February 9, 1910
HOW DR. HYDE APPEARED.
Or Seemed to Appear, While Miss
Kellar Was Testifying.
When this testimony was given, Dr. Hyde gazed pensively out of the window, as though the proceedings were boring to him. -- From the routine report of the Swope inquest in yesterday's Kansas City Post.
Over behind his attorneys Dr Hyde was listening to the testimony. His eyes were half closed andhis head was bowed. Then he raised his head and watched the nurse closely. His eyes were wide open now and his lips parted just a little. -- From the Kansas City Star's report of the Swope inquest.
Dr. Hyde's pale face flushed under the sudden battery of scrutiny, turned upon him as a searchlight falls upon the just and the unjust -- under the hands of a skilfull operator. His shrewd, clever, calculating face set hard and his brilliant eyes glittered, but his long slim fingers lay quietly on the table in front of him and he smiled back at Mr. Walsh's interest and friendly attempt to reassure his embarrassment. -- From the Sob Squad's report of the Swope inquest in the Kansas City Post.
Labels: newspapers, Swope Mystery
February 2, 1910
SIGNORA TO JOIN ISNARDI?
She Is Happy at Sumptuous Dinner
on Eve of Departure.
Since Peter Isnardi left "Little Italy" three weeks ago, the residents of that section have employed their time chiefly in simmering down their financial losses so as to present them to the county attorney and wondering where the delinquent consular agent went when he left here. Opinion seems to be almost equally divided, some holding that he committed suicide by throwing himself into the Missouri river, and others that he dropped inconspicuously across the line into Mexico where the law would protect him from any embezzlement charge preferred by his enemies.
Those inclined to the latter theory felt themselves vindicated yesterday when it was learned that Signora Marguerite Isnardi also was preparing to leave the city and refused to tell anybody where she was bound.
Before the consular agent left he borrowed heavily from his friend and among those who lost in this manner was Antonio Sansone, living close to the consulate at 653 Cherry street. In part payment of what Isnardi owed Sansone, the signora yesterday turned over to him all her furniture. With her grips and trunk packed she then repaired to a restaurant and had a sumptuous dinner in which it is said wine figured. Several of her friends were present. She was happy.
"Where are you going?" someone asked the signora.
"I am going away; who knows where?" she answered with a characteristic shrug. "Perhaps I will be back soon, perhaps not."
The conversation lagged after that vague bit of information for the simple reason that one party to it could not speak very many English words.
"I am convinced that Signora Isnardi is going to join her husband," said J. P. Deo, editor of the Osservatore, an Italian newspaper at 210 East Fifth street. "Of course, we don't blame her for that, but we are naturally curious as to her destination and she certainly won't tell.
"Since Isnardi left here so suddenly people have been coming to light every day who have lost all the way from $10 to $1,000. The amount of money loaned or entrusted to the care of the man really is enormous when you come to think about it all coming from poor folks.
"A reward of $300 will be offered by the Italians for information leading to the location of Isnardi. First, however, I want to look into the law governing his case. I may also write an open letter to Guido Sabetta, the consul to Chicago."
Labels: Cherry street, embezzlement, immigrants, newspapers
January 28, 1910
HARD TOIL, MONEY
AND BANKER GONE.
"LITTLE ITALY" AROUSED OVER
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF
Many Italians Deposited
Savings With Missing
Little Italy was never before stirred as it was yesterday, when the announcement was made that Peter Isnardi, consular agent of the United States government, had left for parts unknown. Several hundred Italians are worried about sums aggregating about $12,000, the savings of years, which they had deposited with him. Most of those who entrusted their money to Isnardi were railroad section hands and laborers, recent arrivals from Sunny Italy, and unable to speak the English language. Some had been saving to pay the passage of wives or sweethearts to the land of promise; others that they might some day return to their old homes in Italy and to pass the sunset of their lives among friends and amid familiar scenes and surroundings.
A subscription paper will be started today by J. P. Deo, publisher of an Italian newspaper at 210 East Fifth street, to raise money with which to hire lawyers and detectives to seek Isnardi. A committee of Italians will call upon the United States district attorney today to learn what can be done in the matter.
"We intend to secure an order tomorrow from the prosecuting attorney," said Deo last night, "to open Isnardi's safe. He kept all his books locked in it. Not until we can see the books will we know the facts in the case."
A telegram was sent to the minister of foreign affairs at Rome to find whether or not the money that Isnardi was to forward to the bank at Rome was ever received there.
The Italian consul-general at Chicago announced yesterday that the Kansas City office would be abolished. Roma Ladife, vice consul at Chicago, arrived here yesterday to close the office. He took possession of the Italian flag, which hung in front of the agency at 512 East Fifth street, also the seal of the Italian government and the coat-of-arms. Consul Guido Sabetta, in Chicago, that the Italian government funds were not involved.
OPERATED PRIVATE BANK.
In addition to occupying the office of consular agent, Isnardi operated a private bank. This was wholly outside of his official duties, and for any losses that might occur the Italian government is in no way responsible. The consular agent is supposed to have received nearly $8,000 in savings of Italians in the three and one-half years he has held the office. The remaining $4,000 is money he collected for steamship tickets and to be sent to Italy, to be deposited in the bank of Rome.
Local Italians were opposed to Isnardi from the day he was appointed. charges have been filed against him several times with the Chicago office. Though there were rumors among Italians in Kansas City regarding the consular agent, deposits continued to come from those who lived in the country or in railroad camps.
Ten per cent interest was offered by Isnardi on deposits. This was more than the Italian Central bank at Rome pays, which they had all known in Italy. The Italian bank pays 3 1/2 per cent on time deposits. Those who did not want to send their money to Rome could deposit it with their consular agent, Peter Isnardi, in his private bank.
The office of consular agent pays no salary. It is an honorary position. Isnardi had no other business here, and no apparent private income. The Italians say his sole income was from money he collected from his private bank.
APPOINTMENT WAS PROTESTED.
Isnardi succeeded G. G. Lanvereri as consular agent in Kansas City. Isnardi was appointed by Count A. L. Rozwadowski, who died shortly after the appointment. His office was in Chicago. Signor Sabetta succeeded him. A committee of Italians went to Chicago when the count died and asked for the removal of Isnardi. Charges of dishonesty were made against him, but Sabetta refused to act without first having an investigation.
Before his appointment as consular agent here, Isnardi was a traveling book agent. H represented an Italian publishing house and sold his books for $10 each. His home was then in Pueblo, Col. Isnardi was in Kansas City when the question of a vice consul arose.
Isnardi went immediately to Chicago. Count Rozwadowski and he had known each other in Italy. Against the protests of a committee of Kansas City Italians, who wanted a man from here appointed, Isnardi returned two weeks after the dismissal of Lancereri with the commission of consular agent. His appointment, though recommended by the consul at Chicago, was made directly by the foreign minister at Rome.
The consular agent is an American citizen. A consul general, however, must be a subject of the king. This being the case, as an American citizen, the Italians here think that Isnardi can be prosecuted under the laws of this state, in case the funds are not intact. The consul general, under the extra-territorial provision of international law, is immune from arrest and prosecution in the country where he represents his government.
PROSECUTOR WILL ACT.
"I will thoroughly investigate these charges," said Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, last night. "If I find that consular agents are amenable to the laws of this state, Isnardi will probably be arrested and prosecuted."
A dozen complaints have been made the past two months at the prosecuting attorney's office against the consular agent. Isnardi was charged with taking money from Italians to send to the bank at Rome, and appropriating it to his own use. Two weeks ago today the consular agent was called to the prosecutor's office. There he was told that if he did not refund $800 to an Italian who gave him the money for deposit, that criminal action for embezzlement would be begun. He was given until March 1 to refund the money.
Isnardi left Kansas City January 16. His wife said yesterday he had gone to Chicago, but reports from that city say he has not been seen by the consul general. Mrs. Isnardi has been conducting the business since her husband left.
When the news that the office had been closed spread among the Italians in the North End a crowd of 200 m en and women, most of them depositors in the consular agent's private bank, gathered in front of Isnardi's office. At dark the crowd dispersed. when the door to the office would rattle a dog's bark could be heard. The dog had been turned loose in the office to prevent the angry foreigners from making a forcible entrance.
