MySource:Jlanoux/Taylor Suicide Stories 1902

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MySource Taylor Suicide Stories 1902
Coverage
Place Des Moines, Polk, Iowa, United States
Year range 1902 - 1902
Surname Taylor
Deroboe
Citation
Taylor Suicide Stories 1902.

Contents

Des Moines Daily Capital Thursday, September 4, 1902

Man, Wife Commit Suicide by Using Gas in Their Room on West Eighth Street
Man and Wife From Ottumwa Commit Suicide
J.B. Taylor and Wife Ann Write a Long Letter Telling of Discouragements and Troubles - Attached a Long Tube to the Gas Pipe in Their Room - Husband Dead, Wife Dying

Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Taylor, aged 50 years, who came here a week ago from Ottumwa, Iowa, and took rooms at 202 Eighth street attempted suicide this morning by turning on the gas and lying down to await death. When found at noon Mr. Taylor was stone dead and his wife was in a critical condition, but may possibly recover. Letters were left explaining that the couple had premeditated suicide, and directions were given for the disposition of the remains and stating the cause of the rash act.

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have lived at Indianapolis, Ind., Cincinnati, O., and Ottumwa, where a daughter resides, and came to Des Moines in search of some sort of employment which would help them keep the wolf from the door.

The fact that something was wrong in the room occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Taylor was ascertained about 1 o'clock when a messenger boy called at their room with a letter. He found the door locked, and although he rapped repeatedly he got no response. Mrs. Elam, the occupant of the house, was then notified and another attempt was made to induce Mr. and Mrs. Taylor to open their door. Again there was no response in spite of repeated knockings, and it was finally decided to notify the police.

Officer A. J. Batin was the first policeman to arrive at the room. He pounded the door vigorously with his baton getting no response forced the lock with his shoulder.

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were found lying on the bed, partially dressed. The man was dead, but the woman was still breathing faintly. Hanging from the gas jet just above the bed was a piece of white rubber hose, which hung down so that the end lay on the bed clothing within a few inches of the faces of the sleepers. The room was full of gas, so that the means by which the couple sought to achieve their act of self destruction was easily apparent.

The man and woman were immediately taken from the bed and carried to another room. Dr. Lind and an assistant were summoned and commenced the work of resuscitation. A brief examination showed that Taylor was already dead. His wife was still breathing and the physicians immediately turned their attention to reviving her.

An examination of the room showed that Mr. and Mrs. Taylor had planned their double suicide with the greatest of care and ingenuity. They had taken pains not only to see that there was sufficient gas to asphyxiate them, but that the fact that a suicide was being committed should be concealed until after the deed was consummated. Every crack and opening in the wall was plugged so that no gas could escape, paper and old rags being used for this purpose.The cracks in the door and the keyhole were also closed, so that there was no possibility of the gas getting into the hallway. This accounts for the fact that there was no odor of escaping gas in the hallway during the morning.

It is supposed that Mr. and Mrs. Taylor made their plans for ending their lives last night. They retired early and little attention was paid to them. This morning they did not appear, but Mrs. Elam concluded that they had overslept and made no effort to awaken them. It was not until 12 o'clock, when the messenger boy found himself unable to enter the room that she became suspicious.

Chief Brackett this afternoon sent telegrams to the relatives of the deceased Taylor, announcing the suicide. Mr.Brackett also called at McDermott's undertaking shop and provided for the care of Taylor's remains. In every particular he carried out the last instructions of the unhappy couple.

A letter was found on a stand in the bed room which had evidently been written by Mr. and Mrs. Taylor prior to the turning on of the gas. It was intended as an explanation for the suicide, and is as follows:

"Despondency caused by a succession of disappointments, failures and poor health the cause. We have decided to bid you all good-bye. We feel that we are no longer able to make our living by hard work, consequently have outlived our usefulness. We are much better off than thousands that are struggling for a scant living and helping to fill the money bags for the misers and corporations and trusts. Poor unfortunates that do the work are not the people that get the money. If such was the case we would have a plenty. As it is, we are penniless. All we ask is a decent burial at once. We have no friends or relatives that have money for that purpose. An inquest is entirely unnecessary. We have no debts, as we have always paid as we went.
J. D. Taylor, Anna Jane Taylor."

