
The autopsy was conducted at Ott's undertaking rooms at Independence. Coroner Zwart, Drs. Hektoen, Twyman, Stewart, Hall, and a younger docter were among those who attended the post-mortem, it was testified. The body was still frozen, and coal oil lamps and stoves were lighted to thaw it. Bottles were filled with hot water and laid on the body, and then all was covered with blankets.
The post mortem began at 2 p. m. After the doctors finished the autopsy, in which they removed all of Colonel Swope's internal organs and his brain, the body was sewed up, dressed and put back in the casket and removed to the third floor of the undertaking establishment, where it was hidden. It was taken back to the vault the following day. This was done in the day time, as the story of the autopsy had leaked out and there was no further reason for secrecy.
Dr. E. L. Stewart, who graduated seven years ago, and specializes in microscopy, took notes for the doctors who conducted the post mortem. Dr. Steward did not remember all of the details of the autopsy. He declaired that he was too busy taking the dictation by Drs. Hall and Hektoen to observe their operations as closely as he would have liked to. He said that so far as he could see, there was nothing about the appearance of any of the organs removed by the doctors which would indicate that they were other than in a normal condition.
Dr. Stewart turned his findings over to Dr. Hektoen, he said. Dr. Hektoen also took charge of Colonel Swope's viscera. Dr. Stewart remarked about the frozen condition of the body, which he said was rather frail. The brain, he said, after removal, was cut into thin slices so that the doctors could ascertain if there had been a hemorrhage. No blood clot was found either in the brain or in the lining.
NO CLOTHING ON BODY.
The clothing had been removed from the body when he first saw it and he noticed an undertaker's mark on the arm. He also noticed a small dark mark on the left wrist and the undertake's mark on the abdomen. He told of pulling off the scalp, sawing the cranium and removing the skull cap and then taking out the brain. This he said was sliced, but he did not remember into how many sections nor their thickness. The brain was then placed in one of the big half gallon fruit jars and was sealed.
Dr. Stewart said that the brain was taken out whole, as he remembered it. There was no hemorrhage, at least none that was visible to the naked eye, he said. Dr. Stewart did not know whether Dr. Hektoen took the kidneys. He said that to the best of his recollection several of the blood vessels near the heart were hardened. He said that neither he, nor any of the doctors who performed the autopsy, could attribute Colonel Swope's death to any unusual condition found in his vital organs.
He said that one kidney seemed to be slightly enlarged, but this fact, he added, might have been natural. The liver, he said, was of the ordinary gray color and was in good condition. Dr. Stewart said that had there been a hemorrhage of the brain that the embalming fluid wich is used would not have reduced it.
Dr. G. T. Twyman, the Swope family physician, was present at the autopsy, which he said was conducted by Drs. Hektoen and Hall. The body was very well preserved, but was frozen hard. the fluids in the body had all turned to ice. Efforts to thaw it were without avail. There was but one abnormal condition of any consequence, he said, and that was a thickening of the walls of the stomach.
KNEW NOTHING OF DEATH.
Dr. Twyman said that Colonel Swope was not anxious to take medicines or tonics. He last saw him professionaly on April 28, 1909. He had seen him at various times since then and there was nothing in his condition to lead him to the belief that he would die suddenly, he said. Dr. Twyman said that he knew nothing about Colonel Swope's last illness or death. He did not know what caused Colonel Swope's death and he declared that there was nothing in the post mortem which could lead him to form an opinion as to the cause of death.
Sylvester W. Spangler, who since 1903 has had charge of Colonel Swope's real estate, told of Colonel Swope's penchant for taking medicines of various sorts which might be recommended to him by friends, including a tonic which contained strychnine, quinine and iron. He also told of the oft-repeated wich of Colonel Swope just prior to his death that he could arrange in some way to so place his residuary estate that the revenue could be used for the benefit of the poor.
"The last time I saw Colonel Swope alive was the Saturday preceding his death," said Mr. Spangler. "I came down on account of the death of the night previous of his cousin and also to attend to any business matters which he might indicate he wanted closed. I was with him for about an hour and he was in bed all of this time. About the close of our converstaion Colonel Swope addressed me: 'So far as pain is concerned,' he said, 'I have none and never felt better in my life, but I realize that I am a weak man and can't live long.' I cheered him up as best I could.
KEPT TONIC IN OFFICE.
"Colonel Swope kept a tonic in his office, which, according to the label, contained strychnine, quinine and iron and was put up in Independence. He took the contents of two of these bottles, to my knowledge. He would take the medicine for a couple of days and then would not take any for several days, or a week. He took a teaspoonful at a dose. The medicine was orange colored. He also took tablets, some of a white sort and some bromo-quinine tablets. He took Pape's Diapepsin for his stomach trouble. In fact, he took a great many medicnes which were recommended to him by friends as good for his particular case. Two years ago he took some acid phosphates.
"He often told me about some new remedy he had purchased and which he said he would give a trial, as it was harmless, and if it did no good it would do no harm. He had a vest pocket memorandum book in which he kept a record of the medicines recommended to him and which he tried. He would invariably return to me and tell me that the medicines were fakes. The elixir, he said, was prescribed by an Independence, Mo., doctor and was to give him strength.
"Colonel Swope rewrote his will while I was in his employ. He did not discuss the bequests with me and I knew nothing of the amounts until after his death and the publication of the instrument.
"The reason he gave me for rewriting the will was that some of his property had greatly increased in value and that some had decreased. He wanted the proportions of his bequests to be as he first intended. After providing for all of his heirs he still had a good deal of property that he wanted to dispose of in a charitable way. This residuary estate was worth, he told me, about $1,000,000. He wanted the revenue from the estate to be applied to the benefit of the poor, regardless of their former conditions in life.
WORRIED OVER WILL.
"He was endeavoring to find a way to dispose of this property so that the revenue would be used for the purpose intended. He could transfer it, he said, so that it would not be necessary for him to make a new will and the old would could not be broken. He was worried over the disposition of the residuary estate. He told me that if he deeded it to the city that the revenue, and possible the principle, might be wasted, while if he deeded it to loyal citizen friends, that he feared they were too busy hustling after the almighty dollar to give the property and the revenue the proper attention.
"About six weeks before he died he went to the vault and got his will. After keeping it in his office for a week he told me one Saturday that he would take it home and spend Saturday and Sunday on it. Monday morning he brought it back and said that he had looked it over carefully and that it was as nearly perfect as he could make it. He said that he could not betteer it if he wrote it 100 times.
"Colonel Swope's effects, such as clothing which he kept in the office, were given to the Salvation army after his death. I never heard of an enemy of Colonel Swope and knew of no one that he ever entertained any malice against.
"Colonel Swope claimed Wooford county, Ky., as his home until he gave Kansas City Swope park in 1903. He lived in Independence except for a few months, about 1904 or 1905, when he roomed at the Orient hotel.