"What will you do if he does come back?" was asked one in the crowd.
"String him up," was the prompt answer of an Americanized Italian.
Labels: banking, Chicago, embezzlement, federal court, Fifth street, immigrants, newspapers, Prosecutor Conkling
January 26, 1910
A HERMIT FORTY-NINE YEARS.
Grinter Dies in White Church Cabin;
Mourned for Wife.
Ambrose B. Grinter, known in Wyandotte county as the "Hermit of White Church," died yesterday morning in the little old frame house he built for his bride in 1859. Had he lived until February 23 he would have been 92 years old. He left no near relatives.
He arrived in White Church in 1859 in a wagon, bringing with him a young wife. They built a little cabin of rough logs. Two years later his wife died. Since that time he had lived a life of seclusion, rarely visiting even the village store and shunning society. The little children of the village used to be afraid of the odd old man and at sundown the hermit could be heard calling his chickens. "Come along, little ones; come in, Wyandottes."
The little children's fears were groundless, though for a year or more before his death he at times chatted with the school children as they passed his door.
Early this winter he sat by a cheerful wood fire in his house and told a story of his life to a friend.
"I was born in Logan county, Ky., February 23, 1818," he said. "My daddy was a farmer and a hunter and he early learned me to use a rifle. When I was a lad of 14 he bound me out to a cabinet maker, William McMullen, who was afterward my 'daddy-in-law," and I learned his trade. I married his daughter, Mary Elizabeth, when I was 22. We lived in Kentucky till 1858, when we started out for Kansas in an old linch-pin wagon, which my 'daddy-in-law' had made for us. We drove two sleek oxen. When we reached Wyandotte county I bought fifty-four acres from the government. We built a little cabin and were very happy until Mary died and since then somehow or another, I don't care for the society of others. I spent my time in the woods with my dog and gun until I became too feeble to get about and now I must sit by the fire and smoke and dream."
Mr. Grinter had suffered with a cancer on his face for many years. About two years ago he went to Bethany hospital for treatment, where he remained for more than a year. While he was gone his neighbors cleaned up the house, which no woman's hand had touched since Mrs. Grinter died. One of these rooms was filled almost entirely with copies of old newspapers, neatly folded. Among these were copies of the Kansas City Journal and the Wyandotte Herald of the '50's. Mr. Grinter has been a reader of both papers for many years.
Another room, apparently that of his wife, was found in the condition it was left many years ago. An old sunbonnet hung on the post of the old-fashioned cord bedstead, the covers of the bed were rumpled and a woman's dress hung over the footboard. Mothers in the little village have long told stories to their little ones of how old Mr. Grinter, with a tender remembrance, had never touched the room since her death and never allowed strangers to look into it.
Funeral services ill be conducted by the Rev. J. W. Payne this afternoon at 3 o'clock at the old Grinter chapel. Burial will be in the chapel grounds.
Labels: death, newspapers, pioneers
January 24, 1910
TINY TOT TELLS THE TRUTH.
Assures Court He Never Sells Papers
After Six O'clock.
Tony Grapes is the name of a diminutive Italian boy. He says he is 8 years old, but looks no more than 6. A few days ago he approached Judge E. E. Porterfield on a Brooklyn car and wanted to sell him a paper. Yesterday Tony and his father were in the juvenile court.
"Do you remember seeing me?" asked the judge.
"Yep," smile Tony, showing his white teeth. "I sell you paper."
"Do you remember when I asked you how late you quit selling papers and you said, 'Any old time?'"
"I quit all the time at 6 o'clock," said Tony, who had evidently been informed that little boys are not allowed to sell papers later than that.
Tony said he had made 15 and sometimes 25 cents a day and that he gave the money to his moth er. Tony acted as interpreter when the judge told the boy's father he must not sell papers any more until the youth is older
"You are sure you are telling your father exactly what I say to you?" asked the court.
"Sure," said Tony. "He says he no like me to sell papers. He 'fraid the cars run off my legs and arms and hands and feet. Then I wouldn't have any to sell papers when I get big."
Labels: children, immigrants, Judge Porterfield, juvenile court, newspapers
January 3, 1910
DID NUDE VISITOR
KANSAS CITY DETECTIVE TELLS
HUNT FOR CRIME.
Covered With Mud, He Broke
Into Station, but Later
Showed Big Roll.
HALVEY SMOKES UP.
Murder was in the air in the detective bureau rooms of Central police station -- murder, along with other things, particularly tobacco smoke. This is said to be the atmosphere of a police secret service department the world over.
It is stronger when there is a story telling contest on and the sweating of a murder suspect in an adjoining room. Detective Joe Halvey had elected to while away the time until the end of the secret conference. His audience consisted of newspaper men, Inspector of Detectives Edward Boyle and Detectives Robert Truman and Dave Oldham.
"It was a late spring night three years ago," said Detective Halvey. "One of those chilly early mornings when reporters love to sit about the 'phone in the lobby and call up instead of going out after their stories," he added, with a ponderous wink.
A SCRIPTURAL WIND.
"It was a very cold night and a wind like the one spoken of in the scriptures was blowing down Missouri avenue."
"What kind of a thing was that scriptural wind?" inquired the reporter.
"I don't see why you intellectual cubs never seem to have had a religious bringing up," scornfully broke in Inspector Boyle, who prides himself in having maintained a Bible in his home since his marriage twenty years ago. "I think it is in Psalms where a March wind is spoken of that blows the straw hat wherever it listeth while many a good man and strong sweareth thereat."
The silence which followed the inspector's quotation was profound. The narrator took advantage of the lull.
"Well, it was getting along toward the second owl car. Michael O'Brien had just brought in a 'drunk' and booked him under the charge of investigation and Pat O'Brien and I were toasting our shins by a warm fire in this same office. I remember every detail, you see, just as though it was yesterday.
YELL AND A SOB.
"Suddenly there came from somewhere on Fifth street near the Helping Hand institute, a blood curdling yell ending in a sort of a sob, as though some man was being choked.
"There were twelve good men in different parts of the station, wherever there was a heating stove, and all jumped at once. There had been a good many holdups during the winter months and of course the first thing we thought was that some villain had made a touch under the eaves of the station. We were not going to stand for that, no sir-e-e-e.
"I was about the first of the officers to reach the big folding doors in the north end of the station. My six shooter was in my hand and there was blood in my eye, I can tell you. If there was something going on I wasn't bound to let the blue uniformed mutts with the brass buttons do the pinch act to the discredit of the detective department.
"Just as I had reached the last step the doors flew open in my face. There was just enough time for action and no time for thought. A lean white streak had started to unwind itself up the stairway when I dropped on it like a thousand bricks.
NAKED, SHIVERING MAN.
" 'Look out below!' I yelled, grabbing it by the neck and bearing it to the linoleum. Then I made a careful analysis. what I was holding was a naked man shivering with the cold and dirtier than any tramp from having been dragged in the mud. 'Great thunder,' said I, 'this must be Adam returned to look after his Eden interests. Who are you, anyway?'
THOUGHT IT WAS ADAM.
"It didn't take much tugging and hauling after I got up off of him to get him in front of the desk sergeant and it took still less time for the entire force to see that he was in the last stages of destitution. He didn't have a finger ring left and his clothing was mud.
" 'What's your name?' the sergeant asked.
" 'You can put me down John Smith,' said 'Adam' with a groan. 'I ain't got any other name, for political reasons. Gentlemen, what I want is clothes, clothes, clothes.'
"The nude wonder somehow looked respectable and we could see that he was right about what he wanted. Half a dozen of us took him into the sink room and gave him a bath, while the rest of the shortstops went in search of clothes. He was not a very tall man and very slim, while the officers we had to draw from were all big, so when we got done with dressing him he looked like a Populist of the short grass country the year of the drought.
"I can't help but laugh when I think of him sitting there in the detectives' room with the waist band of the sergeant's extra trousers drawn up under his arm and his feet in shoes the size of four-dollar dictionaries.
LOOKED BETTER CLOTHED.
