January 29, 1910
POISON IN THE
ARRESTS ARE NOT EXPECTED
UNTIL LAWYER RETURNS
Attorneys Hurriedly Called
Together on Receipt
That poison in a large enough quantity to produce death has been found in the stomachs of Colonel Thomas H. Swope, Kansas City's millionaire benefactor, and Chrisman Swope, his nephew, is known almost to be a certainty. The Chicago chemists telegraphed the result of their analysis yesterday afternoon to John G. Paxton, a Swope attorney.
Mr. Paxton will leave today for Chicago. He will return immediately with the official report of the two chemists and the internal organs of the Swopes, to be sustained in evidence at the coroner's inquest early next week.
An arrest is expected to be made Friday or Saturday of next week.
Mr. Paxton received the telegram from the Chicago specialists at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. when in that city he arranged with Drs. W. S. Haines and Ludwig Hektoen that they should wire him the results of the post mortem examination as soon as completed. From Chicago it is learned that a message of one word was to convey the information that poison in quantities large enough to produce death had been found, and that he, Mr. Paxton, was to go to Chicago immediately.
CHEMISTS' WORK FINISHED.
Though the attorneys here refuse to divulge the information contained in this message, it is known that the work of the chemists has been completed, and that the men here who are pushing the prosecution are satisfied with the results. Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling said last night that he expected the official report of the chemists, and all other evidence in the case, in his hands within forty-eight hours -- or Monday at the latest. The coroner's inquest will probably be held Tuesday. Two or three days after this, if the evidence is found satisfactory, warrants will be issued.
"I am satisfied with the results," said John H. Atwood, after reading the telegram.
"Ifs the examination of the stomach completed?" was asked.
"Drs. Haines and Hektoen are through with their work," was the reply.
Further than this Mr. Atwood refused to make any statement. Mr. Paxton was non-committal. He would neither affirm nor deny the report that poison had been found.
"Are you going to Chicago?" was asked him.
WILL SLEEP AT HOME.
"I will sleep at my home in Independence tonight," was his answer.
Neither the coroner nor the prosecuting attorney has received one word from the Chicago chemists. A duplicate copy of the report is to be sent to the coroner. The prosecuting attorney was apprised of the receipt of the telegram by Mr. Paxton yesterday afternoon, but concerning the contents of the message, the prosecutor refused to say what it contained.
Labels: attorney, Chicago, Independence, poison, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, telegram
January 28, 1910
THOUGHT LIME DUST POISON.
Woman Believed Enemy Had
Schemed to Kill Her.
Much reading of the Swope mystery stories may have been the reason Mrs. Caroline Goble believed a scheme was on foot to poison her in her home, 1837 East Seventh street.
Mrs. Goble went to the office of Daniel Hawells, assistant city attorney, yesterday, carrying with her seven samples of powder she believed to be some deadly drug, found near her water cooler.
"I am just sure an enemy I know of is trying to kill me like they say Colonel Swope was killed," she declared.
The samples or exhibits were carefully preserved by the attorney and examined by Dr. Walter M. Cross, city chemist. Dr. Cross noticed a lump of "poison" larger than the rest with some paint on it. He tasted it and found lime.
When the anxious Mrs. Goble returned to the city attorney's office to learn the result of the test she was told that the powder was only plaster dust sifted from a small hole in the kalsomine on the ceiling.
Labels: City Chemist Cross, poison, Seventh street, women
January 16, 1910
TRACE OF POISON
FOUND, IT IS SAID.
MYSTERIOUS WHITE POWDER
DISCOVERED IN CHRISMAN
Representatives to Confer
With Chemists Before
According to attorneys representing the Swope estate poison has been found in the stomach of the late Chrisman Swope. It is said this fact was known before the body of Colonel Thomas H. Swope was taken from the vault at Forest Hill cemetery last Tuesday to Independence, where the stomach was removed for the purpose of a chemical evaluation by Chicago specialists. The white powder found has been declared to be either strychnine or some other poison.
"Chrisman Swope's stomach was sent to Dr. Haynes in Chicago nearly two weeks ago," said John H. Atwood, attorney for the Swopes, last night. "An analysis was immediately made. The result was the finding of white powder in a large quantity. This powder was either strychnine or some other deadly poison. The name of the second poison I am unable to tell you. there is no doubt in the minds of the attorneys or of the Chicago specialists that the white powder is poison."
COUNSEL GOING TO CHICAGO.
John G. Paxton and Mr. Atwood, counsel for the Swope heirs, will leave this evening for Chicago. Mr. Paxton will return Tuesday night. Mr. Atwood may remain longer. When Mr. Paxton returns he will probably bring with him the official report of the doctors' investigation.
At a conference yesterday at the Swope home in Independence, participated in by Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling and counsel for the Swopes, the nurses who attended Thomas Swope told their stories.
A dispatch to The Journal from Chicago last night stated that Dr. Walter S. Haynes, the toxicologist, worked all day on the analysis and examination of the stomach of Thomas Swope with a view of tracing the typhoid bacilli which are said to still exist in the stomach and other organs. The work was carried on behind closed doors in the laboratory of the Rush Medical college.
Professor Ludvig Hektoen of the University of Chicago medical faculty has left Chicago for a few days, but when he returns he will work in conjunction with Dr. Haynes.
NO PUBLIC REPORT YET.
"I have not progressed sufficiently to make any statement as to my findings," said Dr. Haynes. "The examination will occupy several days at least. Professor Hektoen will carry on the work of making the exact microscopic tests."
The case is one of the most extraordinary presented for criminal investigation for some years.
Dr. J. V. Bacon in discussing the investigation in Chicago yesterday said that the placing of life in jeopardy by administering the bacilli of typhoid, tuberculosis or another diseases was simple, the only thing necessary being to administer the germs in milk, soup or other foods, wherein it would be impossible to detect by taste.
"The result in administering typhoid germs would simply be to create a case of typhoid," said Dr. Bacon. "The patient might recover or might die, just as in the case contracted in the ordinary way, and the percentage of recoveries is high enough to render such a method of attempted murder very uncertain. Of course in the case of an old man, enfeebled already by years, the risk of death in typhoid is heavy."
INTENDED CHANGING WILL.
It was not until a week ago, when an unofficial report was received from the Chicago specialists that poison had been found in the stomach of Chrisman Swope, that the family realized the extent of this alleged plot. Colonel Swope's body was removed from the vault in Forest Hill cemetery. The autopsy was held Tuesday and the following day the stomach and other vital organs sent to Chicago to be examined.
The investigation branched from this to the presence of typhoid fever among the Swope heirs. Eight members of the family had been taken down with typhoid fever, between December 1 and 18. Physicians were called in. then it was believed that the members of the family had not contracted the disease by natural means.
It is known that the millionaire benefactor was planning several days before his death to give $1,000,000 or more to Kansas City.
"This fund, held as a residue and bequeathed to no one," said John Paxton, attorney for the Swope estate, "contained about $1,000,000. He realized that he had provided for all his relatives handsomely, and this reside he had, I think, made up his mind to give to the public of Kansas City or for some charity. He died before he could change his will, and this residue of over $1,000,000 consequently was divided among the heirs."
Labels: attorney, Chicago, Independence, poison, probate, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, typhoid
January 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
September 5, 1909
DRANK POISON BY MISTAKE.