"Colonel Swope voted but once in his life, he told me, and that was when McKinley made the first race for the presidency. Colonel Swope made a special trip to Wooford county, Kentucky, to cast his vote for McKinley."
Miss Pearl Virginia Kellar, 36 years old, a trained nurse of five years' experinece, was the witness of the day. Miss Kellar attended Colonel Swope during his last illness and was employed by Dr. B. Clark Hyde, three weeks prior to that event. For several weeks Miss Kellar has been virtually one of the members of the Swope household in Independence. She said that she had only a passing acquaintance with Dr. Hyde, prior to the time that he employed her to go to the Swope home.
MENTIONS HYDE'S NAME.
"Dr. Hyde called me over the telephone Sunday night, September 12. He asked me to meet him Monday at 7:30 a. m. and go to Independence. On the way he told me that Colonel Swope was not really ill; that he had fallen and slightly injured his left shoulder, but to make him feel that I was doing something for him and to massage the injured shoulder. Mrs. Swope and the four daughters met us at the threshold and after donning my uniform I was escorted to Colonel Swope's room where we shook hands and he said he was glad to seee me. The injury I found to be very slight. I was with him three weeks, except one day when I went to the dentist.
" 'Here are some "Pinkle's Pink Pills and some tonic,' said Dr. Hyde to me. 'Let him have the pills and also the tonic as he has been in the habit of taking them.' I found the tonic to contain strychnine, iron and quinine and peptomangan. It was put up by Pendleton & Gentry of Independence. Colonel Swope told me that Obe Gentry had given Mr. Hunton the prescription and that it was very good.
" I kept a nurse's record of Colonel Swope for two weeks, or a week longer than he thought I kept it. He objected to the keeping of the record and when I told Dr. Hyde that I had kept it a week longer than Colonel Swope was aware, and that there was no good reason for keeping it longer, Dr. Hyde suggested that I discontinue it. Colonel Swope objected to me taking his temperature. I made up his bed and straghtened him around, then gave him a bath, an alcohol rub and massage and later another alcohol rub and massage."
NURSE'S NOTES READ.
Miss Kellar here produced her notes and read off her daily notations as to the treatment the patient received and his condition. She said that he ate very full dinners, including cabbage at one meal which she said Dr. Hyde told her he could have as he had been accustomed to it. She gave him occasional drinks containing wine or brandy. She said that Colonel Swope and Dr. Hyde were on perfectly friendly terms.
Her records showed that he took several doses of the pink pills, varying the number from time to time. Monday, September 20, she said that he sat up for an hour in an adjoining room where he looked over the grounds. Wednesday she said that he began taking the tonic, which heretofore he had not touched. She said that Mr. Hunton suggested taht now as he was better that he could take the tonic and get well sooner. Miss Keller also testified to the frequency that Colonel Swope vomited and said that these attacks were without the slightest warning and usually at meal times.
"On Wednesday, September 29 Colonel Swope and I went out riding. We drove out the Lexinton road past the Swope farm which he had not seen in nine years. We were out for two hours and he stood the trip splendidly. Thrusday we drove almost to Kansas City. Friday we started to Blue Springs, but failed to take the right road and had a rough ride.
"After putting Mr. Swope to bed, I came down stairs and Mr. Hunton called me. He was eating dinner and suggested that I eat with him. We had almost finished when Mrs. Swope and Miss Margaret came in. Mr. Hunton looked at me and said that he felt queer. Mildred and a girl friend entered the room at this time and Mr. Hunton tried to pick up a glass of water. He half raised it and then it fell from his hands. I ran to his side and discovered that his left leg was helpless. A negro boy helped me carry him to the library and we summoned doctors.
HUNTON BECAME SICK.
"By the time Dr. Twyman came Mr. Hunton had lapsed into unconsciousness. He had vomited profusely. The boys got an ironing board and we laid Mr. Hunton on this and carried him upstairs. Colonel Swope meanwhile had called, and one of the servants failing to pacify him, I told him that Mr. Hunton was seriously ill. After Dr. Hyde came they decided to bleed Mr. Hunton.
"I did not tell Colonel Swope about the death of Mr. Hunton until Saturday morning. When I told him that Mr. Hunton ws dead, he grasped the bed clothes, and hiding his head, cried, 'Poor Moss.' For a moment he sort of sobbed, and then he asked me to tell him all about it. He th en told me he wanted to be very quiet. He wanted to see no one but Mr. Spangler. He first said taht he did not want to see Dr. Hyde for fear that the doctor might think that he needed him professionally. Colonel Swope did not go across the hall to see Mr. Hunton, and I read to him. The news of Mr. Fleming's wife's death came at noon. Mr. Spangler ws the only visitor. He came about noon."
As Miss Kellar reached this part of her narrative, Deputy Coroner Trogdon conferred with Coroner Zwart and Attorney Reed and announcement was made of adjournment until 10 o'clock this morning.
MRS. SWOPE SHIELDED.
Miss Kellar, the trained nurse who was with Colonel Swope the last three weeks of his life, arrive at the court house shortly before 4 p. m. with Mrs. L. O. Swope and a woman companion. They were driven to the court house in an automobile and were escorted by Attorney John Mastin. They were taken in the witness room, which was kept locked. Miss Kellar, her companion and Mr. Atwood shielded Mrs. Swope from the gaze of the curious. Mrs. Swope was attired was attired in black and wore a heavy veil.
The array of legal talent in the case yesterday was probably the largest in the history of the court house. The Swope heirs and Mr. Paxton, the executor of the estate, were represented by Messrs. Reed, Atwood and Mastin. Virgil Conkling, the prosecuting attorney, represented the state, while Dr. Hyde was represented by Attorneys Walsh, Cleary and Johnson. Coroner Zwart wsa represented by Deputy Coroner Trugdon.
"Can we come in and listen to the case?" inquired Mesdames William Young and Cliff Morrow, neighbors of the Swopes, of J. A. Brown, superintendent of the court house building. "Certainly," he replied and secured them a seat immedately behind the attorneys. There were a score of women at the inquest in the afternoon.
Labels: cemetery, Coroner Zwart, courtroom, doctors, Independence, James A. Reed, probate, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, Swope park, Thomas Swope
February 6, 1910
CLAIMS HE IS THE
SON OF COL. SWOPE
West Virginian Writes Pros-
ecuting Attorney for Par-
ticulars of Death.
JUST ASKS FOR FACTS.
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.
NOT THE USUAL KIND.
"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.
SWOPE FRIENDS DENY IT.
"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: Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope
January 19, 1910
BENEFACTIONS SWOPE HOBBY.
Judge John C. Gage Says He Talked
of Them Forty Years Ago.
The theory that Colonel Thomas H. Swope may have been poisoned to keep him from making a new will, devising $1,000,000 to Kansas City, or some charitable institution, is given little credence by Judge John C. Gage, life-long friend of the millionaire benefactor.