"But for all his togs he couldn't help but look respectable. Every time he opened his mouth he emitted an idea by the double handful, which was strange considering his appearance when we first saw him. He was no ordinary man, that was a cinch. He was a genius.
ASKS FOR REPORTERS.
"About the time we were settling back into the humdrum of waiting until morning the unknown quantity took a hitch on himself and asked: 'Where are the reporters? Seems like there ought to be one or more around. It isn't time for the second mail edition yet.'
"We told him there was a little reporter named Billings in the room allowed for the use of newspaper men and that he was probably at that moment writing a story of how a naked, insane man had broken into the police station with the intent to murder the captain.
" 'I'll risk it,' he said with a laugh, 'send him to me.'
"We sent for Billings and it was evident that the two would be kindred spirits. The very first thing the stranger said to the reporter was what he refused to tell the sergeant, and that was how he had come to be naked. We had set him down to be a sort of a crank with spells of lucidness who had undressed and run into the station on a bet, but now we knew better.
HELD UP AND ROBBED.
" 'I was held up and robbed because I got into bad company trying to have a good time when I ought to have been decent,' he told Billings. 'I am sure none of this I tell you will get into the papers because I am a fellow newspaper man.
" 'Now what I want is clothes. I haven't got a cent but plenty of credit. I can get $10,000 anywhere when the banks open. I want you to strike some second-hand clothing store where the proprietor sleeps in the rear and get me a complete suit. I'll pay you when pay day comes.'
"Billings did not answer at once, and we could see he was studying hard. He had the money, for it was Saturday, the day he got paid, but he appeared not to like the idea of lending so much on such a short acquaintance. Finally an idea seemed to come to him. He looked sharply at the stranger and asked rather quick: 'What's thirty?' Now 'thirty' is a newspaper term that few people understand, but this one answered in a second, grinning from ear to ear: 'It means to chuck work and go home,' he answered.
REPORTER BUYS SUIT.
"Well, sir, the reporter did just as he said and got a whole outfit for $14.50 and the stranger left at daybreak telling us all to stick around until he could get another and better rig and return.
"In three or four hours he was back. He had on a brand new suit of the best ready-made clothes in town, patent leather shoes and a plug hat. Also he had a roll of $100 bills so large that they wouldn't go into his inside coat pocket without a special effort. He was showing us that he had the credit he had boasted about.
"This time when we saw him he was feeling better toward the world and would talk more about himself, but he wouldn't tell his name, although I have since suspected the reporter knew it. He told us, though, that he was a prominent Missouri editor with aspirations to the United States senate.
"He had been in politics for years with his paper and never wanted anything so bad as that Senate plum. His platform from the start, he said, had been the cleaning up of the state morally.
WANTED TO FIND TRUTH.
" 'I have preached against immorality so much," he explained, 'that I just had to get out and find the truth about the other side. If my political enemies get hold of last night's caper it will be my undoing.'
"After he had gone the reporter looked at me and said: 'Well, we have promised never to mention this and it is safe, I guess. But my! what a story it would be for some newspapers I know.'
"The reporter is out of town now. By the way, Billings wasn't his name, either. I wonder which United States senatorial candidate that was?"
Labels: Central station, detectives, Fifth street, Inspector Boyle, Missouri avenue, newspapers, police, police headquarters, politics
November 29, 1909
ITALIANS FAVOR FRANCHISE.
Canvasser Says He Did Not Hear
Any Talk of Money Being Used.
Edward B. O'Dowd, 2404 Paseo, an insurance agent with offices in 501 Kemper building, is one of the legally appointed canvassers for the board of election commissioners in obtaining names of voters disfranchised by change of residence. It so happened that he and his colleague have just finished some of the precincts in the Seventh ward.
"When canvassers were appointed," said Mr. O'Dowd last night, "all were instructed that they were named for the sole purpose of finding out who had moved away. Under no circumstances were we to attempt to get the sentiment of the voters. A. C. Perkins, my colleague, and I have obeyed this instruction to the letter.
"Most of our work has been down in what is known as 'Little Italy,' " continued Mr. O'Dowd. "While neither of us asked for an expression of opinion many of the men volunteered their sentiments on the Metropolitan franchise question and without doubt the most of them appear to be in favor of it. During all of the canvass I never heard even the mention of money being used to buy votes in 'Little Italy" and, if it is such common talk down there some of 'the more ignorant sort,' as the Star calls these working men, certainly would have expressed themselves while we were making the rounds. while many were free to give expressions of favor of the four-cent fare franchise, as it appeared to appeal to them most, not one as much as suggested that money was being used."
Mr. O'Dowd said that the story printed in the Star is not true. The Star story was that "canvassers were told in 'Little Italy' that many of the Italian voters of the more ignorant sort are expecting to be well paid for their votes. One Italian leader said: 'Money will do most anything. It will carry this ward for the franchise.' "
Labels: immigrants, Metropolitan Street Railway Company, newspapers, Paseo, politics
November 20, 1909
NEGRO THEATER MANAGER
LOOKED FOR NO PROTEST.
Louis Woods Says His Company In-
vested $5,000 in Contracts for
Louis Woods of 722 Charlotte street, owner of the Kansas City Son, a negro weekly paper, a negro who leased the Jewish Synagogue at Eleventh and Oak streets to open a theater for negroes, said last night that he was surprised at the opposition the proposed theater has received.
"For years I have been giving this matter much needed thought," he said. "I have seen white play houses in Kansas City prosper and added to every year. I noticed another thing -- that few negroes attend a white theater unless a negro troupe happened to be there. Then the first and second balconies are packed with negroes who pay nearly as much as those on the lower floor. It struck me that as all negro shows that come to Kansas City are liberally patronized by negroes, they might as do as well by a theater managed by a person of their own color.
"I talked with Sam Conkey, advance man for the Cole and Johnson show, with Bob Motts, proprietor of the Pekin, a negro theater in Chicago, and with Sir Green, supreme chancellor commander of the negro Knights of Pythias who just has completed a $100,000 negro theater in New Orleans. We combined on the project. It was our intention to have a chain of negro play houses over the country. We have been looking at a proposition in St. Louis.
"We had no idea that there would be any objection to our going by ourselves. White people usually want the negro to keep to himself, but just as soon as he attempts to do so, they object. We had no idea that we would meet the color objection with this theater.
"The theater was to be an investment. We examined the lease and found it without restrictions as to color. The building and the location were so well adapted to our needs that we put money into the business. We have let several contracts and have spent about $5,000.
"Had we known that our going there would have been offensive, it would have caused us to look for another location. So far as I am concerned I do not wish to raise any strife. I was born and reared in Missouri and expect to live and die here."
When it was known a negro theater was to be near them business men on East Eleventh street got up a petition remonstrating against the lease. It was signed by nearly every business firm near the theater.
A. P. Nichols, a real estate agent, has charge of the synagogue property for the owner who lives in Omaha. The principal objectors are D. O. Smart and the North-Mehornay Furniture Company. Mr. Smart has under erection a five-story building west of the proposed negro theater. There are many retail firms along East Eleventh street, members of all of which are opposing the lease to a negro theater.
Labels: business, Charlotte street, Chicago, Eleventh street, New Orleans, newspapers, Oak street, Omaha, race, real estate, St Louis, theater
October 27, 1909
TO LANSING FOR SAFE KEEPING.
M'MAHON BROTHERS, PATRICK LAMB
ESCORTED IN AUTOMOBILES.
Bum Tire Delays Journey; Mc-
Mahon "Guesses" He Is
Even before James McMahon's confession that he alone killed his two sisters and brother-in-law, Sheriff Al Becker had concluded that it would be best not to keep the prisoners, McMahon and his brother, Patrick, and Patrick Lamb, an employe at the McMahon farm, in Kansas City , Kas., over night and arrangements were made to take them to the penitentiary in Lansing. Telephone messages were coming into the sheriff's office informing him that there was much bitterness expressed in the vicinity of the McMahon and Van Royen homes and that a lynching was being planned.
Acting upon this advice the sheriff deemed it well to remove the prisoners at once, so that when Patrick McMahon had completed his confession to Taggart, the brothers and Patrick Lamb, together with officers and reporters, started for Lansing.