Mrs. Ruby Johnson, 17, Victim of
Mrs. Ruby Johnson, 17 years old, wife of Joseph Johnson, a boilermaker of 15 North Benton street, Rosedale, Kas., died yesterday morning from carbolic acid poisoning. Mrs. Johnson had been sick for several months and was in the habit of taking her own medicine and drank the acid, thinking it was her medicine.
In a statement made to friends before she died she said that she drank a quantity of the acid before she discovered her mistake. The acid, she said, had been used about the room for antiseptic purposes. Dr. O. M. Longnecker was summoned, but arrived too late to be of any assistance. Funeral arrangements have not been made.
Labels: death, doctors, poison, Rosedale
July 14, 1909
ATE ICE CREAM; MAY DIE.
Andrew Johnson Found in Budd
Park Suffering From Ptomaines.
Writhing with pain from ptomaine poisoning, Andrew Johnson, 45 years old, janitor of the Fountain place apartments at 1448 Independence avenue, was found at midnight last night in front of a park bench in Budd park. At the emergency hospital Johnson told Dr. F. R. Berry, who treateed him, that he had eaten some ice cream at a drug store early in the evening. Soon after he was attacked by acute pains in the stomach. Emergency treatment last night brought no relief, and Dr. Berry thought Johnson would not live until this morning.
Johnson has a wife and child.
Labels: Budd park, doctors, emergency hospital, food, illness, Independence avenue, poison
June 26, 1909
WOULD KILL SELF AT DEPOT.
After Quarreling With Husband,
Woman Tries to Swallow Acid.
Despondent and angry because of domestic troubles, and after several hand-to-hand encounters with her husband in the presence of hundreds of persons, a woman attempted to swallow the contents of a bottle of carbolic acid at the Union depot last night, and only the timely interference of Patrolman John Coughlin prevented her from accomplishing her act.
Attracted by the crowd that had gathered about the couple early in the evening, Coughlin forced his way up to them and ordered the disturbance to cease. For a time they were quiet, but several times again broke out in heated and spirited argument, each time drawing a crowd of curious onlookers.
Finally the woman drew the vial of acid from her handbag, opened it and was about to place it to her lips when the patrolman intercepted it. both the man and woman were taken to No. 2 police station. Neither would give their names, and Captain Ennis, after hearing both sides of the story, on the woman's promise of good behavior, allowed them to leave without being booked.
Labels: domestic violence, poison, police, Suicide, Union depot
May 20, 1909
KNOCKS ACID FROM HAND.
Girl Thwarts Young Man's Appar-
ent Attempt at Self-Destruction.
C. S. Brown raised a bottle of carbolic acid to his lips in the Union depot yesterday afternoon, but before he could swallow any of the drug Miss Hilo Pickerell, of St. Joseph, knocked the bottle from his hand. A depot patrolman took Brown to No. 2 police station, but on the intervention of Thomas McLane, a St. Joseph shoe salesman, and George Pickerell, he was not locked up. Miss Pickerell told the police that twice before she had knocked carbolic acid bottles from Brown's hand. Brown in an engraver and until one month ago lived in St. Joseph. Recently he has been staying at the Monarch hotel, Ninth and Central streets. He had gone to the depot to see the Pickerells on a train for St. Joseph.
Labels: Central street, hotels, mental health, Ninth street, No 2 police station, poison, St.Joseph, Suicide, Union depot
April 28, 1909
DUE TO PTOMAINE POISONING.
Mrs. Gross's Death Caused by Butter-
milk She Drank Last February.
Mrs. Alice M. Gross, 34 years old, a member of the Kansas City Art Club and formerly a teacher in the art department of the Manual Training high school, is dead at the home of her brother, Dr. Franklin E. Murphy, at 1100 Prospect avenue. She was the wife of Herman W. Gross of St. Louis. Death was the result of ptomaine poisoning contracted from drinking buttermilk while visiting in St. Louis last February.
Mrs. Gross had several times visited Europe and received her artistic training there. While studying in Paris some of her paintings attracted attention and were exhibited in the salons of the Louvre and the Champs Demars. She won a scholarship in the Chace School of Art of New York for the best collection of original studies.
Labels: arts, death, food, New York, poison, Prospect avenue, schools, St Louis, women
March 18, 1909
MINISTER ATE CANNED FISH.
Ptomaine Poisoning Resulted, Which
Nearly Ended His Life.
Suffering ptomaine poisoning from eating canned fish, Rev. W. A. LaRue, 811 Lydia avenue, pastor of the Reorganized Central Latter Day Saints' church, was in a serious condition for several hours yesterday. Prompt medical assistance rendered by Dr. Sandez saved the minister's life.
Harvey Sandy, a steogrpher in the customs office in the fderal buiding, also as poisoned by eating the fish, but did not experience serious effects.
Labels: doctors, federal building, food, Lydia avenue, ministers, poison
December 25, 1908
BUSINESS WORRIES DROVE
HOTEL WOMAN TO SUICIDE.
Mrs. Alvina Morrell, of the Mon-
damin, Left a Note Saying,
"I Am So Tired."
Worry because her business was losing money caused Mrs. Alvina Morrell, 38 years old, the owner of the Mondamin hotel at Twelfth and Washington streets, to commit suicide last night by taking bichloride of mercury. Mrs. Morrell came here last August and assumed charge of the hotel, and had been losing money steadily ever since.
A note hastily scribbled on a piece of cardboard, probably after the poison had been swallowed, read as follows:
"Let me sleep. I am so tired. Give all I have to mother. Lillie, by-by, I am sick. ALVINA."
The Lillie referred to is her sister, who lives in St. Louis. A telegram from her was received in the afternoon my Mrs. Morrell, saying that the former could not come to this city for Christmas, but would be here the next day. Mrs. Morrell's mother also lives in St. Louis and is very ill. Mrs. Morrell was a widow.
Deputy Coroner Harry Czarlinsky was summoned and made an examination. The body was removed to O'Donnell's undertaking rooms.
Labels: Dr Czarlinsky, hotels, poison, Suicide, telegram, Twelfth street, undertakers, Washington street
November 20, 1908
CARBOLIC ACID IN THE SOUP.
Warrants Out for Two Former Cooks
in Scarritt Restaurant.
Carbolic acid in the form of disinfectant containg a large portion of the poison was put into a kettle of soup and a lard can in the Scarritt building restaurant some time between Wednesday afternoon and yesterday morning. It was discovered as soon as the force of cooks got to work in the morning, for the odor was so strong that it could not be mistaken. All the food to be served at the restaurant was then inspected before the first customer was served, but no other poison was discovered.
W. S. Waterman and G. J. Teck, proprietors of the place, at once made complaint to the prosecuting attorney, with the result that warrants were issued from the court by Justice James B. Shoemaker for R. A. Bell and Fred Gaddis, who formerly worked at the place. The proprietors said the men, both cooks, were discharged yesterday afternoon. Bell and Gaddis are charged in the warrants under a statute which makes it a penitentiary offense to mix poison with food with the intent to kill human beings. Five years is the maximum sentence which may be inflicted under that statute.
About half a gallon of the disinfectant had been poured into the soup and lard, so the owners of the restaurant reported.
