Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Suicide on Fulton Street

"Mother, I've taken something -- goodbye."

"You haven't!" the mother replied.

"Yes -- I've taken poison."

That's what 24-year-old Charles Miller reportedly told his mother when she checked on him the morning of Nov. 19, 1915. He died before medical help could arrive.

The man, who was engaged to be married, took carbolic acid (phenol), according to the coroner. Even though relations with his fiancee were described as "cordial," the man occasionally threatened to kill himself, according to what relatives told the coroner. Family members thought the remarks were made in jest.

In the end, it appears no motive was ever determined in Miller's death.

This all-too-common story -- headlined "Charles Miller Kills Himself" -- shared the Chronicle's front page with the story of the Liberty Bell's late arrival into Houston.

The events unfolded at a house in the 1800 block of Fulton Street. The newspaper article mentions the exact address, and according to Google Maps, it appears a house is still on that property. The exact address isn't listed here because I would rather not call attention to a residence that might still exist.

Still, a front-page article about a suicide inside one's own home isn't something you'd find in most American newspapers today. It wasn't the first time the subject of suicide involving a Houstonian made the newspapers then.



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