In an automobile with Patrick and James McMahon were Sheriff Becker, Under Sheriff Brady and Deputy Sheriff Brady. Patrick Lamb rode in another car with Deptuy Sheriffs Charles Lukens, U. S. G. Snyder, Harley Gunning, William McMullen and Clyde Sartin. In two other motor cars were newspaper reporters.
Never in all his life, probably, had James McMahon contemplated such a tour as he was then making. Every officer was well armed, and there was anxiety on the part of the sheriff, who did not know to what extent the movement to lynch the prisoners had progressed. The party drove out State street as far as Ninth street, then wheeled into Minnesota avenue and connected with the Reidy road.
The journey was continued on this road to a point where a cross-road offers an outlet to the Parallel road. If the junction of the Reidy road and the cross-road could be passed safely the officers felt confident that they would not meet violence.
PATRICK QUIET AND SULLEN.
Farmers in wagons and buggies lined the thoroughfare, and while the prisoners were peered at curiously, there was no demonstration. That everybody along the route knew of the apprehension of the McMahons was evident.
Riding with the sheriff and under sheriff, James McMahon appeared nervous during the first stages of the ride, but Patrick McMahon sat at his side, quiet and sullen, and seemingly totally oblivious to his surroundings.
At the junction there was not a person in sight when the motor car party arrived and, turning into the road, the machines were speeded rapidly to the main thoroughfare that led directly to Lansing. Near Bethel, Kas., the machine in which the McMahons were riding punctured a tire and the entire party got out and watched the chauffeur make the repairs.
During this interim, James McMahon, who was now feeling safe from a mob attack, appeared more cheerful and talked willingly to those about him. Again and again he said that he could give no reason for his crime and again and again he described it. He seemed unconcerned regarding his strange situation.
"GUESSES" HE IS SORRY.
"Guess you know this country pretty well, don't you, Jim?"
"I've walked over every foot of it," said the prisoner. "And I guess I won't walk over it any more."
"How do you feel by this time?"
"All right, all right, I'm glad I confessed."
"Sure that no one else was implicated in this affair?"
"No one else; Pat ain't guilty of anything," said Jim. "I did the whole thing."
"Are you sorry?
"I guess I am.
"Did you think they were going to catch you any time last week?"
"No, I didn't get afraid until this morning, then I knew the jig was up."
"How have you been at night? Did you sleep?"
"Yes, I slept all right; sometimes I got nervous."
"Didn't you get kind o' creepy when you walked about the Van Royen house?"
"No, not much."
"How about this man you said you saw talking to Van Royen on that Tuesday morning?"
"O, that was a lie."
"And about seeing Rosie when you were going to the pasture to milk the cows?"
"That was a lie, too," said James.
As he answered these questions the prisoner chewed tobacco at a furious pace. His lips were covered with the stains of the weed.
The repairs on the tire completed, the journey was resumed. At a point about fourteen miles from Leavenworth the same tire broke again, and there was another delay.
NEVER IN AN ASYLUM.
"We're outside Wyandotte county now, ain't we," said Jim, as he stepped to the ground the second time.
"Well, I feel safer now. There won't be any feeling over in this county."
"Were you ever in an insane asylum, Jim?" someone asked.
"No, but I guess I ought to have been."
"Ever have any insane fits or anything like that?"
"Not that I know of."
For a second time the obstreperous tire on Henry Zimmer's automobile was repaired and another start made, but in a few minutes the rim of the wheel rolled off. Then Zimmer tore off all the wheel fixings and the machine carrying the McMahons, rolled into Lansing limping on one side.
At the penitentiary Sheriff Becker and his prisoners were received by Warden J. K. Codding, who said that while the prison officials were willing to keep the men they would have to be willing.
"DON'T KNOW WHY I DID IT."
"We're willing," said Jim. "I'd rather be here than in Wyandotte."
"What do you think about it?" Patrick McMahon was asked.
"I guess this is the better place for tonight, anyhow," said Patrick.
Henry Zimmer offered to take Pat Lamb back with him, but the latter, at first willing, later decided that he would remain at the prison.
"I don't know what they're thinking down there," said Lamb, "so I'll just stay here for a few days."
The party remained in the warden's office fully a half hour, and during all that time Patrick McMahon spoke scarcely a word. When spoken to he answered, but his answers were brief. Jim McMahon, apparently not badly frightened, apparently not greatly concerned, sat in one of the warden's easy chairs and answered all questions put to him. The substance of all his answers were:
"I killed them, and I don't know why I did it."
Labels: automobiles, farmers, Kansas City Kas, Minnesota avenue, newspapers, penitentiary, Reidy road, Sheriff Becker, telephone, Van Royen Murders
October 9, 1909
FREDERICK GEHRING DIES.
Editor of Staats Zeitung Passes
Away at 68 Years.
Frederick Gehring, editor of the Missouri Staats Zeitung, the offices of which are located at 304 West Tenth street, died at 7 o'clock yesterday morning at the German hospital. Mr. Gehring was 68 years old, having been born in Griessen, Germany, March 4, 1841. One relative, a son, Carl, employed by the Moore Transfer Company, survives.
The funeral services will be conducted from the home, 3152 Oak street, at 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon. Burial in Mount Washington cemetery.
Mr. Gehring was secretary of the German-American Citizens' Association and a member of the Turner society. In both of these organizations his long residence in the city, his position as editor of the only German weekly paper in the country and his evident honest and ability as a worker for the good of the community gave him prestige.
Coming from Germany when he was 12 years old, Mr. Gehring's parents took him to Lafayette, Ind., where he grew to manhood. When the civil war broke out he enlisted in the Fifteenth Indiana Volunteer infantry June 14, 1861. He was mustered out of the service in June, 1864, carrying a scar from a minie ball wound with him into private life.
After marrying Miss Catherine May of Indanapolis, immediately after the close of the war, Mr. Gehring moved to Springfield, Ill., where he started the German Free Press. He was twice elected to the city council in Springfield, and from 1876 to 1877 was a member of the legislature.
Mr. Gehring came to Kansas City twenty-five years ago and established the Staats Zeitung, or State News, in 1894. His wife died last December.
A special meeting of the Turner Society will be called at 8 o'clock this evening to arrange for the funeral.
Labels: Civil War, death, German hospital, immigrants, Mt. Washington, newspapers, Oak street, organizations, Tenth street
September 26, 1909
POLICE TO ISSUE NEWSPAPER.
It Will Contain Only Matters the
Officers Should Know.
Beginning with the first of next month the printing plant will be in operation for the police department. Two bulletins with all the news of police interest will be issued each day. Instead of the policeman being compelled to listen to a description of a crook fugitive, which he is liable to forget in a few minutes, he will have a printed description of the man in his pocket.
The new bulletin will copy the St. Louis and Chicago plan with the added advantage of being printed twice each day. In the morning the record of all arrests, crimes, robberies and miscellaneous matters of interest to the officers will be printed. In the evening all similar events that have happened during the day will be printed.
The big complaint against the police department in the past has been the slowness with which the department acts. The bulletin will expedite matters at least twelve hours. An officer can consult this list for a complete description of all crooks that have been wanted for the past thirty days.
Labels: Chicago, crime, newspapers, police, St Louis
September 15, 1909
AID FOR CRIPPLED BLIND MAN.
Friends Are Starting a Subscription
Fund for Edward Harris.
Men who knew Edward Harris, the blind newspaper vendor who stood each day at the Junction and who was injured by being run over by a team Monday afternoon, met at the Kensington Avenue Baptist church last night and arranged to take up a subscription to aid him in his time of trouble. Harris was seriously injured, and may be a cripple permanently. He has a wife and a daughter to care for.
Reverend A. E. Burch, pastor of the church, presided at the meeting. Many residents of Kansas City were familiar with Harris and bought papers from him.
The members of the committee in charge of the subscription for Harris are Rev. Mrs. Burch, A. C. Wright, S. A. Faires and M. A. Randall.
Labels: churches, Kensington, ministers, newspapers, the Junction, visual impairment
August 9, 1909
THE TRIBUNE IS GENEROUS.
Chicago Paper Runs Cut of Alleged
Kansas City Depot.