Labels: poison, restaurants, Scarritt building
October 19, 1908
WANTED OLIVE OIL, TOOK ACID.
The Mistake Almost Cost Mrs. Pearl
Corder, Elm Ridge, Her Life.
Mrs. Pearl Corder, 19 years old, the wife of F. W. Corder, a wagon driver for the Elm Ridge Jockey Club, went to the safe in her home yesterday morning to get some olive oil. She took up a bottle which she thought to be the right one, poured out a tablespoonful of the contents and drank it. Then she fell to the floor, writhing with pain. The bottle contained carbolic acid. It had stood on the same shelf with the bottle of olive oil for a year and the decomposition of a cork which had fallen inside made the acid the same color as the oil.
Dr. Mark H. Rhoads, who lives at Sixty-first street and Troost avenue, was called and treated Mrs. Corder. She will recover. The Corders have been married two years and have a child. 11 months old. They live in a cottage inside the Elm Ridge inclosure. Mrs. Corder stated last night that she took the acid accidentally and that she had no cause to be unhappy.
Labels: accident, doctors, Elm Ridge, poison, Sixty-first street, Troost avenue
October 15, 1908
FOUND POISON TABLETS.
Two People Ate Them, and Both of
Them Nearly Died.
Mrs. Ula I. Steffler and H. E. Bailey, who were taken to the Emergency hospital yesterday afternoon and treated by Dr. W. L. Gist for strychnine poisoning, will recover. Both live at 717 May street, where Mrs. Steffler is housekeeping for Bailey.
Mrs. Steffler said she often used morphine for neuralgia and that upon finding a box of tablets on the sidewalk which she supposed were morphine tablets, she took two of them. It turned out that the tablets were strychnine tablets sometimes used by veterinary surgeons in the treatment of animals. Either contained enough of the poison to kill a human being unless heroic treatment was applied at once. Soon after taking the tablets Mrs. Steffler became deathly sick.
Then followed the strange part of the incident. Bailey accompanied Mrs. Steffler to the hospital and seemed anxious to do everything in his power to aid her. After the examination, he returned home saying that he wanted to go back and lock up the house which had been left open during the excitement. Half an hour later Dr. Gist was again called and by this time it was to attend to Bailey.
The man stated that the excitement incident upon the poisoning of Mrs. Steffler had so unnerved him that upon his return and finding a small box, supposed to contain morphine, upon the table, he took one tablet. This tablet also contained strychnine and Bailey became sick at once. He was treated at the hospital and after a short time was out of danger.
Labels: emergency hospital, illness, narcotics, poison, veterinarians
October 13, 1908
FEIGNED SHE WAS DYING TO
MAKE HUSBAND LOVE HER.
Mrs. Irene Harris Said It Was a Joke,
but Emergency Hospital Doc-
tor Couldn't See It.
"Hello, emergency hospital?" was the question asked at 8 o'clock last night of Edward Hicks, clerk at the emergency. "Yes," he answered, "what do you want?"
"A doctor and ambulance," was the reply. The man added that Mrs. Irene Harris, 517 East Fifteenth street, had taken poison.
The ambulance was called and Dr. George Piplin went with it. As he went through the office of the hospital he grabbed a stomach pump and his satchel, containing antidotes for every known poison.
The driver of the ambulance urged his team to their utmost, and pulled up in front of the address given with the steam rising from his horses. Dr. Pipkin hurried inside of the house where he found rs. Harris on the sofa feigning sickness. He applied his remedies and then discovered that it was a practical joke on the part of the woman. At first she claimed to have taken carbolic acid, then another poison, and finally admitted that it was all a hoax. She said she did not think her husband loved her enough and only tried to compel him to.
Dr. Pipkin failed to see the joke and took her back to the hospital with him, where she was kept all night. "After this," Dr. Pipkin said, ""I will make it a rule to send all suicide jokers to the holdover and let them explain the conundrum to Judge Kyle the next day."
Labels: doctors, emergency hospital, Fifteenth street, marriage, poison, Suicide
September 13, 1908
TOOK POTASH AND A CIGARETTE.
But Neither Harmed Harry Jacobs,
Cook, With a Poison Record.
An ambulance call was received at the Walnut street police station last night about 10:30, on a report that a man had tried to commit suicide by poisoning himself. When the ambulance arrived the patient, Harry Jacobs, a cook, living at 1508 Olive street, was found on the front porch smoking a cigarette. He did not deny that he had taken potash, but seemed to have completely recovered.
"You ought to remember me," he said to the surgeon, Dr. Warren T.Thornton, "you pumped a dose of carbolic acid out of me a month ago."
He did not give any reason for the attempt.
Labels: doctors, Olive street, poison, Suicide, tobacco, Walnut street police station
August 31, 1908
IS IT A DRUGGISTS' SCHEME?
Alderman Gilman Believes Carbolic
Acid Ordinance Is a Bid for Profit.
The lower house last night referred to the sanitary and hospital committee the upper house ordinance making a physician's prescription necessary in buying carbolic acid at drug stores.
"It seems to me that ordinance originated in some druggist's profit factory," said Alderman C. J. Gilman, who is a practicing physician, "and I can't see how by compelling people to pay a druggist 600 or 700 per cent profit in the sale of carbolic acid we are going to restrain people from taking the poison for suicidal purposes. We all know carbolic acid is a common commodity found in every house for sanitary purposes. Druggists now sell an ounce of it for 5 cents if the customer has a bottle, but if the druggist furnishes the bottle the cost is 10 cents for the ounce. Make a prescription necessary and a druggist will charge 25 cents an ounce for the commodity, which is essential in every household for sanitary and antiseptic purposes. Physicians do not prescribe carbolic acid in the practice of medicine, and they don't want to be bothered writing a prescription every time one of their patients wants 5 cents worth of carbolic acid."
Alderman Joseph C. Wirthman, a druggist, introduced the ordinance in the upper house two weeks ago.
Labels: druggists, Kansas City council, poison, Suicide
August 26, 1908
RAT POISON KILLED A BABY.
Little Harold Hunt Suffered Six
Days After Eating It.
After six days of unconsciousness from having eaten rat poison, Harold Hunt, 2 years of age, died at the Mercy hospital early yesterday morning. The day after the baby ate the poison it was taken to its home in Prior Creek, Ok., by its mother and received treatment from six physicians. Sunday the child seemed to grow much worse and its parents hurried it back to Kansas City, where it might receive expert medical attention. Mrs. J. J. Erwin, the mother, took the baby to the general hospital, where she was told that the child would receive better attention at the Mercy hospital, that being especially a hospital for children. The mother took the advice, but the child was beyond medical aid.
Mrs. Erwin had been visiting her mother at 216 West Sixteenth street, and it was at that place where Harold ate a biscuit which had been sprinkled with rat poison.
Labels: children, death, Mercy hospital, oklahoma, poison, Sixteenth street, visitors
August 17, 1908
ONE STREET'S SUICIDE MANIA.
Three Women Living on Campbell
Street Take Poison.
Carbolic acid and laudanum were the poisons taken as a means of committing suicide by three women living on Campbell street yesterday afternoon and last night. The first case to call out the ambulance and physician was that of Maggie Adams, a negress, 537 Campbell street, who had taken part of 10 cents' worth of carbolic acid. She had been drinking liquor all afternoon and was not in a dangerous condition when Dr. George E. Pipkin arrived. She was not taken to the hospital. Dr. Pipkin said he found but one reason for the woman taking the acid, which was that she had become tired of walking up the long flight of stairs leading from the street to her home.