"If old Tom Swope was poisoned to prevent this will from being made, he would have been murdered years ago," said Judge Gage. "For the past forty years he has been talking of making a great bequest to Kansas City. About every time we would meet he would tell me what he intended to do. We used to get tired of this, and tell him we did not think he was going to give a cent to Kansas City.
"He did not speak in private of his intended bequests. He told many of his friends he expected to change his will. If there was a plot to kill him to prevent him making the new will leaving over a million to Kansas City that otherwise would go to his relatives, it would have been made years before Colonel Swope finally died.
"When Tom Swope was as poor as the other boys, and when when we thought he never had a show of becoming a rich man, he used to tell us that he intended to make a large bequest to Kansas City, at his death. It was one of his earliest ambitions. In those days we paid little attention to it."
Judge Gage and Colonel Swope roomed together, and occupied the same office at the opening of the war. The former had a fox hound to which his roommate became greatly attached.
"It was in 1862, when Kansas City was garrisoned by Union soldiers," said Judge Gage. "The dog was running along Missouri avenue with Tom. A Union soldier fired at the dog, shooting it through the breast. That was the only time I ever saw Tom really mad. He started after that soldier and chased him down Missouri avenue to Grand, then down Grand for several blocks. He was compelled to give up the chase when the soldier had winded him . The dog did not die, so Tom's wrath was somewhat appeased. Something would have happened, however, if he had caught that soldier."
Old friends of the "colonel" say that he seldom used "cuss" words. It was only when exceedingly angry that he would let out a "damn." He would jerk the word out short and preface each one by spitting.
Labels: Civil War, Judges, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope
January 15, 1910
INDEPENDENCE "HOUSE OF
DEATH" CLOSED TO VISITORS.
Swope Home in Independence
Guarded Day and Night by
The Swope Home in Independence.
The Swope home, a magnificent three-story brick structure on South Pleasant avenue in Independence, is regarded as the abode of death by nearly every resident of that rural city.
The sudden death of J. Moss Hunton, closely followed by that of Thomas H. Swope, the millionaire benefactor and that of his nephew, Chrisman Swope, awoke suspicion that all was not well and that the Swopes were a marked family among even the most easy-going of the inhabitants. Men and women passing to or from their homes during church hours of a Sunday evening gazed fearfully up at the now tomb-like building with its darkened windows and barred doors. If they ahd been asked ubruptly why they did this they would have stammered out the answer that they did not know. It was all so mysterious that one after another of the same family should be stricken with a fatal illness of different kinds, but uniformly ending in convulsions.
Where there are suspicions there are those to invent tales of various sorts or to uncover significant incidents from the charmed house of the past. Some of the stories were undoubtedly founded on fact. Many were as wild and incredible as any ever bandied about the boar's-head dinners of King Arthur's court or the tales taken as evidence in the days of Salem witchcraft.
Some of the followers of Joseph Smith, the Independence seer and prophet, it is said, believed that sometime in the life of the philanthropist he had offended his God and that a curse was now being visited on his household. There would be no end, they said, until the last vestige of the family was swept away.
Another rumor that always had credence was that someone skilled in the use of subtle poisons was profiting by his knowledge.
WATER FREE OF GERMS?
Soon after the death of Chrisman Swope, it was announced by physicians of the family, that a city chemist of Kansas City had been summoned and that he had declared the presence of typhoid germs in the water used by the Swopes. In the same statement was added that the well formerly used by the family had "played out" and that another long out of commission was furnishing the supply. The water, it was said last night, was analyzed and said to be free from typhiod bacilli, notwithstanding the report.
"There is evidence that Mrs. Logan O. Swope believed the house unsanitary. About the time the well story was given out, she sent word to John Welch, a plumber, to come to the place and overhaul everything. This was done. Not a pipe but was inspected, not a hydrant or sewer outlet but was dested and disinfected. They were, according to the plumber, in ship-shape. No trace of disease laden decomposed matter was found.
All this time solicious neighbors were making inquiries of Mrs. Swope and others closely conneted with the family, touching the cause of the unusual spread of typhoid in the home. They seemed at their wits end to account for the disease.
Thus it was given out that the milk used in the kitchen was tainted; that the water was stagnant; that there was a quantity of decaying sewage in the pipes and that a servant girl, recently hired, who had had typhoid, had thrown her infected clothing in the milk house adjacent to the kitchen. No one knew what to believe.
Just when Mrs. Swope or her lawyers awoke to the real peril is not known definitely It is supposed to have been less than a month ago, when the doors of the palatial home were shut finally upon all visitors and a private detective employed to watch that no one should step within.
This detective is William C. Rice, former chief of police at Fairmount Park. A reporter who knockked at the big outer folding doors last night was met by him and warned off the place.
"I am here to see that no one shall see Mrs. Swope," said he. "There is no hope of getting an interview. She is indisposed and would not talk for publication. It is impossible."
The bland officer said this with a degree of finality. Without another word he stepped backward into the lobby. the heavy doors swung to. A bolt dropped in place. While the disappointed interrogator was yet on the porch a distant click like that made by an electric switch, was heard. The great house was as dark as a tomb.
The story of several deaths in the Swope family, as told by some of their intimate friends last night, points to many susicious circumstances.
The family from the oldest member to the youngest was described as about of one disposition, kind, generous and impulsive. Thomas H. Swope would travel many a mile to help a friend.
Logan O. Swope, brother of Thomas H., died about ten years ago leaving a large inheritance in property around Independence. Naturally the burden of hte care of htis estate would devolve on the shoulders of Thomas, who already was loaded with business cares of his own. the year following Logan's death, Thomas sent for a cousin, J. Moss Hunton, then in Kentucky.
Hunton was a good manager anda man of high social standing in St. Louis, where his father, Judge James Hunton, is conisdered an authority on corporation law. Hunton came to Independence nine years ago and assumed the management of Mrs. Logan O. Swope's estate. He was acting as her major domo at the time of his death.
The Swopes, with the exception of Thomas Swope, a son of Logan, who owns a farm three miles northeast of the city, resided in the home on South Pleasant avenue. Hunton also lived there and as time went on Thomas H. Swope and he became inseparable companions and confidantes. Not a charity did the philanhopist indulge in but was previously laid before Hunton and met with his approval. The people of Independence came to love one as the other and Hunton acquired the unique reputation of being the only man in the city who would give a cigar or a box of candy to collectors presenting him with his month's end bills.
"I am Colonel Swope's bodyguard," Hunton told a friend on one occasion. "there is no danger of his ocming to grief when I am about. I guess things would go different if I shou ld die."
On the evening of Friday, October 1, the night of Hunton's death, he came home from a trip to the business district in good humor.
Suddenly, a few minutes after supper, he complained of feeling mortally sick and threw himself on a lounge in the sitting room, calling Mrs. Swope to his side. they had always been the greatest of friends.