In yesterday's Chicago Tribune there was a write-up of Kansas City's proposed new Union passenger station. An illustration of the building was presented, but Kansas City railroad men say that it is not a correct representation. Some two years ago a Chicago architect by the name of Jarvis Hunt, prepared drawings and sketches for the directors of the Kansas City Terminal Railway Company. They were but tentative in their scope, and did not receive the approval of the board of directors of the company for two reasons. One was the prohibitive expense they entailed, and the other that the company was not ready to finance so elaborate a building.
"Mr. Hunt evidently intends to build a monument to his genius, and to make the railroads foot the bill," was the comment made by one of the officers of the terminal company when the sketches were submitted. It is now understood that the architect is now at work on a more modified scale, and is preparing plans for a building the cost of which will be in keeping with the contract agreement, $2,800,000.
A building of the character illustrated in yesterday's Chicago paper would cost $5,000,000 to build.
Labels: architects, Chicago, newspapers, railroad, union station
June 24, 1909
INDEPENDENCE PAPER SOLD.
W. N. Southern, Sr., Transfers In-
terests in Property to E. C. Gordon.
The sale of the Independence Sentinel took place yesterday. W. N. Southern, Sr., disposing of his interests in the paper to E. C. Gordon of Kansas City, Kas. Mr. Southern has been editor of the Sentinel for the past twenty years, but ill health caused him to retire.
"I will remain out of the newspaper business," said Mr. Southern yesterday, "until I recover my health. Worry and anxiety of business interests have undermined my general health until I was naturally forced to quit, and I feel better already."
Labels: Independence, newspapers
May 30, 1909
VISIT ARRESTED BY DEATH.
Admiral John Crittenden Watson
Came Here to Meet Late Gov-
ernor, His Cousin.
Unaware of Governor Thomas T. Crittenden's death, Admiral John Crittenden Watson, a cousin of the governor, arrived in Kansas City yesterday afternoon for brief visit. The first he learned of his cousin's death was while riding on a street car to the Crittenden home. A man with whom the admiral was sitting held a paper which contained an account of the governor's death. As he turned the page the admiral stopped him:
"What's that," he exclaimed. "Governor Crittenden dead?"
"Yes, he died early this morning," replied the man.
"I am his cousin, and I have just arrived in the city for a visit with him and his family. This is the first I've heard of his death."
Admiral Watson, who succeeded Dewey in command of the fleet at Manila, had been attending the convention of the Presbyterian general assembly in Denver. He was there as a delegate from Louisville, Ky., his him, and stopped off in Kansas City upon his return. He had been on the train for more than a day and consequently had missed the newspaper accounts of Mr. Crittenden's condition.
At the Crittenden home, the governor's half brother, Logan C. Murray of Kentucky, is expected today. Governor Crittenden and his brother and cousin had planned a family reunion to be held June 18, at the Crittenden home in Shelby county.
Labels: death, Denver, newspapers, streetcar, visitors
May 28, 1909
JAMES SHARP TELLS
A RAMBLING STORY.
PREACHES ON WITNESS STAND
BUT PASSES UP KILLING.
Arguments in Riot Case With
Instructions to Jury Including
Manslaughter and Par-
Cost of the Sharp trial to Jackson county $1,500.
Duration of trial (if ended today) twelve days.
By noon today or shortly after 12 o'clock the fate of James Sharp will be in the hands of the jury. All the testimony was finished yesterday afternoon and the instructions were read to the jury.
If Sharp meant to convince the jury he is not in his right mind, his counsel let him do the best possible thing by allowing him to ramble on the witness stand as he did yesterday morning. One of his impromptu sermons lasted for nearly twenty minutes and might have been two hours had the court not stopped it. All through Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, the Northwest and Canada he rambled.
DEFENSE SCORES POINT.
But when, in the course of his ramblings, he got to Kansas City, his flow of language dried. He was not allowed by his counsel to tell even who fired the first shot in the riot, and, not having been examined as to the details by his own counsel, could not be cross-examined on such points.
In many words Adam God told of the revelations he had:
"It was revealed to me, after I had been preaching for two years, that I was a chosen vessel. I received it as the messenger of the fifth angel in the ninth chapter of Revelations -- the angel who opened the bottomless pi pt and out of the pit came locusts and they had tails.
"I am Jesus Christ. This knowledge that is in me is God. I claim to be the father of the Lord, yet he is my mother. I am the father of Jesus Christ raised up again out of David. This revelation came to me in Fort Smith, Ark. Since then I have found more proof in the Scripture all the time. Two years ago it was revealed to me that I was David."
"Will you ever die?"
"I preached that I would never die and that my body would never see corruption. Anyhow, I will be reincarnated."
JEALOUS OF ADKINS.
But in all of Sharp's statement, from the time the meteor fell on his farm in Oklahoma until the time of the riot, through the tears that masked but could not stop the flow of words, though whatever emotion he may have felt, there was in it all , t the culminating moment, the note of jealousy. For John Adkins, the Adkins who led the naked parade, was a greater preacher than Adam God.
"From the time Adkins joined us until we were arrested in Oklahoma City he was the leader," Sharp testified. "The time he was converted he preached as no man has ever preached before nor since. We stood dumbfounded. Tears streaming down his cheeks, Adkins told us of things we had never heard of; things that were not in the Bible. He made men weep and women cry. Often I myself have wept as I preached, but I couldn't make others cry. But Adkins could. He was a great preacher."
It was Adkins who told Sharp, according to the defendant's story, that he was Adam, Mrs. Sharp, Eve, and the boy, Cain or Abel. There is confusion in the testimony as to the child's name. It was Adkins, too, according to the defendant, who said three times to the police, when they started to interfere with the naked parade: "Get the behind me, Satan." And Sharp said the police got.
NO SENSE OF SHAME.
Of this orgy Sharp told with no sense of shame. He appeared amused when he related his wife's endeavor to shield herself from the public gaze after her arrest and omitted no detail. In marked contrast to this was his testimony about selling his home because he feared he would get attached to it instead of god.
"An evil spirit leapt out of Holt and on me," said Sharp, telling of the controversy at the mission in the North end. I became unbalanced and pushed him out. I called him a foul name, but did not swear. I struck Holt with a pistol against my will. From that time on I was like a blind man and all through the fight I can't remember. I never was in such a fix since I was born. I know I said: 'Come on, we'll hold a meeting if we don't get killed. This is a free country and we'll preach anyhow.'
"I meant to show my humility with guns and thought perhaps they'd let me alone. I was watching for the police. the first officer told me to go over to the station and I started to talk to him when a man in citizen's clothes came up beside the officer and put a pistol in my face and told me to drop my knife. Then I heard a shot fired.
"Did you fire that shot?"
At this point the direct examination stopped. Sharp's counsel would not let him tell who fired the first shot, but turned him over to the state for cross-examination. Then the religious ramblings ceased and Sharp was brought back to his earlier life with a jerk.
WAS SHORT-CARD GAMBLER.
""Yes," said he in answer to questions from Mr. Conkling. "I was a gambler from the age of 14 for almost thirty years. I played cards for money. I was a short card gambler and played poker, seven-up, casino and other games. About all I looked for was to swindle. I got so I could run up high hands, but played square when I had to."
Under a fire of questions Sharp admitted that he had no title to the farm on which he lived, as it was a claim and he had lived there only two and a half years. He said he sold his relinquishment for $250 and paid off debts of $22. He didn't give the poor over $125, he said.
But after he quit gambling, Sharp took moral bankruptcy. He never made restitution to the people whom he had swindled.
"Gambling was the devil working through me. The money I had swindled people out of I just charged up to the devil, and let it go at that."
"Did you preach the Ten Commandments?"
"The Commandments were law in their day, but Christ came along and changed the law."
Pursuing questions about the evil spirit he said Holt brought the defendant, Mr. Conkling asked:
"Did you get the evil spirit first, or the gun?"
WAITED FOR TROUBLE.
"I carried the gun all the time. I never was in such a fix. Just think of a man going out and doing what I did -- "
"Did you tell the others to bring their revolvers?"
"They had them with them all the time. I was not hunting trouble. I was waiting to see it come. I was expecting it after what had happened."