Call No. 2 occurred about 7 o'clock and proved to be Mrs. Lena Wheeler of 928 Campbell street, who had taken laudanum. She was also treated by Dr. Pipkin and allowed to remain at her home.
At 8 o'clock the hospital received another poisoning case message and Dr. Julius Frischer responded. It was also on Campbell street at No. 532 and proved to be a negress named Pearl Redding. She was extremely nervous while drinking the acid and her face was seared with it. She was taken to the hospital and treated. During the rest of the night the doctors were prepared to handle any other cases of poisoning that might come in.
Labels: Campbell street, doctors, poison, Suicide, women
August 6, 1908
TOOK POISON WHILE
EATING HIS SUPPER.
Fred Guy Died in Front of
Frequenting regularly the "Saffire" restaurant, 908 Walnut street, where his divorced wife, Frances, was employed as a waitress, Fred Guy, 31 years old, about 9 o'clock last night ended his troubles by drinking nearly two ounces of carbolic acid and dying a few moments later on the sidewalk just outside of the restaurant door, where he had been removed by the proprietor, J. W. McCracken.
Guy entered the restaurant about 8 o'clock last night and was given a seat near the center of the room. He ordered a light meal from Mrs. Belle Smith, a waitress, and then motioned to his wife to come to his table.
When she reached his side she smelled the carbolic acid, which he had evidently drunk before entering the restaurant. She asked him what he had done and he replied by shaking his head, but did not speak. She ran to the front of the restaurant and informed Mr. McCracken that the man had taken poison. The manager said he believed the man was drunk and led him out of the restaurant. On reaching the street Guy dropped a bottle which had contained the acid, and then McCracken summoned the ambulance.
Dr. George H. Pipken of the emergency hospital gave emergency treatment to Guy on the street where he had fallen, but he was beyond relief when the doctor arrived. Mrs. Guy said last night that she had married Fred Guy in Leavenworth, Kas., nearly three years ago, but had obtained a divorce from him about four months ago.
She said that he daily importuned her to return, but that she had refused to listen to his peleading.
Labels: Divorce, doctors, Leavenworth, poison, restaurants, Suicide, Walnut Street
July 30, 1908
TO MAKE CARBOLIC
ACID HARD TO BUY.
DRUGGISTS WANT A LAW REGU-
LATING SALE OF POISON.
Would Sell a Diluted, Harmless
Form to the General Trade, and
the Strong Drug on Pre-
It is going to be harder to commit suicide with carbolic acid in Kansas City in a little while.
The dictum has gone forth from the Kansas City Retail Druggists' Association. Alarmed by the number of deaths from this drug, the association, at a meeting last week, appointed a legislative committee to draft an ordinance for presentation to the council. This measure, which is to be patterned closely after the law in force in Chicago, will to a great extent do away with the drug as a means of self-destruction.
At the present time any child may buy the acid, which really is no acid at all, but a form of alcohol called phenol. Druggists say they dare not refuse to sell the drug for fear of losing much of their trade, as carbolic acid is extensively employed in cleansing. Much as they hate to serve this trade, they find they must do it in order to hold their customers for other lines in the drug trade.
The new ordinance, which is to be presented for introduction in the council as soon as it has been approved by the legislative committee and presented to the Jackson County Medical Association for its indorsement, hedges the sale of the drug about with rigid restrictions. By its terms, the ordinary carbolic acid to be sold over the counters will retain all its qualities as an antiseptic and for cleansing. It will be robbed, however, of its power to destroy human life, and in a very simple way.
DILUTE THE DRUG.
While carbolic acid is a form of alcohol, the best antidote for the poison, curiously enough, is alcohol. So the druggists propose to sell, or rather to compel themselves to sell, a mixture of 1-3 carbolic acid, 1-3 alcohol and 1-3 glycerin. If anybody tries to commit suicide with this mixture, he will have nothing but a bad taste in the mouth and perhaps a little nausea.
The real carbolic acid, under this ordinance, may be sold only on the prescription of a regularly licensed physician. Exceptions are the sale of more than one gallon to one person or the handling of the product in a commercial way by wholesale houses and the like.
All offenses against the ordinance are made, as in the case of Chicago, misdemeanors, punishable by fines of from $10 to $25 or by imprisonment of from thirty days to six months.
To do away with abuses of the prescription, the ordinance makes it unlawful to forge prescriptions or to put on them the wrong date or to misrepresent in any way. These offenses are also made misdemeanors and punishable by the same fine.
THAT'S NOT COMFORTABLE.
"Druggists have decided that they must have some protection in this matter," said D. V. Whitney, president of the druggists' association, who conducts a store at 3722 East Twelfth street. "It is no comfortable feeling to know, if you are a druggist, that you have sold carbolic acid which has resulted in a person's death. But druggists have no way to get out of such sales except by passing a law compelling themselves to do what they already want to.
"Accidents happen easily. For instance, a child may be sent to a store to buy carbolic acid. On the way home it may drop the bottle, and in picking up the fragments sustain severe burns. The modified drug will not burn. It is a case in which the druggists are trying to secure legislation to protect the general public. The stores themselves will make no more profit for the diluted carbolic acid costs for the druggists as much as the strong drug.
"Our ordinance provides that prescriptions must give the name and address of both patient and doctor. These prescriptions must be open at all times to the inspection of the coroner, the police and the city and county authorities."
Labels: Chicago, druggists, organizations, poison, Suicide, Twelfth street
July 19, 1908
MISTAKE MAY COST HIS LIFE.
Samuel Stewart, Jr., May Die From
Drinking Carbolic Acid.
According to physicians attending Samuel Stewart, Jr., exchange teller of the Commercial National bank of Kansas City, Kas, who drank carbolic acid by mistake at his home, 562 Oakland avenue, Friday morning, he is still very low from the effects of the poison and may die. Mrs. Stewart, who snatched the bottle from her husband as he was in the act of tipping it to his lips, spilled a quantity of the acid on her hands and feet. Her burns were not given proper attention at the time because of the excitement in the Stewart household over the accident, and she suffered much from them yesterday.
Samuel Stewart, Jr., is well thought of in the bank He is of a nervous disposition. During the last three or four weeks he has been on the verge of prostration and under a doctor's care almost continuously, it is said. Samuel Stewart, Sr., the father, who heads the Stewart Grocery Company, Seventh street and Minnesota avenue, is confident that his son took the acid through mistake.
Labels: banking, Kansas City Kas, mental health, Minnesota avenue, poison
June 30, 1908
TWO MEN TAKE CARBOLIC ACID.
One Because He's Asked to Pay a
Debt; Other's Reason Unknown.
Roy Kirk, 31 years old, a contracting plasterer, who gave his residence as 407 West Fourteenth street, was taken to the emergency hospital about 5 o'clock last evening to be treated for carbolic acid poisoning. When Dr. J. P. Neal examined Kirk he found that there was more of the acid on his face than inside the mouth. Joseph Blake and Kirk, who had been friends for a long time, had quarreled because Blake had asked Kirk to pay a debt. They entered a saloon at 903 Wyandotte street and drank together. Then Kirk is said to have left suddenly and returned with an ounce of carbolic acid.