Directions for the burial and notification of the relatives were left as follows:

"Please ship trunk and contents to 1517 East Main street, Ottumwa, Ia. Tie up the trunk with a rope, as the bottom is broken. Also notify William H. Taylor, Barnes City, Ia. Tell him to notify Will, Al and Mary. Notify 208 South Nobel street, Indianapolis, Ind. Tell them to notify the folks at Cincinnati, Richmond, and other places. By doing these things you will greatly oblige Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Taylor. Please bury us in the clothing that we have on. We prefer McDermott as undertaker."

Mrs. Taylor's health had been very poor and the couple were unable to secure any sort of employment at which both could work. For a time Mrs. Taylor tried canvassing, with small success, and the husband also tried various kinds of work but made no money. Last night it is surmised that the couple talked the entire matter of their failures over and decided that there was nothing rosy left in this world for them. That the best thing they could do would be to cease to be come a burden to themselves and their friends by committing suicide and passing away into the great unknown world beyond.

This afternoon there was a postal received at the house from Mr. and Mrs. Taylor's son, who resides in Thompson, Iowa. The card and letters which were left by the couple were taken in charge by Chief Fred Brackett,who with his wife, were among the first on the ground after the suicide became known. Mrs. Brackett went into the room with her husband to look upon the unhappy pair, and assisted as much as she was able to alleviate the suffering of the woman. Some delay was experienced in getting a physician. It is probable that the wife will also die this afternoon.

The card received from the son this afternoon reads as follows:

"Thompson, Iowa. Aug. 30.
Dear Father and Mother:
I just received your card yesterday and had sent you a letter to Ottumwa with self-addressed envelope. Hope that you will have a good time and find something that suits you. Keep me posted. I may be down there soon. I quit Bigelow last night and I am going with a threshing machine now for a few days. Good-bye. Answer by return mail.
Your son S. A. T."

[omitted paragraph about a suicide at the same house over a year ago]

Mrs. Taylor was taken this afternoon to the M. E. Hospital where she will be treated. Late reports show that she is improving and it is believed that she will ultimately recover.

**********

Des Moines Daily News 9/4/1902

J. D. Taylor and wife try the gas route
Double crime is just discovered at high noon in room at 202 eight st.
Stranger who have roomed there short time
Husband dead, wife dying
J. D. Taylor was found dead and his wife unconscious in their room, 202 Eighth st. at noon today. They lay in bed, with a rubber tube leading from the gas jet to the bed and the gas turned on, full blast. An odor of gas was discovered in the building by Frank Van Vark, who occupies an adjoining room, and he burst in the door, where he made the horrifying discovery. It is believed the gas was turned on during the night and that the remarkable vitality of the woman kept her alive until the discovery was made. The people appeared to be about 55 or 60 years old. They formerly lived in Ottumwa.
Crime was Premeditated
That the affair was premeditated, there can be no doubt. The cracks around the door had been stuffed with rags so that none escaped. This was the reason that the odor was not noticed sooner. Bother were fully dressed. A postal card came this morning address to the street and number. Dear Father and Mother it began. The writer then said that he hoped they had found a place to stay and that he would probably be up next week. The couple were unknown here and during the time that they have occupied rooms at the home which is a week tomorrow, no one has called upon them so far as is known. The couple left a note lying on the table. Despondency is thought to be the cause and the wife's apparent poor health is given as the reason for her desire to die. The police were notified as soon as the awful truth was discovered. Chief Brackett and his wife were just leaving the police station and they drove at once to the house. The house is conducted by Mrs. Elsted. In the same home a double suicide of an old couple occurred about a year ago.
Believe she will recover
The woman was taken to the Methodist hospital at about half past two this afternoon. She appeared to be regaining consciousness and Dr. ?? stated that she had ??? than even chance of recovery. The letter which they left stated that they have lost their property a second time and that they do not wish to become a burden on their children even though the latter are willing to take care of them. One of the communications found in their possession was addressed to Thomson, IA, from which it is supposed that they had been staying at the home of relatives at that town.

**********

Des Moines Daily News 9/5/1902

Mrs. Taylor will Recover
Woman Who was Partially Asphyxiated is Better Today
Mrs. J. D. Taylor, who attempted to commit suicide along with her husband yesterday, is reported to be doing much better today. There is every expectation that she will recover. She is at the Methodist Hospital. S. A. Taylor, son of the dead man, arrived in the city from Thompson this morning. He has made arrangements to take the remains to Perry for burial. The couple lived at that place long ago. William H. Taylor, of Barnes, Ia., a brother to the dead man, arrive this ?? so did ?? a daughter. Mrs. Taylor who is at the hospital was the second wife of the dead man, and she is therefore S. A. Taylor's stepmother. A private letter was left which was delivered to the son this morning. It relates to the disposition of the property and leaves the mother's trunk to the daughter while the fathers is left to the son.