"When the officer said, 'Drop that knife,' where was the weapon?"
"In my hand, open. We were holding a meeting and I was watching to keep them off if they interfered. I was armed with faith. Besides that, I had a gun and a knife which the children not of God could understand. Of course they could not recognize the spirit."
The sharp fire of cross-examination, calling for quick thought and feats of memory by the defendant, did much to dispel any belief of insanity which he may have instilled on his direct examination.
MRS. SHARP HYSTERICAL.
There were certain inconsistencies which hardly could have been lost on the jury. For instance, Sharp testified that he learned to read largely through his perusal of the Bible. He gave the impression that this was about his only means of education. Yet Sharp, it was pointed out, writes a fair hand.
Mrs. Melissa Sharp, sobbing and talking in the voice of hysteria, preceded her husband on the stand. She seems devoted to her husband, aside from religion and told of the falling star and of her conversion in Oklahoma in a voice that expressed the profoundest conviction.
Her recital of how the Sharps wept and prayed for weeks after Adam saw the star was dramatic. When she had finished amid tears of her own and of Mr. Martin of her counsel, she was taken back to her cell without cross-examination.
ARGUMENTS ARE BEGUN.
The argument was begun at 7 o'clock in the evening by William S. Gabriel, assistant prosecuting attorney, who presented the case for the state. He was followed by A. A. Bailey of the defense and Harry Friedberg for the state. After these addresses court adjourned until 9 o'clock this morning. The morning A. E. Martin will argue for the defense and Virgil Conkling, prosecutor, will sum up for the state. How soon after that there will be a verdict is for the jury to say.
About twenty-five instructions offered by the state and defense were given to the jury by Judge Ralph S. Latshaw. Under them, Sharp may be convicted of murder in the first or second degree. The maximum penalty for the last mentioned offense is two years' imprisonment. The jury may acquit on the ground of self-defense or on the plea of insanity.
The instructions cover partial insanity, the presumption of guilt raised by flight after the crime. There is an instruction covering the supposition that Sharp was insane at the time of the crime and has since recovered, and another that supposes he was insane then and is so now. The court instructed the jury that it was not necessary that Sharp should have fired the shot that killed Michael P. Mullane in order to convict him, but that it was sufficient if proved anyone acting in concert with him did the deed.
For the first time during the trial of the case, A. A. Bailey of Sharp's counsel took the active part yesterday. His adroit questioning strengthened the defendant's case materially, so far as it was possible to do so in light of the damaging evidence Sharp gave against himself. A. E. Martin, the other attorney, was late at both morning and afternoon sessions, and was lectured each time by the court.
COVER PARTIAL INSANITY.
After the Sharps had told their story in the morning, or at least as much of it as Mr. Bailey shrewd questioning allowed to be revealed, the afternoon was devoted to expert insanity testimony and to rebuttal evidence by the state.
Dr. S. Grover Burnett heard a 4,000-word hypothetical question and was asked: "Assuming that all this is true, is it your belief that Sharp is insane?"
"It is indicative that he is insane. He is suffering form a form of mania of insanity classified as paranoia religiosa."
The hypothetical question, easy for Dr. Burnett, was too much for a spectator, who fainted and was carried from the room.
Dr. Burnett modestly admitted that he had pronounced 15,000 persons insane and had never, so far as he knew or was able to find out, made a mistake. He was the only expert put on by the defense.
In rebuttal, the state introduced Harry Hoffman, a deputy county marshal, who would not say whether he believed Sharp sane or insane. It also called to the witness stand Theodore Remley, justice of the peace, before whom Sharp had two preliminary hearings. Justice Remley testified that, at neither of these hearings did Sharp make any interruption, nor did he n or his wife carry a Bible. The same facts were testified to by Clarance Wofford, stenographer of the criminal court, who reported the preliminary hearings.
John S. Steed, sheriff of Johnson county, Kas.; Hugh I. Moore, a reporter for The Journal, who talked to Sharp soon after his arrest; John M. Leonard, editor of the Olathe Register; Edwin G. Pinkham, a reporter for the Star, all testified they believed Sharp sane.
The statement made by Sharp after he had been returned to Kansas City was read. In it the fanatic said it had been revealed to him that Kansas City was the town he was going to take. His band, he said, was singing "Babylon is Falling" just before the riot started. Also in his statement, Sharp said he fired the first shot.
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, courtroom, Johnson county, Judge Latshaw, Judge Remley, mental health, ministers, newspapers, police, Prosecutor Conkling, The Journal
May 27, 1909
OLD NEWSPAPER MAN DIES.
Edwin Gilbert Erwin Was Founder
of Jackson County Judge.
EDWIN G. ERWIN
Edwin Gilbert Erwin, formerly a reporter on The Journal and for many years a Jackson county newspaper man, died at his home, 1317 Madison street, yesterday morning, of diabetes. He was 48 years old. Mr. Erwin was born in Cleveland, Ill., and had been in the newspaper business practically all his life.
Physically Mr. Erwin was a large man, and during his life in this county was called by the sobriquet of "Judge." In 1898 Mr. Erwin was employed as a reporter on The Journal. Erwin, however, was not satisfied unless editing a paper of his own. After a year and a half on The Journal he moved to Independence with his family , and founded the Jackson County Judge. He held the position of editor on this paper until two years ago.
His relinquishment of the Jackson County Judge was caused by his failing health, due to an attack of diabetes which slowly wasted him away until he was but a shadow of his former self. Last March the family moved to the Madison street address from Independence. The end came after Mr. Erwin had been confined to his bed for two weeks.
Besides his father and widow, three daughters and one son survive. The daughters are Mrs. Frank F. Syne of Sioux City, Ia., and Miss Georgia and Miss Louise of this city. The son is Lester G. Erwin. Two sisters, Mrs. U. G. Osborn of 3424 Highland avenue and Mrs. Eugene Neal, who lives seven miles east of Independence, survive.
Funeral services will be held from the home this afternoon at 2 o'clock. Rev. William Haupt of the Independence Episcopal church, will officiate. Burial will be in Forest Hill cemetery.
Labels: death, Highland avenue, newspapers, The Journal
May 3, 1909
WHEN TROOST AVENUE
WAS A COUNTRY ROAD
A. J. BLETHEN TELLS OF KAN-
SAS CITY YEARS AGO.
Owner of Seattle Times Comments
Upon Growth and Development
in Thirty Years -- West Has
"Without a doubt the growth and development of Kansas City in the past two decades is nothing short of marvelous, and its splendid parks and drives, with the many handsome residences, rival anything I have seen anywhere in the country." This statement was made last night by Alden J. Blethen, former business manager of The Kansas City Journal, and now editor and owner of the Seattle Times, who is a guest at the Hotel Baltimore.
Mr. Blethen left The Journal twenty-nine years ago, to go to Minneapolis, where he had taken over the management of the Tribune of that city. After twelve years in Minneapolis he went to Seattle, Wash., and purchased the plant of the Times.
"I was in Kansas City about ten years ago as a delegate to the Democratic national convention which nominated W. J. Bryan for the second time. At that time I did not have an opportunity to see much of the city, but this afternoon I took an automobile and with my wife and daughters drove around to look over some of the old landmarks.
TROOST AVENUE A COUNTRY ROAD.
"What we used to call the Southern hills is now one of the most modern and beautiful residence sections I have had the pleasure of seeing. It is almost past belief. Thirty years ago I used to drive over the hills along an old country road where the farm houses were more than a half-mile apart. That road is gone and today Troost avenue occupies its place.
"The business has moved with certain precision to the south as the town extended. The old Journal office at Sixth and Delaware streets was then considered the center of town. The number of new buildings is surprising."
Mr. Blethen talked of the exposition to be held in Seattle this year and declared it would exceed any of the minor fairs held in recent years.
"This fair was conceived as a celebration of the discovery of gold in the Alaskan and Yukon fields," said he, "and we are leaving nothing undone to make it a fitting celebration. Last year Alaska produced $21,000,000 in gold and is second only to Colorado in the production of that metal.
Mr. Blethen, with his wife and daughters, left Seattle last March for a tour of the states. He went to California and over the Southern route, stopping at New Orleans and Mobile, and up the coast to Atlanta. Thence to Washington and New York.