"If you don't forgive me for what I've done I'll call it all off and take this," he said.
Then Kirk attempted to drink the acid. Blake struck the bottle from his hand, spilling the acid over Kirk's face.
About 9 o'clock last night an old man was found breathing heavily in a bunk at the Helping Hand Institute, 406 Main street. Dr. J. P. Neal was called from the emergency hospital across the street. Strong antidotes were at once administered and after an hour's hard work the old man was declared out of danger. By his bunk was found a bottle that had contained carbolic acid. On the books of the institution the old man was registered as Jeff Smith but that is not thought to be correct. The man's throat was so badly corroded that last night he was not able to talk.
Labels: doctors, emergency hospital, Fourteenth street, Helping Hand, Main street, poison, saloon, Suicide, Wyandotte street
May 22, 1908
SARAH MORASCH IS
GUILTY OF MURDER.
CONVICTED OF POISONING A
Sent Poisoned Candy by Mail to Ella
Miller, Who Did Not Eat It Be-
cause It Was Bitter -- Her
Sister Was Killed.
Mrs. Sarah Morasch must spend the remainder of her life in the Kansas penitentiary for the murder of her 4-year-old niece, Ruth Miller. The jury which heard the evidence in Mrs. Morasch's second trial reached a verdict of guilty at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The case had been on trial since May 4. There was no verdict in the first trial.
When the verdict was read Mrs. Morasch held her usual composure, and merely laughed.
The case went to the jury at 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, and from the first ballot to the one which settled the fate of Mrs. Morasch the jurors stood eleven to one for conviction. At noon yesterday George E. Horn, foreman of the jury, asked for the testimony of Charles Miller, father of the dead girl. A few minutes later a knock was heard on the door of the jury room. "We have agreed," said Foreman Horn, and the twelve jurors filed in the court room and took their seats.
On the afternoon of February 13, the Miller children were in their home, 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale. A knock was heard on the door and the postman, Henry T. Keener, handed Ella Van Meter, better known as Ella Miller, a package weighing about a pound. It was wrapped in white paper and bore the inscription: "Ella Miller, 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale. A knock was heard on the door and the postman, Henry T. Keener, handed Ella Van Meter, better known as Ella Miller, a package weighing about a pound. It was wrapped in white paper and bore the inscription: "Ella Miller, 634 Cheyenne avenue, corner of Cheyenne & Packard avenues. From the S. & S. girls."
The box was opened, and found to contain a pound of chocolate candy, which she says tasted bitter, and gave some to the other children who gathered around her.
A few minutes later Ruth, who had eaten more of the candy than the rest, was seized with cramps while playing in the back yard, and was taken into the house. She died before the nearest physician, Dr. Zacharia Nason, who lived a block distant, could be summoned. He pronounced the death as due to strychnine poisoning.
The fact that Mrs. Sarah Morasch bore a grudge against Ella Miller, who had once laughed at he, and that immediately after the little girl's death, she had gone to Harrisonville, Mo., caused suspicion to be directed to her. She was arrested at the Missouri town.
The testimony of handwriting experts was a strong factor in the conviction.
Labels: Armourdale, children, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, doctors, Harrisonville, murder, poison
May 22, 1908
TOOK MORE THAN A TOOTHFUL.
Schoolboy Disregarded Mother's Di-
rections in Use of Carbolic Acid.
Lloyd Thomas, 11 years old, 2035 East Thirty-fifth street, was told by his mother to put some carbolic acid in the cavity of an aching tooth. That was about 8:30 a. m Tuesday. Lloyd had never used that drug before and knew nothing of its potency.
Lloyd, instead of trying to put a drop into the cavity, turned up the bottle and filled his mouth with the acid. It burned so that he swallowed it. Presently he became unconscious and the family became alarmed. Dr. W. A. Shelton, who lives lose by at 3435 Brooklyn avenue, was summoned and gave the boy a powerful antidote, not before his throat and esophagus had been badly burned by the acid, however. Yesterday the boy was better, but is not yet out of danger. He is the son of Robert Thomas, a real estate man. Lloyd is a school boy.
Labels: Brooklyn avenue, children, doctors, poison, real estate, Thirty-fifth street
April 14, 1908
BURNED CHILDREN WITH ACID.
Boys Rubbed It on Their Faces, Caus-
ing Them Much Pain.
Four boys, living in the neighborhood of Fourteenth and Campbell streets, last night took a bottle of carbolic acid and a medicine syringe and spread terror among the girls and smaller children of that section. An alarm reached No. 4 police station and Patrolman T. M. Scott captured one of the boys, Tony Hanson, 1320 Campbell street. His is 11 years old and his companions were about the same age. The names of the others said to have taken part were Chester Cheney, 910 East Fourteenth street; Harry Wintermute, 912 East Fourteenth street and Chester Northfleet, 914 East Fourteenth street.
The boys claimed they secured the bottle in or behind a barn and that they did not know what it contained. Many children were burned by the acid. While one boy used the medicine syringe the others, it is said, would saturate pieces of rag and rub the necks and faces of children they could catch. Ugly burns and much pain followed. Lieutenant Hammil in charge of No. 4 police station did not want to place boys so young in the holdover, so he merely left their names, addresses and other information for Captain Flahive to act upon as he chooses today. Some of the children who were most burned are Florence David, 1431 Campbell street; Winnie Austin, 914 East Fourteenth street, and Edna Barnes, 1425 Campbell street.
Labels: Campbell street, Captain Flahive, children, Fourteenth street, Lieutenant H. W. Hammil, No 4 police station, poison, violence
March 30, 1908
OUT OF WORK, TOOK POISON.
Jacob Kohn, Sick and Discouraged,
Ends Life With Acid.
A man, believed to be Jacob Kohn, committed suicide in room fourteen at the Plaza hotel, Missouri avenue and Delaware street, Saturday night, and the body was found at 9 o'clock yesterday morning by Sara Ridgeway, the housekeeper. Coroner George B. Thompson says that during his term of office no other Jew has taken his own life in Kansas city and that the crime is almost unknown among men of Jewish belief
Kohn, in a farewell note, directed that the Jewish Society of Kansas City take charge of his remains. The society will bury the body, but it cannot be laid in a Jewish cemetery.
Kohn's farewell note, which he wrote just before drinking carbolic acid, as the pencil left on the table bears witness, reads:
"To whom it may concern -- This is my second attempt at suicide. I
think I shall succeed this time. I am in poor health, am unable to get
work and have no friends and no money. Give my body to the Jewish
Society. -- Jake Kohn."
Mrs. Ridgeway says that Kohn came to the hotel Saturday night late and registered as John Johnson. She had never seen him before. He paid for his room. Shortly before 9 o'clock yesterday morning when a maid was unable to get into the room to tidy it, Mrs. Ridgeway, who was called in, was informed from a man who had spent the night in room 15 adjoining, that he had heard the man in room 14 groaning and rolling around during the night. Upon that statement Mrs. Ridgeway called the police, who forced the door and found the body.
Coroner Thompson was notified and sent the body to Freeman and Marshall's morgue. Not a penny was found in the clothes. There was nothing to identify the man, excepting the signature on the note. In the pocket were cards from business houses and factories in many Kansas and Oklahoma towns. Kohn was evidently a laborer and had been in these towns looking for employment.