"Maggie," said Hunton, "I believe this is the end." He then closed his eyes and the fatal convulsions came. Two hours later he was dead.
The death of Homas H. Swope came quite as suddenly two days from that of his confidant and friend, at about 8 o'clock the following Sunday morning. The abrupt taking away of all that was dear to Mrs. Logan O. Swope, except her children, was a great strain on her nerves and for several weeks she was on the point of a break down. She was advised to go to Chicago to recuperate. She followed the instructions and went in company with two of her personal friends, Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Thomas.
HURRIES TO DEATH BED.
While she was in Chicago word was sent to her that her eldest son, Chrisma, 31 years old, and a daughter, Margaret, were very sick of typhoid fever. She hurried back and arrived at the home four days before the death of Chrisman.
The home to which Mrs. Swope returned wsa one of hte blackest sorrow and apprehension. Margaret and Chrisman were both at death's door. One of hte servants was sick and MIss Cora Dickson, Margaret's governess who had thrown over her position as teacher of the third and fourth grades in the Columbian ward school to attend to her mistress, was down with the fatal malady.
In mortal dread of impending trouble as deep and poignant as any that had occurred heretofre, the widow cabled at once another daughter, Stella Swope, taking music lessons in Paris, to come home as quickly as steamship and train could carry her. Before she arrived in America, however, Chrisman was dead from a convulsion which turned the trend of his sickness to the worse at the climax.
Perhaps Mrs. Swope at this time believed as did some of her neighbors, that there was something supernatural in the calamities which had come to her in such close succession. anyway she sent a distant relative by marriage to meet Stella at New York and escort her home. Stella contracted typhoid fever on the train or home, it is alleged, and when she arrived was ready for the sick bed.
ADDED TO MYSTERY.
When the body of Thomas H. Swope was taken from its resting place in the vault in Forest Hill cemetery to the morgue of the H. J. Ott undertaking establishment in Independence it was about as much of a mystery as the more important details of this remarkable case. The physicians who examined the body, the lawyers at whose insistance the body was exhumed and the undertaker and coroner would not talk yesterday.
It is known that the body was at the Independence morgue, however, at 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, for it was at this time that a special coroner's jury was called to the Ott undertaking rooms to formally identify the body.
After they had been filed through the rooms and gazed at the face of the dead benefactor they were dismissed on call. The jurors were T. J. Walker, A. J. Bundschu, S. T. Pendleton, S. H. Woodson, Bernard Zick, Jr., and William Martin.
"We were asked merely to identify the body and our opinion as to how Colonel Swope came by his death was not asked," said T. J. Walker, one of the jurors, afterwrds. "We probably will not be called again until the contents of the stomach have been examined by the Chicago specialists.
Henry Ott of the undertaking firm would not give out a statement last night. He said he has been instructed to tell nothing and he intended to do as he was told.
Dr. B. H. Zwart, county coroner, said that Dr. Frank Hall asked his permission of the autopsy on the body of Colonel Swope, which was granted. the autopsy, he said, was performed by Dr. Heptoek of Chicago and Dr. Hall. A jury ws provisionally impaneled and viewed the body. This jury will be reimpaneled, according to Dr. Zward, providing an inquest is held.
"If there is a request for an inquest, I will order one," he said. "If after a reasonable time nothing further is done in the matter, I will then have to investigate and find why no request is being made for an inquest. It will be my duty to learn why the autopsy was made."
Labels: Chicago, Coroner Zwart, detectives, Independence, St Louis, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope, typhoid, undertakers
January 14, 1910
COL. "TOM" SWOPE
VICTIM OF PLOT
Scheme to Gain Control of
Millions by Wholesale
Murder of the Relatives of
the Great Public Benefac-
tor Believed to Have Been
BODY OF CAPITALIST
TAKEN FROM CEMETERY.
Stomach Will Be Sent to Chi-
cago for Analysis -- Chris-
man Swope, Who Also
Died Suddenly, May Have
Been a Poison Victim --
Suspect Under Close
COL. THOMAS H. SWOPE.
Was the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope, whose benefactions to Kansas City, including Swope park, amounted to more than a million and a half dollars, the victim of a scientific plot which had for its aim the elimination of the entire Swope family, by inoculation with the typhoid fever germs, looking to ultimate control of the $3,000,000 estate?
Acting on the theory that a poisoning conspiracy rivaling in fiendish ingenuity the most diabolical deeds of the Borgias was responsible for the death of Colonel Swope, October 3, last, and later of his nephew, Chrisman Swope, the body of Colonel Swope was removed Wednesday from the vault where it rested in Forest Hill cemetery and taken to Independence, where an autopsy was held.
The stomach was removed and will be taken to Chicago for analysis by chemists and toxicologists of national repute, in the hope of finding traces of poison, which members of the Swope family, their counsel and friends believe to have caused death.
RESULT OF AUTOPSY.
The autopsy of Colonel Swope's body Wednesday, attorneys for the Swopes say, resulted in the finding that death was not due to apoplexy, as was given out at the time. All the organs, including the brain, were found to be in normal condition. This could not have been the case had he died of apoplexy. The same was found in the Chrisman Swope autopsy. His brain was found to be normal, as were the other organs of his body. A slight trace of typhoid bacilli was found, but not enough, it is claimed, to have caused his death.e
But with this the plot does not end. After Colonel Swope and his nephews were out of the way, a plot was hatched, it is alleged, to kill off the entire family.
NEPHEW'S BODY EXHUMED.
Suspicion of foul play was aroused at the sudden death of Chrisman Swope last month. An autopsy was held, the stomach was removed and a thorough examination made. The stomach is now in Chicago, where it is being analyzed by a commission of eminent chemists and toxicologists.
"It will be several days before an arrest is made," said John H. Atwood of the law firm of Reed, Atwood, Yates, Mastin & Harvey. "We have the evidence well in hand. There is not a particle of doubt in my mind but that both Thomas Swope and Chrisman Swope were poisoned, and that they did not die of the diseases which they were said to have in the newspaper accounts."
TO KILL THE HEIRS.
This plot, said to have been planned with more deliberation, and even more heinous intent than the now famous Gunness affair, had for its supposed end the extermination of all the Swope heirs. Shortly before Chrisman Swope's death, it is charged, a man visited the office of a well known bacteriologist of Kansas City and secured some typhoid germs. With these deadly bacilli, those pushing the matter believe he hoped to innoculate the members of the Swope family.
Colonel Thomas H. Swope and Chrisman Swope are said to have both died after the same manner. The former died October 3. He arose the fateful morning, and was given a bath. An hour afterwards he died in convulsions.
Chrisman Swope was a man of about 30, young and vigorous. Shortly before this it was given out that he was suffering from typhoid fever. He was taken down December 2 and died four days after. He is said to have been administered a capsule an hour before his death. the nurses say that he died in convulsions.