He arrived in Kansas City yesterday morning from Chicago and will leave tomorrow for Denver and Salt Lake, arriving in Seattle May 10.
Labels: Delaware street, history, Hotel Baltimore, hotels, newspapers, Sixth street, The Journal, Troost avenue, visitors
April 25, 1909
WOULD HONOR VAN HORN.
An Old Citizen Reminds the Park
Board of a Timely Duty.
To The Honorable Park Board of Kansas City, Mo.
Gentlemen:-- On September 4, 1908, I had the honor to address you a communication relative to naming one of the city parks or boulevards for our venerable esteemed fellow citizen, the Hon. R. T. Van Horn. Said communication, which was published in the Kansas City Post of the above date, was followed by an editorial in the Kansas City Journal of September 6, strongly advocating the matter contained therein. I subsequently received a reply from the park board that the matter would be taken under consideration when the limits were extended, which was done April 6. So I take this opportunity to renew the request to the new park board, installed April 19.
There is nothing I can add to what has already been presented through the columns of the press. I only desire to reiterate my former statement that Colonel Van Horn should be recognized while he is in the flesh and can appreciate the gratitude of his fellow citizens, for whose interest he has so long and faithfully labored. His memory should be cherished and perpetuated through all time, for he has been the city's chief promoter in ever stage of its development from a struggling village down to the present. How fitting, then, to perpetuate his memory by some enduring token of love and affection, and nothing would be more appropriate or give more general approval than for one of our prominent parks or boulevards to bear his honored name.
R. S. QUINN.
Kansas City, April 24.
Labels: Colonel Van Horn, newspapers, Park board, The Journal
April 4, 1909
LITERARY MAN A SUICIDE.
Body of William Ward Mitchell,
Author, Editor and Poet, Taken
From the River.
Decomposed almost beyond recognition, the body of William Ward Mitchell, author, poet and editor, was found in the Blue river at Blue Mills yesterday afternoon. Mr. Mitchell had frequently talked suicide to his physician, Dr. Ralph W. Holbrook, 415 Argyle building, under whose care he had been for several weeks during the past year, and it is believed he accomplished his own death.
Seven years ago, or thereabouts, Mr. Mitchell was the editor of the Higginsville, Mo., Jeffersonian. During that time Mr. Mitchell wrote several books which attracted more or less attention. Perhaps the most popular of them all was "Jael," a historical novel of local setting.
Two years later the editor became a nervous wreck from overwork and deep study. Last fall he came to Kansas City and consulted Dr. Holbrook, an old friend. Dr. Holbrook advised him to take treatment and he was sent to a local hospital. Natural pride of family and other peculiarities, caused Mr. Mitchell to use the name of M. W. Ward while in Kansas City last fall.
In November he was discharged from the hospital and went to board with A. J. Leonard, 1006 Forest avenue. From time to time he was heard to talk of self-destruction, particularly to his friend and doctor. His act of suicide, which was committed about three months ago, being the time that all trace of him was lost, seems to be the outcome of brooding over imagined or real ills.
"Mitchell was always a dreamer," said Dr. Holbrook last night, "and his act can readily be accounted for. He considered himself down and out because of his health. Yet in the very midst of it all he would write the prettiest and most optimistic poetry that you ever read. For five years he has not been to his home in Higginsville.
His mother is aged an palsied, and has frequently sent word for him to come home.
"Mitchell has relatives by the name of Ward who live in Kansas City, on the Paseo, I think."
Mitchell's body was taken to Independence, and there a corner of an envelope bearing Dr. Holbrook's address was found in his clothes.
Dr. Holbrook was notified immediately and last night he made the trip to Independence by motor car to identify the body. The identification was complete. The clothes which Mr. Mitchell had worn when he committed suicide were the same which he had when he left Kansas City last December. On that occasion he told his landlady that he was going for his mail and then disappeared.
Mr. Mitchell was 38 years old.
Labels: books, doctors, Higginsville, Independence, mental health, newspapers, Paseo, Suicide
February 4, 1909
NEW HIGH SCHOOL PAPER.
Has Real Live News in It, Too, to
Say Nothing of Jokes.
The newest little high school paper to appear this year is the Westport High School Herald, which is just out. The staff has discarded most of the usual story and essay contributions and has filled the pages of the paper with items of interest to the school. It tells what the students have done and what they ought to do. It urges them to enter contests and form new societies. It gives an introduction to the new corps of teachers and the work they have done prior to their teaching at the Westport school. In addition to the news items there are several columns devoted to kokes upon students and teachers.
Labels: newspapers, schools, Westport
December 9, 1908
Police Search the Craft, but Find
Nothing but Bundles of Papers.
At about 10 o'clock last night the guard on a Stewart-Peck sand dredge suggested a boat floating down the Missouri river. Upon investigation he learned that it was the houseboat once occupied by the Adam God sect. The police were immediately notified and a squad, armed with rifles, was sent to search the boat.
Nothing but papers was found in the houseboat, among them being the clipping from the Winnipeg Free Press which appears in The Journal under another heading. This clipping had been saved by Sharp among other papers of no particular consequence to the police. It is not known how the boat became released from its moorings.
Labels: Adam God sect, boats, Missouri river, newspapers, The Journal
December 3, 1908
W. N. SOUTHERN RELEASED
Independence Editor Pleads
William N. Southern, Sr., editor of the Independence, Mo., Sentinel, who was arraigned in the criminal court yesterday charged with assaulting F. F. Brightman, a rival Independence editor, with a knife, pleaded not guilty and gave $1,000 bond. Brightman edits the Daily Democrat.
Labels: criminal court, Independence, newspapers, violence
October 18, 1908
DEMOCRATIC NEWSPAPER MEN
BATTLE IN STREET.
GREW OUT OF
W. N. SOUTHERN ASSAULTS W. F.
BRIGHTMAN WITH CANE.
Thrown to Pavement by Man He
Had Attacked, Southern Drew
a Knife and Slashed His
Two Democratic editors met on the streets of Independence yesterday and made "copy" for the Kansas City newspapers. W. N. Southern, Sr., is the editor of the Independence Sentinel, and W. F. Brightman is the editor of his "loathed contemporary," the Daily Democrat. Both men are well along in years. There has been bad blood between them for some time. Trouble between the two has been barely averted on several occasions.
A few days ago the Sentinel, which is an independent Democratic paper, ran up to its mast head nearly all of the Republican county candidates, on the score that the men had served the people well and should be re-elected, while others were men who ought to be tried. A few days after this issue the Daily Democrat came out in an article stating in broad terms that the Sentinel had "sold out to the Republicans" and its action "was of little consequence, as it had no influence in the politics of Jackson county."
Those who knew the fighting editor of the Sentinel looked for trouble to occur at any time. Days slipped by but the men did not meet. Yesterday, about noon, Editor Brightman got off a car near the square on Lexington street and going to the sidewalk began reading a paper. Editor Southern clutched his cane and started for the other Democratic editor. Getting close to him he brought the stick down with the force of resentment on the head of his brother Democratic light-bearer.. His "esteemed contemporary," after the first jolt fell back but quickly recovered his equilibrium and started after Editor Southern, who had passed on up the street. Brightman caught Southern and being the heavier of the two soon brought him to earth. Grabbing the Sentinel's editor by the head he proceeded to bump it on the stone sidewalk near the Chrisman-Sawyer bank building. There is a hollow cut in the stone, to allow the water to pass from the sidewalk, and into this receptacle the editor of the Democrat proceeded to push the head of the editor of the Sentinel.
Editor Southern was getting much of the worst of the fight when some one exclaimed: "He's getting his knife." The steel blade of Editor Southern's knife came out and Mr. Brightman laid heavy on the arm that wielded the blade. Notwithstanding this the smaller man with the knife commenced to get in his work on his antagonist.
J. M. Jarvis, manager of the Lyric, who is also a special officer, separated the men, but not until the knife had cut slits in the clothing of Editor Brightman. Both men were hurried away bleeding. The editor of the Democrat was taken to the office of Dr. Sheley, where it was found the knife wounds were of no consequence, but dangerously near an artery, which , if clipped by the knife, would probably have been fatal.