Labels: Coroner Thompson, hotels, Jews, laborer, oklahoma, poison, race, Suicide, undertakers
March 27, 1908
NEW KIND OF EXPERT
IN MORASCH TRIAL.
IT'S A WOMAN WHO HAS HAD
Called to Bear Witness That Mrs.
Morasch Did Not Give Birth to
Child She Claimed as
Ollie Jones, the mysterious witness for the state in the prosecution of Mrs. Morasch, accused of poisoning Ruth Miller, did not testify yesterday and, according to County Attorney Taggart, will not today. Court is adjourned until 9:30 o'clock Monday morning. The prosecutor says there is a world of minor testimony to be heard before Jones can be called to the stand. Jones was subpoenaed in Indianapolis, Ind, Monday.
Professor Beshong of the chemical department of the Kansas university finished his testimony at 11 o'clock yesterday morning and was dismissed. In cross-examination, Professor Bushong could not be certain that the symptoms of a certain kind of ptomaine do not resemble the effects of a dose of strychnine. He held, however, that ptomaine cannot exist in ordinary glucose such as used in making the white center portion of a chocolate cone.
The first witness called in the afternoon was Mrs. Laura Brooks, special witness for the state. Mrs. Brooks testified that the child Mrs. Morasch took from the Hughes maternity hospital a month or two before the poisoning, and which she claimed she had given birth to, could not have been her own.
"But, how do you know?" questioned Attorney Maher for the defense.
"The day after she said it was born I examined it and found it to be at least three weeks old."
"Three weeks old? I venture to assert t here is not a woman in the court room who could be sure on that point after a child is three days old. Are you a mother yourself?"
"Oh, yes; I have thirteen children, most of them grown," sighed the witness wearily. She was then dismissed by counsel for the defense without further cross examination.
Dr. Z. Nason of Packard and Osage avenues, Armourdale, was then called. Dr. Nason said he had been the first physician called after the poisoning and had seen Ruth die. He said she died of strychnine poisoning as far as he could judge. Her symptoms did not resemble those of ptomaine poisoning.
Labels: Armourdale, attorney, County Attorney Taggart, courtroom, Death of Ruth Miller, doctors, murder, poison, women
March 27, 1908
WAS SLAPPED BY HER MOTHER.
Lena Vaughn, a 15-Year-Old Girl,
Tries Suicide With Acid.
The specter of suicide in her bedroom, and a door without a knob, almost broke the heart of 9-year-old Edna Vaughn last night. Her sister, Lena, 15 years old, after insolence to her mother and a slapping, had sulked through the evening, supperless, at a neighbor's until Warren Vaughn, the father, a contractor, sent Edna after her He said she must come home for bed. She went with her sister to a little square bedroom, where, in a moment, she said: "I'm going to take something to kill myself, Edna," and tipped a bottle of carbolic acid to her lips. The child was paralyzed with terror for a moment, then shutting her eyes, turned and beat her little hands madly against the door, from which the loose knob and handle had fallen to the outside.
The parents had retired across the hall, and did not hear at once. When they were aroused there was difficulty in opening the door. Lard and vinegar were forced down the girl's throat, while the police ambulance was making a run to the home at 1820 Summit street. Dr. Carl V. Bates, ambulance surgeon, found the girl a stubborn patient and it was only after a continued resistance that the stomach pump was used. When he left, the doctor said the girl would recover She was a laundry employe. When she came from work she resented her mother's refusing to fix a sewing machine for her.
Labels: children, doctors, poison, Suicide, Summit street
March 22, 1908
MRS. MORASCH TELLS
STORY OF HER LIFE
REARED IN THE SQUALID PACK-
ING HOUSE DISTRICT.
Still Wears the Wedding Ring of
Bill Morasch, Her First Hus-
band, Whom She Loved.
Case Goes On.
MRS. SARAH MORASCH, ACCUSED OF MURDERING 4-YEAR-OLD RUTH MILLER.
"I did not send the candy. Who thinks I sent it? Not my associates in the West Bottoms, who have known me for years Not little Ella, the poison was intended for. Ask her; look her in the eyes and see if she doesn't tell you on the square she loves me, and will come back to my house to visit as she used to, when this dreadful trial is over. I am innocent, I tell you; I am innocent."
Mrs. Sarah Miller, better known as "Mrs. Morasch," said this yesterday to a reporter for The Journal. She is the accused woman in the case of the poisoning of little Ruth Miller, the 4-year-old daughter of Charles and Ida Miller, 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale. Ruth sickened and died apparently from strychnine poisoning, ten minutes after eating bonbons from a package anonymously sent by mail to her step-sister, Ella Van Meter, 14 years old, at noon, Wednesday, February 12. The case is now being tried before Judge McCabe Moore, in the district court of Wyandotte county in Kansas City, Kas.
Mrs. Morasch spoke earnestly. At the mention of Ella Van Meter, who testified against her Friday, her deep-set gray eyes softened, and the lines about her mouth thawed visibly. All facial evidence of years of hardship, toil and companionship in the packing house district of both Kansas Cities became temporarily erased. She did not look the woman who could deliberately poison a 14-year-old girl and a family of little ones.
Mrs. Morasch is only 49 years old, but stooped shoulders and gray hair make her appear 60, at least. Two front teeth are gone, and this discrepancy makes sinister a smile which otherwise might be motherly and kind Her voice is a trifle harsh at times.
BEEN HERE ALL HER LIFE.
"Where was I born? In Dayton, O., 49 years ago. I was brought to Wyandotte county, Kas., by my father, Edward Davis, and my mother, Elizabeth Davis, when I was but 3 years old. My father was a veteran of the civil war and a farmer.
"Everyone loved dad. He was such a neighborly soul and so fond of children that he at once won the hearts of everybody who got acquainted with him. I think that if I have really gone to the bad, it cannot be justly laid at his door or my mother's. Good, kind souls, both of them.
"I remember when I was a little girl father took me on his knee and told me to grow up to be a good woman like mother. We were in the kitchen of the old farm house near Quindaro. Mother was knitting a pair of leggins for me by the fire. Father took the family Bible off of a stand near his chair and read some part of it which meant 'be a credit to the old folks that they may live long and die in peace and know in heaven you did the best you could.'
"I think he cried a little then, for I remember he took a big, red handkerchief out of his pocket and after wiping his own eyes, wiped mine as though I had been crying, but I hadn't After that he lectured me on how I should behave when I had grown up.
FORTY YEARS AGO.
"About forty years ago, father moved to what they call the West Bottoms now. It was known as Kansas City, Kas., then and was not a packing house district at all, but a little village of two or three thousand people. He had some money laid up and invested in a home and truck patch in the rear I was to go to school. I believe that was the object my father had in view when he moved into town Mother wanted to move in so as to be near a Presbyterian church, for she was an old Scotch woman.
" 'Come to church with me,' she used to tell me of a Sunday morning, as she tidied me all up ready for the service 'You be a wee bit Scotch and Presbyterian yourself, do you know it lassie?'
"Father seldom went to church or to Sunday school, himself, but believed in it. I think I must have been Sunday schooled to death in my younger days."
