Father's Statement on the Death of Bert Kimler (d.1898)
From the papers of Mary Omahundro Hutt Walker
THE CASE OF BERT KIMLER
His Father Makes a Statement for the Benefit of the Public and Inquiring Friends
To the inquiring Public: As our dear son has been taken from us in a mysterious way, I will ----few words for the benefit -------shock to our household when we received the sad news of our son BERT'S death. It came as a thunderbolt to the entire community. As my feelings will scarcely allow me to write, I will make a few brief statements in regard to his leaving home.
Our son, BERT, entered school at Valparaiso, Ind., Oct. 1,1898, with the intention of staying the remainder of the year ending in June '99. A few days after arriving he was taken with a violent chill, and the second day after he had another, which somewhat discouraged him, and he returned home on the 11th day of October. He came on the morning train stopping at Briscoe. On reaching home he was somewhat fatigued, having traveled all night on the train from Chicago. He ate his breakfast and felt better. On the 12th had another chill in light form. We gave medicine to break them and that was the last chill he had. Of course he felt a little weak from the chills for a few days, but rapidly gained strength again, and began working on the farm. Soon his strength was fully restored.
I questioned him in regard to the school, and he said he thought it was a good school from the number of scholars there in attendance, and stated that he liked the school very well, but did not like the climate, as the air was too harsh to be pleasant. He also stated that he did not think he would go there to attend school any more. I did not oppose his coming home, as he thought it was best for his health. Time passed on and not much was said about school, as he was busily engaged in his work. Of course he spoke to the family often about school, as he was quite anxious to attend school this winter. On the 10th of November he spoke to me about going to school. I asked him where he was thinking of going and he said that he thought that he would go to Chillicothe. I said nothing to the contrary, and Saturday morning, Nov.12, he said that he believed he would start that morning.
He packed his trunk and made all preparations for leaving; he asked me if I had any money at hand and I inquired how much he wanted. He sad that he thought $45 would do for the present. I gave him $11 more than he asked, making $56, and he bade us good-by and left for Briscoe with his brother, Gene. That was the last time I saw or heard of him until the message come that he was dead at Valparaiso, Ind. At Briscoe he tried to buy his ticket through to Chillicothe, but the agent could sell him one only to Hannibal. Now, why he changed his mind when reaching Hannibal I have only one reason: When he was at Valparaiso in October, he paid his tuition which was $10, and it was not refunded. This is the only thing that would have persuaded him to have gone there, unless some shar---met him at Hannibal-----------interment, Eld.-- G. Merrill and myself made a trip to Valparasio to get the particulars in the case.
We arrived on the morning of the 19th, at 9:30 a.m. We reached the coroner's office unexpectly, as the excitement had somewhat cooled down, if there was such in a case of the kind. There we met F.G.Ketchum, M.D., coroner of Porter County, Ind., and we found him to be quite a nice gentleman. We made known our business, and he explained matters as best he could; stated that the body of my son was found on the morning of Nov. 14th, between 7 and 8 o'clock, by two parties that lived on the road near where the body was found. He said that when he arrived he found the body of a young man, his head lying toward the south and feet toward the center of the road in perfectly straight position, hands down by his side. His overcoat was taken off, and he was covered nicely, the coat being tucked up under his chin, not giving very good evidence of suicide by said position. I asked the coroner if he could take the witness stand and swear that it was a case of suicide. He said he could not, so you see it was only a supposition. Also three boxes of "rough on rats" were found in his overcoat pocket. It don't seem reasonable that in committing such an act as that one would be so precise as to place those boxes in the pockets of his coat. The amount of money found on his person was $2.43. There shoud have been as much as $45 on his person, if it had not been a case of murder.
Sandbagged and robbed is all that I can make out of this sad occurrence. It has been ignored that this sad affair was brought on by a girl being implicated. I can contradict that by saying that it is untrue; he was too well bred and noble in his manner to let such a thing as that drive him to such an act. He was paying no attention to any girl whatever, and if those young persons who speak so freely and much could see themselves as others see them they would be horrfied at their appearance when they attend the funeral. Hoping this will be sufficient to satisfy all inquiring friends in regard to this sad affair, and when this is read by the readers of the FREE PRESS each can understand for himself and it was a clear case of murder and robbery. CLAUDE KIMLER
[Transcriber's Notes: I could find no census record for Claude nor Bert. I live at what
used to be rural Briscoe ad since what used to be Mackville and Davis were in fairly close
proximity, I believe there is a good possiblity that the Kimlers are buried in Sulphur
Lick Cemetery on Hwy H. rural Troy. I should have a wedding annoucement for Claude and
wife to send in to the site. I have a Claude Kimler's wife (may not be the same one)
listed in the Sulphur Lick Cem, Vol 6 "Gone But Not Forgotten " page 112:
KIMLER Mollie May 12, 1897 Mar. 8, 1914
Alice Nov. 12, 1861 Apr. 14, 1913 (wife of Claude Kimler)]
File submitted to HERITAGE PAGES of LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI by June Groshong, 30 November, 2003.
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