EIGHT OTHERS STRICKEN.
The man suspected secured his typhoid bacteria November 10. His first visit to the Swope home in Independence was made Thanksgiving day. It was only a week after this that Chrisman Swope was taken down with the contagion. The plot is thought to have been to kill off the heirs by typhoid fever.
The sudden death of Chrisman Swope, following so close after the fatal illness of Colonel Swope, immediately aroused the suspicions of the family. An autopsy was held with the result that it was claimed that the last member of the family had not died of typhoid, as was said. The stomach was soon after sent to Chicago.
During this time, it is claimed, there was more evidence of a plot to kill off the entire family. Mrs. Logan Swope was taken down with typhoid fever early in December.
In rapid succession other members of the family were taken down with typhoid fever. They follow in chronological order:
Dec. 2 -- Margaret Swope.
Dec. 4 -- Miss Dixon, the governess. A negro servant by the name of Coppidge, Miss Compton, seamstress.
Dec. 5 -- Stuart Flelming.
Dec. 9. -- Sarah Swope, 14 years of age.
Dec. 11 -- Stella Swope.
Dec. 22 -- Lucy Lee.
None of the victims were in a critical condition.
NURSES FIRST SUSPICIOUS.
Lucy Lee was on her return trip from Europe. It is thought that she was inoculated with the typhoid germs in route to Kansas City. It is known that it takes from six to seven days after inoculation, for the first symptoms of the disease to show. In the case of Miss Lee, she was taken down four days after her arrival in Kansas City.
The investigation which resulted in these startling disclosures was largely at the insistence of the nurses employed in the Swope home during the illness of Chrisman Swope. At their suggestion Dr. G. T. Twyman of Independence was called in to make an investigation. He found the house to be in a sanitary condition and no place from whence the disease germs could possibly originate. Dr. Frank Hall also made an investigation with the same results.
FIVE DETECTIVES ON GUARD.
Mrs. Logan Swope and other members of the family told their suspicions to John G. Paxton, attorney for the Swope estate. At first Mr. Paxton would not believe that there could be anything in these charges. But after an investigation he, too, became convinced that there was truth in them. Mr. Paxton yesterday employed the law firm of Reed, Atwood, Yates, Mastin & Harvey, to push the investigation.
One man suspected is now under the espionage day and night of five private detectives employed by the Swopes.
Dr. Hekpeen of Rush Medical College, Chicago, is in Kansas City making investigations. He will take the stomach of Colonel Swope back with him for a thorough examination. Dr. Haynes of Chicago, a chemist of national reputation, will assist in the chemical tests to be made in the effort to find a trace of poison.
"The Swope millions will be used to run this mystery to the ground," said Mr. Atwood.
Labels: attorney, cemetery, Chicago, doctors, Independence, murder, poison, probate, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope, typhoid
December 9, 1909
FUNERAL OF CHRISMAN SWOPE.
Services Yesterday at Presbyterian
Church in Independence.
The funeral of Chrisman Swope, eldest son of Mrs. Logan O. Swope, took place yesterday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the First Presbyterian church, Independence. Rev. C. C. McGinley, pastor of the church, conducted the service. Mis McGilveray of Kansas City rendered a solo, "Ye Shall Know." Burial was in Mount Washington cemetery.
Miss Lucy Lee Swope, who was in Paris, started home upon receipt of the news of the death of her brother and of the illness of other members of the family.
Labels: churches, Funeral, Independence, ministers, Mt. Washington, music, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope
December 6, 1909
TYPHOID IN SWOPE HOME.
Niece and Nephew of Philanthropist
Are Ill in Independence.
Typhoid fever has broken out in several places in Independence and the health board expects trouble there. In the household of the late Thomas H. Swope, Margaret and Chrisman Swope, niece and nephew of the philanthropist, are seriously ill, and Dixon, governess of the Swope children, and a housemaid, also are reported affected with the malady.
The presence of the contagion in Independence caused another analysis of the city water. It was found to be in a satisfactory condition and physicians ascribe the cause to unsanitary plumbing or garbage.
Labels: illness, Independence, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope, typhoid
October 31, 1909
SWOPE MONEY AND
INSTITUTE'S NAME CHANGED IN
HONOR OF BENEFACTOR.
Thousands of Dollars Contributed
After Announcement That Re-
quired $50,000 Had
No longer is it the Franklin institute. Satisfied with the great response made to the institute's appeal for aid, S. W. Spangler, agent for Thomas H. Swope, who gave $50,000 in land and cash conditionally to the institute, and John J. Paxton and S. S. Fleming, administrators of the Swope estate, yesterday gave to the directors of the institute the deed to the land on which the Thomas H. Swope Institute is to be built, and Mr. Swope's pledge of $25,000 in money. The deed was filed yesterday afternoon.
The officers of the institute received about $55,000 in the canvass for funds. there was $9,101.29 in cash and the rest in pledges. Ralph P. Swofford, president of the institute, Fletcher Cowherd, treasurer; and Benjamin B. Lee, H. D. Faxon, Herbert V. Jones, D. L. James, directors, and James T. Chafin, head resident of the institute, took the certificates of deposit and the pledges to Mr. Spangler's office yesterday. Mr. Paxton and Mr. Fleming, Mr. Swope's nephew, arrived soon after.
"We are satisfied entirely with the result of the campaign and with the pledges," Mr. Paxton said. "Speaking for Mr. Fleming and myself, I wish to say that every one of the Swope family sympathized with your effort to raise the fund and with the purpose for which Mr. Swope made the gift."
"My uncle was deeply interested in the institute," Mr. Fleming said. "I am glad you were successful and trust that you will be able to make the institute all that you wish it to be."
A photograph of Mr. Swope was given the institute officers. It will be framed and placed in the new institute, which is to be named for Mr. Swope. Thousands of dollars were given to the institute fund yesterday after the announcement was made that the fund was complete. The latest mail yesterday brought more and it is believed that the flood of subscriptions which started Friday will not end for several days.
DR. WOODS GIVES $500.
Dr. W. S. Woods, of the Commerce Trust Company, gave $500 after the fund was complete. The Kansas City Live Stock Traders' exchange considered a motion to give $100 to the fund. A member suggested that a collection be taken instead. The collection was $225. The Kansas City Live Stock exchange also gave $100. More than that amount was given by the employes of Emery, Bird, Thayer's, when nearly 300 persons working in the store gave 25 or 50 cents each, after the fund had closed. Six church societies, half of them Christian Endeavor bodies, also contributed.
"Personal Help," by Churchill Bridgeford, a live stock commission man, netted the institute $1,-34 from the stock yards district in the campaign. The board of trade raised $450 and its members gave, or solicited, $2,500 for the fund.