Mrs. Morasch laughed harshly at the recollection. She seemed for the moment to have forgotten the dreadful charge hanging its threat of life penal servitude over head.
"Sunday schooled to death," she repeated seriously, returning to the story of her life in the West Bottoms.
MARRIED BILL MORASCH.
"When I became 20 years of age," she went on, "I married Bill Morasch. I was a little wild at that time. Fond of boys and kiting around to parties and dances at my own free will, but Bill was a steady fellow and we settled down to housekeeping. I married again after he died three years ago, but I have never taken his wedding ring off my finger and like best the name he gave me."
Mrs. Morasch, as she prefers to be called, then crowded a thin, wrinkled left hand through the small opening in the door of her cell, through which her victuals are passed to her by the jail matron. On the third finger was an embossed gold band ring, which she turned reminiscently with her thumb.
"Oh, I can stand this murder charge," she assured suddenly, "if it pans out all right in the end. I'll tell you what I'll do. When the trial is all over, and Ella comes back to me, I'll take her up to your office, wherever it is, and let you see for yourself.
"I know what you think. You think she will not, but she will. Ella knows in her heart I did not send the candy, and when she comes back to me she will say, 'Mrs. Morasch, I thought all the time you didn't send it, and I was sorry for you all the time I was testifying against you.' "
The accused woman seemed to think most of the attitude of Ella Van Meter, whose testimony more than that of any other witness, according to the prosecutor, condemns her. Several times during the interview she pronounced the name, always following it with a statement that Ella was her friend and would come back to her after the trial.
Ella testified Friday that she knew no reason why Mrs. Morasch should try to poison her, but insisted she had been to the latter's home only twice and had not been more than ordinarily intimate with her. When Daniel Mahe, attorney for the defense, asked the witness why she did not refer to the defendant as "auntie," Ella had replied sharply:
"She's not my aunt!" and manifested in other ways that the law relationship existing between herself and the prisoner was a matter of repulsion to her.
SAYS SHE'S PREJUDICED.
Mrs. Morasch said yesterday that this attitude was affected and that Ella has been prejudiced against her by older persons.
It was said by her counsel last night that both Ella and her mother, Mrs. Ida Miller, would be recalled for further cross-examination before the conclusion of the trial.
Her lawyers profess to have suffered for the failure of the state in locating Ollie Jones, a 19-year-old half-brother of Charles Miller. Jones is said to have left Kansas City the night following the poisoning, and later it was learned he went from here to Indianapolis, Ind.
When County Attorney Taggart tried to subpoena him there a few days ago he could not be found. What use the state intended to put Jones to and why the attorney for the defense should be disappointed because he could not be found is studiously screened from the public gaze. It was stated by counsel last night that Jones was a close friend of the Millers. County Attorney Taggart, who is bending every resource of a fertile and brilliant mind toward the conviction of the prisoner, practically admitted the same thing in the same mysterious manner less than an hour later.
"We need him badly," said the prosecutor. "There is one important phase of this case he must cover with his testimony If he will not come when subpoenaed, then a bench warrant will bring him."
EXPERT WOMAN WITNESS.
Taggart further said that a woman witness, mother of thirteen children, would be employed by the state as a special witness tomorrow in proving Mrs. Morasch's physical condition prior to the time the baby is represented to have been adopted out of the U. S. G. Hughes maternity home, and that the handwriting experts would probably be called in the afternoon of the same day.
Attorney Maher said last night that a great deal of the defense would lie in showing up Mrs. Morasch's past.
"She is a poor woman in two senses of the word," he said. "Poor from the standpoint of health and means of financing her case. She has been a wanderer in the West Bottoms, without money and almost without friends, for years. Her first husband died three years ago, killed himself with carbolic acid. Her second husband likewise died. Children she has kept and mothered, from the Hughes home, have sickened on her hands. One of them died after it had passed to the care of others in the hire of the county and the revolting suspicion that she had killed it with drugs and slow poison was expressed in her presence. She was warned by Attorney Taggart to leave town. Haggard and worn, dogged by the law and shunned by her intimates because of her misfortunes, Mrs. Morasch hurriedly gathered up her few belongings and fled to Harrisonville, Mo. But the Nemesis followed her even there, strangely coincident with her flight the poisoned bonbons arrived at the Miller home, so she was arrested on the murder charge and brought back to face trial."
Labels: Armourdale, children, Civil War, County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, murder, poison, The Journal, women
March 14, 1908
SET TRIAL IN POISON
CASE FOR WEDNESDAY.
STATE HAS MANY WITNESSES
AGAINST SARAH MORASCH.
Less Than Month Ago Little Ruth
Miller Died From Eating Bonbons
Sent Her Half-Sister in
Next Wednesday is the day set for the trial of Mrs. Sarah Morasch in the Wyandotte district court, where she will be called to answer the charge of murdering Ruth Miller by sending a box of poisoned candy through the mails to her father's household. he child, who was 4 years old, died February 12. She was the daughter of Charles and Malinda Miller of 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale.
Since her arrest in Harrisonville, Mo., on February 20, Mrs. Morasch, in default of bond, has been confined in the Wyandotte county jail. Her stories of her relations with the Miller family told at different times to Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Taggart, Chief of Police Bowden and others, have not agreed one with another, and her description of her flight from Kansas City, Kas., to Harrisonville is vague and not convincing, according to Taggart.
Among the fifty-six witnesses who have been called to testify for the state next Wednesday are: Charles Miller, father of the dead girl; Malinda Miller, the mother; Ella Van Meter, their step-daughter, to whom the poisoned box of bonbons was addressed; Coroner A. J. Davis, Professor of Chemistry Bushong of the Kansas state university, Chief Bowden and Detective Harry Anderson.
The defense is in the hands of Attorney Daniel Maher and will rest chiefly upon statements of relatives of Mrs. Morasch and boon companions, who were with her during her stay in the West Bottoms. In the event of her being proved guilty by the state, she cannot be hanged and will be admissible to bail under the revised criminal statutes of Kansas
Labels: Armourdale, children, County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, detectives, Kansas City Kas, murder, poison, women
March 5, 1908
STRYCHNINE IN HIS LIQUOR.
Someone Poisoned Edward Whalen,
Bricklayer, in a Saloon.
"Send for a priest I am dying," cried Edward Whalen as he fell to the floor in front of the bar in a saloon at Nineteenth street and Troost avenue last night. As Whalen fell, he was seized with violent convulsions and the bartender, with several men who were standing around the bar, hurried to his assistance. Someone telephoned for the police ambulance, and Police Surgeon Carl V. Bates was hastened to the saloon. At the hospital it was found that Whalen had been poisoned by strychnine His body was badly bruised, bearing out the statement which Whalen made later that he had been kicked in the side and stomach.
The man told the doctors at the hospital that he had been drinking with several men in a saloon -- not at Nineteenth and Troost -- and that they got into a fight during which he was severely pummeled. Whalen said that their difficulties were soon adjusted, however, and that they went back into the saloon to have another drink.
Soon he left there and went the saloon at Nineteenth street and Troost avenue, where he ordered a drink of whisky. It was at this juncture, and before the order had been filled, that Whalen was taken violently ill and the doctor summoned.
The doctors at the city hospital think that Whalen was poisoned by the men with whom he had been drinking, but are unable to find any cause for their desire to kill him, unless it was that they harbored the hared feeling caused by the fight. Whalen was unable to give the names of any of his companions at the saloons.