**********

Des Moines Daily News 9/6/1902

Mrs. Taylor is Improving
Wife of Dead Man is Able to Talk Incoherently
Mrs. J. D. Taylor, the wife of the man who committed suicide Thursday noon is reported as much improved and able to talk, though not connectedly. She will be removed in a few days. Her stepson, S. A. Taylor, and her daughter, Mrs. Bert B. Emery, of Ottumwa, were at her bedside yesterday. They expected to meet the son here and were disappointed when they learned he was at Thompson, which is thought to be another reason for their despair.


**********

Des Moines Daily News 9/7/1902

"Tie Up the Trunk"

"Despondency, caused by a succession of disappointments, failures and poor health, the causes. We have decided to bid you all good-bye. We feel that we are no longer able to make our living by hard work, consequently we have outlived our usefulness. We are much better off than thousands that are struggling for a scant living and helping to fill the money-bags for the misers and corporations and trusts. Poor unfortunates that do the work are not the people that get the money. If such was the case we would have plenty. As it is, we are penniless. All we ask is a decent burial at once. We have no friends or relatives that have money for that purpose. An inquest is entirely unnecessary. We have no debts, as we always paid as we went.
J. D. Taylor
Jane Taylor
Please ship trunk and contents to 1537 E. Main St., Ottumwa.
Tie up the trunk with a rope, as the bottom is broken."

This is the valedictory of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Taylor, written before they turned on the gas in their room in Des Moines last week. Beaten down under the hoof of ill fortune! Crowded into the grave prematurely! Friendless, penniless, aged, helpless! And their case is but one of many. True, they could go to the poor house. Our modern system stops short of starving men and women to death. Society would dole these unfortunates sufficient to keep soul and body together. It is not meant that men and women should actually die of want. Besides, it looks bad. It is a reflection upon society. It requires explanation.
"Tie up the trunk with a rope as the bottom is broken."
They had toiled 55 and 45 years respectively and all they had to show for it was a trunk with a broken bottom. Is that fair, Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, and the rest of you? But you say it is dangerous to talk this way. It leads to socialism and discontent. Very well, let us cover it all up and shovel the unfortunates into the ground without comment. Let us say that it has always been so and will always remain so. Let us say that some are always elected to misfortune. It is the law of the survival of the fittest. But isn't it rather pitiable, Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, and the rest of you - you who are smart enough to get laws on the statute books that give you the advantage and enable you to get so much more than your share?


**********

The Ottumwa Courier, Tuesday, September 9, 1902

Has Daughter Here
Woman Who Attempted Suicide, Mother of Mrs. B. B. Emery.
Hopes for Recovery Entertained
Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Taylor, Couple Who Tried to End Their Lives Yesterday by Leaving Gas Turned on Recently Visited Here - Man is Dead

Mrs. J. D. Taylor, the woman who with her husband attempted suicide yesterday in Des Moines by turning on the gas and lying down to await death, is the mother of Mrs. Bert Emery, who resides at 1537 East Main street. The couple visited in Ottumwa recently for two weeks, leaving last Friday for Des Moines where they took rooms in a boarding house at 202 Eighth Street. At noon yesterday when they were found in their rooms. Mr. Taylor was stone dead and his wife was in a critical condition but is thought she will recover. Letters were left explaining that the couple had premeditated suicide, and directions were given for the disposition of the remains and stating the cause of the rash act. Mrs. Emery left for Des Moines today.

The names of the couple were given last night in the Courier as Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Moore. Two telegrams were received yesterday at the Courier office, one giving the name as Moore and the other as Taylor, but communication with Des Moines substantiated the statement that the former name was correct. Information received today, however, discloses the fact that this was an error and that the true name was Taylor.

Visited in Ottumwa
Mrs. Emery when seen by a Courier reporter this morning, stated that her mother had been married twice and that the man who so sadly ended his life yesterday was her stepfather. She stated that the couple formerly resided at Richmond, Ind., but had moved to Iowa recently with the intention of locating in this state. "They came from Richmond to Ottumwa three weeks ago." said Mrs. Emery, and visited at my home until last Friday when they went to Des Moines to visit Mr. Taylor's son, Al Taylor. They lived in Des Moines before moving to Indiana, and intended to again make their home in that city.: It has developed, however that the son they went to visit was not in Des Moines, but was working with a threshing gang at Thompson. This disappointment, it is thought, was another cause for the fatal act.