Officers of the institute will visit other cities for ideas before the plans of the new institute will be agreed upon. One of the great needs of Kansas City, the officers say, is a modern creche. The institute now cares for children 2 years old and more, but has not been equipped to care for infants. It has been necessary to refuse to care for the babies of several mothers who are employed because of this. It is probable a creche will be added to the activities of the institute in the new building.
Labels: charity, Dr. W. S. Woods, Franklin institute, photographs, stock yards, Thomas Swope
October 21, 1909
FOR CITY'S TRIBUTE TO SWOPE.
Relatives in Letter to Mayor Thank
Kansas City People.
In a communication addressed to Mayor Crittenden, Mrs. L. O. Swope, sister-in-law of the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope, yesterday formally thanked the citizens of Kansas City for the public funeral tendered him. Mrs. Swope's letter follows:
"I wish to express to you, and to all of the city officials, on behalf of the Swope family, our high appreciation of the most beautiful tribute of honor and affection shown our dead. We feel that not a stone was left unturned to show him honor and gratitude.
"The services at the church were all that could have been. All the singing was sweet, but the solo, "One Sweetly Solemn Thought," was almost a voice from heaven. Once more thanking you for your great kindness, I remain, very sincerely, MRS. L. O. SWOPE. October 15, 1909."
It is said that the last legal transaction performed by Colonel Swope was the signing of a deed to a piece of property to the city on the north side of Fourth street, between Walnut and Main. It is a part of the square bounded by Walnut, Main, Third and Fourth, to be used for market purposes. There is a three-story brick building on the land, and this will be razed together with the four remaining buildings which the city will soon get posession of. there has been a delay in the formal transfer on account of the city having to deal with heirs.
Labels: Fourth street, Main street, Mayor Crittenden, real estate, Third street, Thomas Swope, Walnut Street
October 11, 1909
SWOPE MEMORIAL PROJECT.
Commercial Club Agrees on One Built
by $1 Contributions.
In a memoriam adopted by the Commercial Club yesterday a plan is suggested by which a monument be raised by popular subscription to the memory of Colonel Thomas H. Swope. It suggests that no one be permitted to give more than $1. When the subscription list will be started is not yet known.
At the meeting of the club yesterday it was stated that influence would be used with the school board to have it declare a half holiday each year on the anniversary of Colonel Swope's death, October 3, that the children might spend the day in Swope Park.
The Journal recently received $1 from "An Old Citizen," who wishes to honor the memory of the philanthropist with a suitable monument, as an initial contribution to a fund for that purpose.
"An Old Citizen" believes, he says, that if any plan is arranged to raise money for the memorial no one should be allowed to contribute more than $1, in order that as many persons in Kansas City as wish may have an opportunity to show their gratitude to the man who did so much for the average person in the community by giving the city a park big enough for all the people. He states that he thinks a simple monument, bought with the dollars of many persons to whom a dollar means much, would make a more suitable memorial than an expensive shaft bought with the donations of men who easily could afford big contributions.
The Commercial Club's memoriam praised Colonel Swope's generous spirit and designated that the club "initiate, formulate and carry out a plan for raising a fund by popular subscription, each individual subscriber to be limited to $1, for the purpose of erecting, as a public testimonial, a suitable monument in Swope park, in his memory, and to commemorate his great philanthropy, although he has builded monuments that will never perish."
Labels: Commercial Club, Swope park, The Journal, Thomas Swope
October 10, 1909
THE MONUMENT HE BUILT
Labels: Thomas Swope
October 10, 1909
COLONEL SWOPE LEFT AN
ESTATE OF $3,000,000.
ENTIRE INSTRUMENT WRITTEN
IN HIS OWN HAND JUNE 15, '05.
Full Text of the Paper as Filed in
Independence Shows the Wide
Extent of Kansas City's
An estate of $3,000,000, by the provisions of the will filed yesterday in the Independence division of the probate court was left by Colonel Thomas H. Swope to his near relatives, friends and to charity. The greater part of his property is bequeathed direct to his blood relations. City lots left to the Humane Society is the largest gift to charity.
The will was filed for probate by J. G. Paxton, an attorney of Independence, Mo., who framed it June 17, 1905. Mr. Paxton since has been its custodian. In filing the will, Mr. Paxton was accompanied by Stuart S. Fleming, Mr. Swope's nephew, who lives in Maury county, Tenn.
Colonel Swope named Mr. Paxton, Mr. Fleming and James M. Hunton of Independence his executors, and requested that they be allowed to serve without bond. George B. Harrison, Arthur F. Day and F. T. Childs, all of whom live here, signed as witnesses. The three men were present yesterday morning in court to attest their signatures.
A "HOLOGRAPHIC WILL."
The instrument states that "this is my holographic will." This is to indicate that it was written by Col. Swope. There were no changes in the instrument as written by him.
The bequests to charity are as follows: To Humane Society, two lots in Turner Company's addition; to Park College, two lots in West Kansas addition; to the Women's Christian Association, $10,000 cash; to Young Women's Christian Association, $10,000 cash; to Young Men's Christian Association, $10,000 cash; to the Provident Association, $25,000 cash.
After providing for charity and making specific bequests to his near relatives and friends, the balance is left to his nephews and nieces, to be divided share alike.
S. W. Spangler, attorney for Mr. Swope, has prepared a conservative estimate of the values of some of the real estate bequests made in the will. The values are as follows:
One-half of the two story building at 1017-1019 Main street, left to Ella J. Plunket, $75,000; the other half of the same property, left to Gertrude Plunket, $75,000; the undivided half of lots Nos. 10 and 12 on East Fourth street, left to Felix Swope, $13,250; the northeast corner of Hickory and Joy streets, now occupied by the John Deere Plow Company's warehouse, left to James Hunton, $40,000; the northeast corner of Twelfth and Walnut streets, 85-115 feet, left to Margaret Swope's five unmarried children, $400,000; 1112-1114 Walnut street, left to the same children, $190,000; 916-918 1/2 Main street, to the same children, $120,000; the northwest corner of Mulberry and Eleventh streets, to the same five children, $50,000; the southeast corner of Twelfth and Campbell streets, left to the five children, $60,000; 915 Walnut street, left to Frances Swope, $87,500; 120 acres, to the south half of the ground occupied by the Evanston Golf Club, to Thomas H. Swope, Jr., $240,000; the eight-story building at the southeast corner of Eleventh street and Grand avenue, to his nine nephews and nieces, $400,000.
Labels: charity, circuit court, Evanston Golf Club, Humane Society, Independence, probate, real estate, Swope Mystery, Thomas Swope, YMCA, YWCA
October 9, 1909
GRANITE MAUSOLEUM WHERE
COL. SWOPE'S BODY RESTS.
Mausoleum Serving as the Resting Place of Col. Thos. H. Swope.
The body of Colonel Swope is resting in Forest Hill. The mausoleum in which it was placed rises in classical lines of grayish-white granite from the paths which border a lake, the waters of which touch the base of the ground upon which the walks are laid.
