He Tried To Die By Gas
February 2, 1892


Stephen J. Thompson Loses at Horse-racing and Tires of Life—His Mother Goes to New York, Where the Deed Was Done.

Special Dispatch to The North American.
NEW YORK, Feb. 2.—At the Putnam House, Fourth avenue and Twenty-third street, last evening, a well-dressed young man registered as "J. Davis." At 10 o'clock this morning he was called according to his order. He didn't answer to the knocks at his door and it was broken open. The room was full of gas, and two burners were found turned on. The young man was lying in the bed unconscious. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where the physicians said he would recover. In the room were found two letters. One, dated February 1, 1892, was directed to Mrs. J. M. Thompson, 232 south Twenty-second street, Philadelphia. It reads: —

"MY DEAR MA — I can't account for your not answering my letter. I am in an awful condition—walking the streets without a penny, with no overcoat and no place to sleep; and then my own mother will not help me. Well, I don't think you will see me alive again if I can get something to put an end to all my trouble, for I am sick and tired of all this. If you care to keep me from doing this send me $10 or $15 by mail as soon as you get this, so I can get a room someplace for a week. If not I shall most surely carry out my plan. Then you will have no other person but yourself to blame. At this moment I am wild."

The letter was unsigned. The envelope on the other letter was addressed to Miss A. C. O'Donnell, No. 85 Lexington avenue. On it was also written "My Sister" and "A Beauty." It read: "I am walking through the streets with no place to lay my head, so for God's sake do as I say. Send me enough money to get a bed with for the night. If possible send an answer soon."

This letter was also unsigned. Mrs. O'Donnell when seen was greatly agitated, and though she denied that the young man was her brother seemed much concerned about him. It has been learned that the would-be suicide is Stephen J. Thompson, that his parents live in Philadelphia, are wealthy, and that he has an income of $3000 a year. Betting on horse races is said to have been the cause of his down-fall.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair
(The 1892 Morbid Scrapbook)

Dreadful Sentiments...