Found By Messenger Boy
It is supposed that Mr. and Mrs. Taylor made their plans for ending their lives Wednesday night. They retired early and little attention was paid to them. Yesterday morning they did not appear but the landlady concluded that they had overslept and made no effort to awaken them.

Found By Messenger Boy
The fact that something was wrong in the room occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Taylor was ascertained about 1 o'clock when a messenger boy called at their room with a letter.

He found the door locked, and although he rapped repeatedly he got no response. Mrs. Elam, the occupant of the house, was then notified and another attempt was made to open their door. Again there was no response in spite of repeated knockings, and it was finally decided to notify the police.

An officer was called and arrived soon after. He pounded at the door vigorously with his baton and getting no response forced the lock with his shoulder.

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were found lying on the bed, partially dressed. The man was dead, but the woman was still breathing faintly. Hanging from the gas jet just above the bed was a piece of white rubber hose so that the end lay on the bed clothes just a few inches from the faces of the sleepers.

The room was full of gas so that the means by which the couple sought to achieve their act of self-destruction was easily apparent.

The man and woman were immediately taken from the bed and carried into another room. Physicians were summoned and commenced the work of resuscitation. A brief examination showed that Taylor was already dead. His wife was still breathing and the physicians immediately turned their attention to reviving her.

Cracks and Keyhole Plugged
An examination of the room showed that Mr. and Mrs. Taylor had planned their double suicide with the greatest of care and ingenuity. The had taken pains to see that not only that there was sufficient gas to asphyxiate them, but that the fact that a suicide was being committed should be concealed until after the deed had been consumated.

Every crack and opening in the wall was plugged so that no gas could escape, paper and old rags being used for this purpose.

The cracks in the door and the keyhole were also closed, so that there was no possibility of the gas getting into the hallway. This accounts for the fact that there was no odor of gas in the hallway during the morning.

Relations Notified
The chief of police sent telegrams to the relatives of the deceased Taylor, announcing the suicide. Mr. Brackett also notified McDermott's undertaking shops and provided for the care of Taylor's remains. In every particular he carried out the last instructions of the unhappy couple.

Both Signed the Letter
A letter was found on a stand in the bedroom which had evidently been written by Mr. and Mrs. Taylor prior to turning on the gas. It was intended as an explanation for the suicide, and is as follows:

"Despondency caused by a succession of disappointments, failures and poor health the cause.
"We have decided to bid you all good-bye.
"We feel that we are no longer able to make our living by hard work, consequently have outlived our usefullness. We are much better off than thousands that are struggling for a scant living and helping to fill the money bags for the misers and corporations and trusts. Poor unfortunates that do not work are not the people who get the money. If such was the case we would have plenty. As it is we are penniless. All we ask is a decent burial at once.
"We have no friends or relatives that have money for that purpose.
"An inquest is entirely unnecessary. We have no debts, as we have always paid as we went.
J. D. Taylor, Anna Jane Taylor."

Directions for the burial and notification of the relatives were left as follows:

"Please ship truck and contents to 1537 East Main street, Ottumwa, Ia.
"Tie up the trunk with a rope, as the bottom is broken.
"Also notify William H. Taylor, Barnes City, Iowa. Tell him to notify Will, Al, and Mary. Notify 208 South Nobel street, Indianapolis, Indiana. Tell them to notify the folks at Cincinnati, Richmond and other places. By doing these things you will greatly oblidge Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Taylor.
"Please bury us in the clothing that we have on. We prefer McDermott as undertaker.

Mrs. Taylor's Health Poor.
Mrs. Taylor's health had been very poor and the couple have been unable to procure any sort of employment at which both could work. For a time Mrs. Taylor tried canvassing, with small success and the husband also tried various kinds of work, but made no money. Wednesday night it is surmised the couple talked the entire matter of their failures over and decided that there was nothing rosy left in this world for them. That the best thing they could do would be to cease to become a burden to themselves and their friends by committing suicide by passing away into the great unknown world beyond.

Mrs. Taylor Taken to Hospital
Mrs. Taylor was taken to the M.E. hospital, where she will be treated. Late reports show that she will ultimately recover.

Mrs. Emery left on the Rock Island this afternoon for Des Moines to be at her mother's bedside, and to arrange to bring her back to this city if she should recover.

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