Ivy mantles the sides of the mausoleum, contrasting harmoniously with the brownish verdure of fall. Leaves from nearby trees carpet the grass at the sides of the walks.
From across the lake the lines of the mausoleum the ground is raised above and with seats at each corner, are mirrored in the water. At the sides of the mausoleum the ground is raised above the level of the banks of the lake and is studded with trees. Approached by a sweeping drive, the catacomb is imposing. From its front an unbroken view may be had across the land and the tiny island which nestles near the bank into a wooded stretch which now is glorious with the brown and yellow and gold of early autumn.
The body of Kansas City's benefactor will remain in the mausoleum until after arrangements for the permanent burial have been made by Colonel Swope's family and friends. Then it will be taken to the final resting place, which for several generations, at least, should be a shrine for those who love trees and grass and flowers and all the beauties of "God's outdoors."
Labels: cemetery, Thomas Swope
October 9, 1909
SWOPE LAID TO REST
WHILE CITY MOURNS.
THOUSANDS BRAVE RAIN TO
VIEW FUNERAL CORTEGE.
Procession Longest Ever Seen in
Kansas City -- Casket Temporari-
ly Placed in Vault at
Thomas Hunton Swope, for fifty-two years a resident of Kansas City, and its greatest benefactor, was laid to rest late yesterday afternoon in a vault in Forest Hill cemetery.
Following his request only the Episcopal service for the dead was said. It is the same service which has been said in that church for 500 years, and is used for the burial of both great and lowly, rich and poor.
There was no oratory, no eulogy. The service reminded many of the life of the man for whom it was said -- simple, quiet, impressive.
At Grace Episcopal church, Thirteenth and Washington streets, Bishop E. R. Atwill officiated, assisted by Rev. J. A. Schaad, the rector, and his assistant, Rev. E. B. Woodruff.
As the funeral cortege entered the edifice it was headed by the bishop, who repeated a portion of the service as he walked down the aisle. Chaplin Woodruff bore the staff. Following came the immediate family.
Stuart Fleming, a nephew from colonel Swope's old home in Kentucky, was with Mrs. Logan Swope, a sister-in-law of the dead philanthropist. Then came Dr. B. C. Hyde and wife, a niece of Colonel Swope's and all of the relatives from Independence.
The entire center of the church was reserved for the pallbearers, honorary pallbearers and civic bodies and commercial and fraternal organizations.
SERVICE IS SIMPLE.
Bishop Atwill read the service at the church, and the Rev. Mr. Schaad read the lesson. Mr. Frank B. Fisk presided at the organ and rendered a dirge as the body was carried into the church. Mrs. Darnell, contralto, sang "One Sweetly Solemn Thought." Then a hymn, "O Paradise, O Paradise," was sung by the choir, the audience assisting. At the close of the church service the choir rendered the anthem, "I'm a Pilgrim and a Stranger."
During the service at the church the creed was said, and the Lord's Prayer repeated.
It was 3:30 before the cortage reached the church and after 4 o'clock before it got under way, leaving. When it reached the vault in Forest Hill cemetery it was almost dark and raining hard. Here the services were just as simple as at the church. Bishop Atwill read the committal service and Rev. Mr. Schaad the lesson.
The casket was placed in a large vault, made especially for its reception, and sealed. There it will remain until some future date when it will be removed to its final resting place in Swope park, beneath a monument erected by the people of Kansas city.
AN HOUR IN PASSING.
The funeral cortege was the largest ever seen in Kansas City. Besides the military, civic, commercial and fraternal organizations in line, there were seventy-five carriages, not counting the private vehicles. It took over an hour to pass a given point.
It was nearly 2 o'clock before the mounted police, followed by the Third Regiment band at the head of the regiment, started south on Walnut street from the city hall. Then, in order, came police and firemen on foot, Battery B and band, Uniform Rank, K. of P., Modern Woodmen, Turner society, Elks lodge, park board employes, lodge of Eagles, United Confederate Veterans, labor organizations, Board of Trade and Commercial Club and city officials in carriages. The active and honorary pallbearers preceded the immediate family and citizens in carriages.
As the procession left the public library where Colonel Swope's body has been in state since Thursday morning it passed through a double line of school children, each a "part owner" in the beautiful park which he gave the city. They stood uncovered, their hats and caps over their hears, all the long time the cortege was passing. Children lined both sides of the street all the way down Ninth street to Grand avenue and to Tenth street on Grand.
After the procession had crossed Main street it passed through another double line of children formed on Eleventh street from Baltimore avenue to Broadway, and down Broadway to Thirteenth street. Here again every boy stood uncovered, at attention, while the cortege was passing.
THOUSANDS VIEW PROCESSION.
It has been estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 school children were out. Besides the children, the streets were packed with people along thee entire line of march as far out as Twentieth street and Grand avenue. The windows in every building also were filled with people all the way through the main portion of the city and spectators filled the verandas and windows of every home passed by the cortege entirely to the cemetery. Possibly no fewer than 100,000 people saw the procession.
When Twentieth and Grand was reached all of those in the parade on foot dropped out, the distance to the cemetery being too far for them to walk. At this point the Third regiment, the Uniformed Rank, K. of P., the Modern Woodmen of America, police and firemen were formed in company front along the west side of Grand avenue. It made a solid line of uniformed men for two blocks.
It was intended from this point for the procession to make better time, but the rain had rendered Gillham road very slippery and the procession to make better time, but the rain had rendered Gillham road very slippery and the procession got beyond Thirty-first street on Gillham road before it left a walk.
FLORAL GIFTS BEAUTIFUL.
Between Thirtieth and Thirty-first streets one of the lead horses in the fourth section of Battery B, commanded by Sergeant Cloyse Jones, fell and was injured. The team was taken out and this portion of the battery proceeded with only one team. This caused but a slight delay. Just this side of the cemetery the battery dropped out and returned to the city. The mounted police, however, commanded by Chief Frank F. Snow, acted as convoy throughout the entire procession to the cemetery.
Following the hearse was the most beautiful floral piece ever seen here. It was a remembrance from the city, and represented a white column ten feet high. It was composed of 3,000 white carnations. At the top of the column was a white dove with spread wings. A wreath of American beauty roses and lilies of the valley wounded about the column of the base, which was embedded in autumn leaves. The leaves were gathered in Swope park. "Kansas City Mourns" was the inscription on the column.
Covering the foot of the casket was the Swope family piece, composed of roses and lilies of the valley. A basket of lilies of the valley was sent by the Yale alumni of Kansas City, of which Colonel Swope was a member. Flowers sent by local organizations and friends of the family completely covered the massive state casket.