Whalen is a white man, about 40 years old, and said that his home was at Twenty-Third street and Wabash avenue. He is a bricklayer.
Labels: Nineteenth street, poison, saloon, Troost avenue, Twenty-third street, violence, Wabash avenue
March 1, 1908
WOMAN DRINKS CARBOLIC ACID.
Mrs. J. T. Woodford Was in Ill
Health and Despondent.
Mrs. J. T. Woodward, 50 years old, the wife of J. T. Woodford, formerly an elevator man at the city hall, drank a half ounce of carbolic acid at her home, 1121 Harrison street, about 6 o'clock yesterday evening. A call for a physician was sent to the emergency hospital from this address at 10:20 o'clock last night. Dr. R. A. Shiras answered the call and found Mrs. Woodford in a semi-comatose condition from the effect of the acid. She was revived and may recover.
Woodford had not called in a physician before he sent the call to the emergency hospital. He told Dr. Shiras that he had not thought it necessary, knowing that his wife had swallowed only a half an ounce of the liquid. He thought that she would recover without the assistance of a physician, And he would thus escape the notoriety.
Mrs. Woodford is said to have been despondent and in ill health.
Labels: city hall, emergency hospital, Harrison street, health, poison, Suicide
February 21, 1908
MRS. MORASH IS
SHE MAY KNOW SOMETHING OF
FOUND IN HARRISONVILLE.
WHERE SHE HAD WALKED WITH
Ella Miller Says She Wrote Her
Address, as on Candy Box, for
Mrs. Morash Three
The first arrest in the murder case of Ruth Miller, poisoned by eating candy containing strychnine
at the home of her father, Charles Miller, 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale, Wednesday noon, February 12, was made at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon on state warrant by Sheriff Fred J. Hamilton of Cass county at Harrisonville, Mo. It was that of Mrs. Albert Morash, sister-in-law of Charles Miller. Sheriff Hamilton acted under orders of Attorney Joseph Taggart of Wyandotte county, who telephoned him to the effect that Mrs. Morash was wanted in Kansas City, Kas., on a murder charge, Wednesday and again Thursday. One-half hour after the telephone message, Hamilton had her in the county jail of Cass county. Chief Bowden of the Kansas City, Kas., police department and Detective Harry Anderson returned with the accused woman to Kansas City, Kas., early this morning and she was lodged in the city jail.
Sheriff Hamilton said last night over the telephone that the woman and her daughter, Blanche, had arrived in that city last Sunday afternoon, after having walked fifty-eight miles, all the way from Kansas City. They were jaded and their shoes worn through in many places Sunday. They stopped at the home of a farmer a mile outside the city limits that night, but Monday and Tuesday nights stayed at local hotels.
Chief Bowden and Captain U. G. Snyder have expended every resource to find her, on accoun of information it was thought she might be able to give concerning the poisoning. Yesterday morning they arrested Blanche Moran, the daughter, and compelled her to tell where she and her mother had gone after quitting Kansas City. Blanche had returned on a train to the home of her sister, Mrs. May Gillin, 634 Armstrong avenue, Tuesday afternoon.
County Attorney Taggart says he has discovered that the sender of the poisoned candy did not write all of the inscription on the wrapper. He says that Ella Miller, to whom the bonbons were addressed, wrote the words, "Ella Miller, 634 Cheyenne ave. Corner Packard and Cheyenne ave." appearing on the wrapper for Mrs. Morash, three months ago, and writing of the little girl corresonds exactly with the writing on the package. He says Ella has denied writing the rest of the inscription, "From S. S. Girls."
Blanche Morash cried when questioned by Captain U. G. Snyder, captain of police, at headquarters. She said she thought her mother was wanted by police in connection with an ocurrence of a month ago when Mrs. Morash was found guilty of mistreating and neglecting an infant taken from the Hughes maternity home.
Blanche furthermore said she was willing to make a statement regarding the sending of the box of bonbons, but did not say whether or not her statement would be in in the form of a denial of any knowledge concerning them.
Labels: Armourdale, County Attorney Taggart, Death of Ruth Miller, detectives, jail, Kansas City Kas, murder, poison
February 15, 1908
RUTH MILLER'S DEATH.
ANALYSIS OF CANDY DEVELOPS
No Motive for the Attempt on Life
of the Elder Miller Girl
Has Yet Been Dis-
Strychnine was the bitter-tasting foreign substance noticed by the Miller children who survived sampling the box of bonbons mailed to Ella Miller, 14 years old, of 634 Cheyenne avenue, Armourdale, Wednesday. Four year old Ruth Miller, after eating one of the candies, fell dead in the throes of a paralyzing agony. The lives of the other children were saved because of the unsavory taste of the sweets.
The candy was sent to the chemical laboratory of the Kansas state university at Lawrence. Yesterday the analysis had progressed at the university to such period as to make certain the identity of the poison employed. It was strychnine. How much of the drug each piece of candy contained has not been determined, but one-twelfth grain of strychnine crystals, the form employed, is sufficient to cause death.
But who committed the deed, and why?
This question was asked and left unanswered a great number of times in the office of the Kansas City, Kas., chief of police yesterday. Detectives Quinn, McKnight, Walsh and Wilson reported finding nothing, after a diligent inquiry into the private life of the Miller family for a possible reason why the little girl, to who the package was addressed, should be out of the way. Apparently she has always been a dutiful daughter, living in peace and harmony with her step-father and well loved by he playmates and friends at the packing house where she worked.
The theory at first held by the officers that some jealous small boy, a sweetheart of the girl, perhaps, had prepared the package and mailed it to her, was explored when the only two boys with whom the little girl has gone anywhere were brought in by the drag net and proved to be the neighbor boys selected by Mrs. Miller once or twice to walk with Ella to a nickel show in the vicinity.
According to Mille last night about 500 people have called at the home to express sympathy yesterday. Many of them offered financial help in locating the poisoner. Among the visitors were a half-dozen girls who worked in the canning department of the Schwarzschild & Sulzberger plant. They were unanimous in declaring no one in their department had sent the bonbons.
"Why, we all loved little Ella," said Artilla Hack, Miami and Coy streets, Armourdale, one of the visitors. "She was just as good as she could be to all of us, and I know none of the girls had anything against her. If they had someone would have been sure to mention it, since she left there a month ago." Geanette Brymer, Seventh and Coy streets, said practically the same thing.
The other children of the Miller family affected by eating candy from the box sent the oldest daughter are out of danger. D r. Zachary Nason, who lives two blocks from the Miller home, and who atended Ruth Miller while she was dying, says they all showed strong symptoms of strychnine poisoning.
"It must have been this drug that was inserted into the bon-bons," said Dr. Nason, last night. "The theory that it might have been arsenic is, in my opinion, absurd, as arsenic is an acid while strchnine is a salt, and therefore their symptoms should be diameteically opposite. The little girl, when I saw her, was rigid in the arms and across the chest. Occasionally she completely relaxed. Lockjaw preceded death by at least two minutes. All these symptoms are those of strychnine poisoning, and not posible after a dose of arsenic."
Labels: Armourdale, children, Death of Ruth Miller, doctors, Lawrence, murder, poison, universities
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