Brightman, who is afflicted with heart disease, succumbed into drowsiness and remained in a semi-comatose condition until late in the night. Dr. Sheley does not anticipate any trouble from the knife wound, but is doubtful about other physical conditions. Late last evening the wounded editor was resting easy.
Editor Southern was around on the streets again shortly after the altercation. He was a little bit under the weather on account of the gash in his head, which came in contact with the sidewalk, but was not troubled otherwise.
As both men run Democratic publications it has stirred up the Democracy to considerable extent, some taking sides with one publication and some the other. Editor Southern denies the charge that a single line of his paper has been sold and in any event as he owns the publication he claims the right to support any candidate he cares to without criticisms in public print.
Labels: doctors, Independence, newspapers, politics, violence
September 30, 1908
HEART OF HUMAN FREAK
FOUND TO BE RUPTURED.
Henry J. Johnson, Who Died Sudden-
ly, Swallowed Glass and Ate
Nails and Tacks.
The inserting of steel hat pins in various portions of his body and eating broken glass while giving performances at state fairs and in museums caused the death of Henry J. Johnson of Erie, Pa. He was found dead in his room at 322 West Twelfth street yesterday. An autopsy held last night by Dr. George B. Thompson showed that death was due to rupture of the heart. It was found to be much enlarged, due probably to the nervous strain to which Johnson had subjected his system while making his performances. From newspaper clippings and cards found in his room it was learned that Johnson called himself the "Human Freak."
The man looks to be about 32 years of age, and aside from an enlarged heart, seemed to have suffered no other physical ailments. The description given of some of his performances is that he not only stuck hatpins through his arms, legs and neck, but that he chewed broken glass, bit nails in twain and swallowed tacks. No foreign substances were found in the stomach of the dead man at the inquest.
A. H. Sammitt, at whose house Johnson was found dead, stated last night that he knew little about the man. He arrived here about one week ago and stated that he came from Iola, Kas., where he had been with a country fair. He said that he was going to take a rest of three weeks before starting again on the road. His bill was paid and he kept to his room most of the time. The body was found by a maid when she went to clean the room.
Efforts will be made to locate relatives of Johnson at Erie, Pa.
Labels: Coroner Thompson, daredevils, death, newspapers, Twelfth street, visitors
August 21, 1908
THIS 4-YEAR-OLD BOY
READS PAPERS AND BOOKS.
Roland Rexroth Is Self-Taught -- At
2 Years Old He Was Not Even
Able to Speak a Word.
Picture and Signature of 4-Year-Old Boy
Who Reads with Remarkable
Almost phenomenal in his brightness is little 4-year-old Roland Rexroth, of 613 Troup avenue, Kansas City, Kas. Despite his years Roland is able to read as well as the average grown person. Newspapers are his particular hobby and he takes delight in reading them to his parents every morning and evening. What is more, he can understand what he reads and often entertains his neighbors and grown friends with discussions of matters which are of current interest.
The fact that he was unable to speak one word until two years ago makes his strange ability to read more remarkable.
About eight months ago, Roland, who had seen a bunch of A, B, C blocks, went to one of his friends, John H. Finlay, and asked him for a set of blocks. Having taken taken an interest in the child since his birth, Mr. Finlay immediately procured the blocks. That was on Tuesday. The following Sunday Mr. Finlay visited the child and found that he had mastered the mysteries of the A, B, C. Without being urged to do so, Roland asked for a primer. Within one week he could read every word contained in the book. Since that time he has rapidly advanced in his ability to read and now is able to read any kind of fiction, even newspapers, understandingly.
Roland is at his best when lying flat upon the floor. For hours he will lie in that position and read.
Wholly unaided, the child learned to write. His writing is nothing more than printing, following out the lines of the letters with which he so readily became familiar, but it is clearly legible. Roland prefers writing on a typewriter, and while he has not much speed developed in that line, his work is without error so far as spelling and punctuation are concerned. How the child learned to punctuate can not be explained.
Roland's parents are poor; too poor to secure books for him to read, and the child longs for books. His neighbors kindly furnish him with newspapers and a few books, but Mr. Finlay has helped the child forward more than anyone else. William Rexroth, the boy's father, is a mechanic. Neither he nor his wife has had more than a grammar school education, and they speak with a German accent.
While Roland shows such remarkable ability to read, he knows nothing about mathematics. It seems strange that the child is able to form letters into words and words into sentences and at the same time be unable to add figures into totals.
A particularly attractive looking child is Roland. He has dark blue eyes, shaded by extremely heavy brows. His face shows much intellect and no mean amount of will power. His features are all clear cut and attractive, but standing out from the rest of his features are his eyes and heavy brows.
Labels: books, children, Kansas City Kas, newspapers
August 14, 1908
POISON ENDS LIFE
OF GIRL OF TWELVE.
FRIEND OF ANNA MAY WIL-
LIAMS A SUICIDE.
"ANNA WAS PERSECUTED," SAID
Then She Went to a Drug Store and
Purchased 10 Cents Worth of
Carbolic Acid as the Wil-
liams Girl Had Done.
Did the fact that Anna May Williams committed suicide prey upon the mind of 12-year-old Vivian Burden until she yesterday took her own young life by the same method -- carbolic acid? No other reason but mental suggestion has been ascribed as a cause for the girl's death by her family and the coroner.
Little Vivian had gone to the Woodland school with Anna May Williams, the 15-year-old girl who killed herself Tuesday afternoon at her home, 816 Euclid avenue. A discussion of the number of suicides, especially with carbolic acid, took place at the breakfast table in the Burden home yesterday. The death of Ana May Williams, Vivian's acquaintance, was, of course, discussed more than the rest.
"The girl was persecuted," she said "That's the way with step-papas, anyhow."
The child seemed much wrought up over the matter, but as she cooled down afterwards, little was tought of it.
NO TROUBLE TO GET ACID.
Yesterday afternoon Vivian left her house at 800 Lydia avenue, and went to the drug store of E. D. Francisco, Eighth street and Tracy avenue.
"I want 10 cents worth of carbolic acid," she said. "My mamma wants it to make roach poison."
The child, for she was nothing more, sallied when she said this, and seemed restless, as children do, to get away. "Before she left, however, she bought an ice cream soda and ate it at the counter. With the deadly poison clenched in her childish hands she went to the Bazaar, a store at the corner of Independence and Tracy avenues. There she took some time in selecting a pretty doll for her 5-year-old sister, Helen.
All of this took up about an hour, so that Vivian arrived back home about 3 p. m. Calling her little sister she gave her the doll, for which she had paid 35 cents and seemed delighted in the little one's pleasure when the doll was placed in her hands and she was told it was all hers.
No one suspected there was anything wrong with Vivian when she went upstairs to her room. Louise, 17, and Myrtle, 19 years old sisters of Vivian, were busy in the kitchen when Vivian ran in and said: "Call a doctor quick; I've taken some of mamma's roach poison." The sisters at first thought she was joking, but when they saw the condition of her lips and smelled the deadly carbolic acid they were thrown into consternation.
DOCTOR'S EFFORTS WERE IN VAIN.
Dr. Oliver F. Faires, who has an office over Francisco's drug store, was then summoned, and though he worked over the child until 5 o'clock, she died, having been long unconscious before the end came. Coroner George B. Thompson was summoned and sent the body to Newcomer's undertaking rooms.
Vivian Burden was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Burden. The father, a butcher, was not at home, being employed in Bartlesville, Ok. He was notified of his child's rash act and left for home last night.
"What cause can you assign for your daughter, Vivian, taking carbolic acid?" was asked of Mrs. Burden last night.
"I cannot believe the girl committed suicide because of any trouble either at home or with her playmates," the mother replied. "She was of a very happy and bright disposition and was never moody." Vivian regularly scanned the newspapers each day and was particularly interested in stories about suicides. The sad girl named Anna May Williams may have inspired her," the mother said, "as she constantly talked about the girl and the poor girl's sad life."
Labels: butchers, children, Coroner Thompson, doctors, druggists, Eighth street, Independence avenue, newspapers, retailers, Suicide, Tracy avenue
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