The sky began to cloud just before the head of the line left city hall, and it passed through a slight shower before reaching the library. After that the sun came out and it appeared as if the rain had passed over. After the services at Grace church, however, the clouds again formed and while the procession was passing the uniformed bodies, standing in line on Grand avenue and Twentieth street, there came the first hard shower. this lasted but a few minutes, and there was a lull until the cemetery was reached, when a downpour started. This continued until the services at the vault were concluded.
Active pallbearers -- Mayor Crittenden, R. L. Gregory, president upper house; F. J. Shinnick, speaker lower house, A. J. Dean, president of the park board; W. P. Motley, president of the hospital and health board; Frank S. Groves, president fire and water board; William Volker, president pardon and parole board; John T. Harding, city counselor; John C. Paxton, S. W. Spangler.
Honorary pallbearers -- C. O. Tichenor, J.V. C. Karnes, William Warner, R. T. Van Horn, Adriance Van Brunt, Honorable Herbert S. Hadley, D. J. Haff, William Barton, J. C. James, Leon Smith, E. L. Scarritt, R. W. Hocker, R. E. O'Malley, J. C. Wirthman, James Pendergast, M. Cunningham, M. J. O'Hearn, E. E. Morris, R. A. Long, George M. Myers, F. C. Crowell, Wallace Love, W. S. Dickey, J. F. Downing, E. F. Swinney, H. C. Flower, Llewellyn Jones, George W. Fuller, Charles Campbell, W. S. Woods, Ralph Swofford, J. H. Slover, O. H. Dean, James A. Reed, Jay H. Neff, H. M. Beardsley, W. S. Cowherd, George M. Shelley, Lee J. Talbott, J. J. Davenport, R. J. Ingraham, J. W. Wagner, James Gibson,E. R. Crutcher, Cusil Lechtman, Bernard Corrigan, C. F. Morse, L. M. Jones, George H. Edwards, J. H. Hawthorne, J. C. Ford, Rev. Father W. J. Dalton, Homer Reed and John C. Gage.
Labels: cemetery, children, churches, Funeral, lodges, ministers, music, parades, police, Thomas Swope
October 8, 1909
TO GRAVE THROUGH
LINES OF CHILDREN.
YOUNG FOLK PROMINENT FEA-
TURE OF SWOPE FUNERAL.
More Than 60,000 Take Last
Look at Man "Who Gave
Us the Park."
The head of the cortege which will follow Thomas H. Swope to his last resting place will form at the city hall at 1 o'clock this afternoon. From there the procession will march to the public library, thence to Grace Episcopal church, Thirteenth and Washington.
It has been arranged that all children attending school east of Main street will form from the library west on Ninth street and south on Grand avenue, the intention being of the cortege to pass through a line of school children as far as possible. The west of Main street school children will form on Eleventh street west from Wyandotte street and south on Broadway. The children of the Franklin institute, to whom Colonel Swope, conditionally, gave $50,000 before he died, will form on Grand avenue south of Eighteenth street, on the road to the cemetery.
PAY LAST TRIBUTE.
The library doors were opened at 9 a. m. and the waiting crowd began to file slowly by the casket. Instinctively, men removed their hats. Small boys, some of them barefoot, followed this example, keeping the hat close to the heart until the casket had been passed. When there was no rush the crowds passed the casket at the rate of forty to sixty a minute. Between the hours of noon and 2 p. m., however, there was a great increase, and Charles Anderson, one of the police guard, counted 369 in five minutes. Shortly after 3 o'clock, after the flower parade had passed along Admiral boulevard, the crowd became very dense at the library and two lines had to be formed. During that time they passed at the rate of 120 a minute, which would be 720 an hour.
THE SCHOOL CHILDREN'S TURN.
During the morning the school children were released to give them an opportunity to look upon the face of the man "who gave us the park." Some were bareheaded, some barefooted, some black, some white, but all were given the opportunity to look upon the pale, placid face of Colonel Swope.
Mothers who could not get away from home without the baby brought it along. Many a woman with a baby in arms was seen in line. The police lifted all small children up to the casket.
"Who is it, mamma?" asked one little girl, "Who is it?"
"It is Colonel Swope who gave us the big park," the mother replied.
"Out there where we had the picnic?"
"Did you say he gave us the park, is it ours?"
"He gave it to all the people, dear, to you and me as well as others."
"Then part of the park is mine, isn't i t?"
"Yes, part of it is yours, my child."
One white haired man limped along the line until he came to the casket. With his hat over his heart he stood so long that the policeman on guard had to remind him to pass on.
"Excuse me," he said, and his eyes were suffused with tears, "he helped me once years ago just when I needed it most. He was my friend and I never could repay him. He wouldn't let me."
BITS OF HISTORY.
The aged man passed on out of the Locust street door. Every so often during the day the police say he crept quietly into line and went by the casket again, each time having to be remembered to pause but for a moment and pass on. Who he is the police did not know.
Near the casket Mrs. Carrie W. Whitney, librarian, erected a bulletin board on which she posted a card reading: "Thomas Hunton Swope, born Lincoln county, Kentucky, October 21, 1827; died Independence, Mo., October 3, 1909."
In the center of the board is an excellent engraving of Colonel Swope and on the board are clippings giving bits of his history and enumerating his many public gifts to this city. The board was draped in evergreen and flowers.
On a portion of the board is a leaflet from a book, "History of Kansas City," which reads, referring to Colonel Swope:
SENATOR VEST'S TRIBUTE.
"When Swope park was given to Kansas City, Senator George Graham Vest said of Colonel Swope: 'I am not much of a hero worshiper, but I will take off my hat to such a man, and in this case I am the more gratified because we were classmates in college. We graduated together at Central college, Danville, Ky.
"He was a slender, delicate boy, devoted to study, and exceedingly popular. I remember his fainting in the recitation room when reading an essay and the loving solicitude of professors and students as we gathered about him. He had a great respect for the Christian religion. It has gone with him through his life, although he has never connected himself with any church. I know of many generous acts by him to good people and one of his first donations was $1,000 to repair the old Presbyterian church at Danville, where we listened to orthodox sermons when students."
Later Colonel Swope gave $25,000 to his old school at Danville for a library. Then followed his most magnificent gift, Swope park. Its value when given was more than $150,000. Today it is worth far more.
Speaking of Colonel Swope again, Senator Vest said: "In these days of greed and selfishness, where the whole world is permeated with feverish pursuit of money, it is refreshing to find a millionaire who is thinking of humanity and not of wealth. Tom Swope has made his own fortune and has been compelled to fight many unscrupulous and designing men, but he has risen above the sordid love of gain and has shown himself possessed of the best and highest motives. Intellectually he has few superiors. The public has never known his literary taste, his culture and his love of the good and beautiful. The world assumed that no man can accumulate wealth without being hard and selfish, and it is too often the case, but not so with Tom Swope. In these princely gifts he repays himself with the consciousness of a great, unselfish act."
Labels: children, funerals, history, libraries, Locust street, police, schools, Swope park, Thomas Swope
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Early Kansas City, Missouri