A Fine Metz He’s In

May 19, 1907
Los Angeles

John B. Metz seems like just another suicide–the 44-year-old Deputy County Assessor was a well-dressed, well-trusted official-about-town who would often brood about how he would never marry because some girl had once jilted him. So when his body was found by the landlady at 514 South Wall Street, hanging out of bed with foam on his lips, self-administered poison was thought to be the death-dealing culprit.

Or could the positioning of his corpse be signs of a struggle? And what of the various recent sums of money, now missing, not properly turned into the Assessor’s office? Yesterday, before his after-work bout of heavy drinking (including, perhaps, a carbolic of some sort) Metz failed to turn in $120 ($2,637 USD 2006) which remains missing to-day.

Metz was removed to Bresee Brothers Undertaking at 855 South Figueroa; they will perform an autopsy as to aid the inquest.

One Less Sailor in Pedro

May 6, 1907
San Pedro

The British bark Falls of Gary arrived in San Pedro tonight, 144 days from Antwerp, journeying around the Horn to bring a load of cement to Los Angeles. An uneventful journey, except that they arrived one man short. James Milligan, cook and steward, had been drinking heavily before the vessel set off. At one day out he was put to bed by shipmates and when sought again, had vanished. The disappearance is being considered a suicide.

Not a shocking story in and of itself–but one must wonder: cement? Had Los Angeles not evolved to the point of discovering the wonders of water mixed with gypsum? Granted, I love Hassids and Quentin Metsys and Belgian chocolate, but what makes Flemish cement so precious that it must be imported here on three-masted vessels flying the flag of Edward VII?

Edward M. Robbins — Man of Mystery, Suicide of Curiosity

Los Angeles
April 30, 1907
Sixtysomething Edward M. Robbins was a Civil War vet and long-time resident of his little house at 2728 Council Street.  No one ever entered the threshold of his hermit home; he never spoke to his neighbors nor made sign of recognition when he passed them on the street.  He was a quiet and at all times inoffensive man, save for those occasional spells when he would go on a colossal drunk. Then he would be seen through the uncurtained windows strumming an old guitar for a time, until he broke into mad fits of rage, pacing and singing at the top of his voice.
Given his hermit-like ways, it was no wonder that Robbins’s ten-day disappearance went unnoticed.  But then passersby observed the multitude of flies on the windows…
Police broke in to find Robbins on a bed he’d covered in wrapping paper. Bowie knife, razor and pair of scissors were all nearby, all besmeared with blood, as Robbins had used them all on his wrists and ankles.  But what led to his self-destruction was a “queerly fashioned double barreled pistol of ancient make” that Robbins still gripped tight in his decomposing hand, one barrel having been discharged to form a gaping hole in his neck.
Perhaps Robbins suffered from the mania associated with the  “flashing back” of memory common to veterans of the War of Northern Agression.

Woman Doctor here Near Death

April 24, 1907
Los Angeles
Doctor Mary Green had a thriving practice once, for which she rented an office at 624 Fifth Street; she lives in a comfortable suite of rooms in the Hotel Avalon, also on Fifth.  And yet the Good Doctor, who has practiced in Chicago, Cincinnati, and San Francisco before landing in Los Angeles, is said to be unable to show any certificate showing she is a graduated physician.  It is said as well that she is addicted to morphine.
Last night, according to the proprietor of the Avalon, a man (claiming to be her husband) visited; a short time later, Doctor Mary Green lay dying.  At Receiving Hospital she was indeed found to be a heavy user of the needle.  And, as letters from a Doctor Anderson pointed out (penned after a recent trip of Green”™s to Emergency General), she seemed likely to take her life.  While that life was saved at Receiving, it remains to be seen whether Doctor Mary Green will make it through much more life-time.

Dramatic Disclosures Come After Girl Cashier’s Death

April 20, 1907
Los Angeles 

Pity Miss Alice Chevallier, native of this city, who took too powerful a sleeping potion a few evenings past, and now lays rotting in her grave in New Calvary. She follows her mother and her brother, but unlike them, her death brings with it unwelcome notoriety.

Alice was a longtime cashier at the Ville de Paris dry goods emporium on Broadway, between 2nd and 3rd Streets. At some stage in her career, she developed a system by which she could bring home with her a portion of the day’s receipts. In recent months, it is believed this was as much as $300 a day. A clever girl, she invested her takings in real estate, and built a handsome portfolio.

But her ingrained nervousness and peculiar disposition–she did not care for men, and perhaps not coincidentally suffered ovarian tumors, neuralgia and insomnia–proved the thief’s undoing. She found it necessary to escape to Catalina to rest following an operation, although she must have realized that her absense from the place of her crimes would make discovery likely. And that is precisely what happened.

Alice returned to her home at 226 West Jefferson, distraught from a sustained bout of sleeplessness and the anxiety of meeting the Ville de Paris’ lawyers. Although her real estate holdings were now sufficiently valuable to cover any restitution required and more, she languished in a state of abject horror.

On Sunday evening, Alice told her sister-in-law that she intended to take a sleeping powder, but in fact she took laudanum and chloroform, two drugs with which she had significant past experience. This time, the dose was too much for her weakened system, and the girl lingered until Wednesday before expiring. Her doctors stress that although it might look like a suicide, the true cause was congestion of the brain–the same organic disorder that lead her to steal in the first place.