|Birth: ||unknown, Canada|
|Death: ||Jan. 12, 1881|
OUT OF LIFE'S HISTORY
INTO DEATH'S MYSTERY.
STARTLING TRAGIC EVENT.
Suicide of Wm H. Albright, U.S. Express Agent.
WITHOUT A NOTE OF WARNING
And Apparently Cheerful and Happy, He Lies Down on the Couch of Death.
LAST SEEN ALIVE AT 2:30 P.M.
And His Body Found Between 9 and 10 Last Evening.
SPECULATION AS TO THE CAUSE.
Was it Financial or Heart Woe -- He Leaves No Clue Behind.
In point of strange and startling contrasts, fate is fearfully dramatic. If any of the hundreds of citizens who encountered the smiling face of William H. Albright, U.S. express agent, on the street yesterday, had been told that beneath the superficial air of content and debonair gladness, lurked in his heart the dread purpose of suicide, the informant would have been considered madly insane. Yesterday evening, however, inexplicable as it may seem, this young man, so widely known and beloved for his fine business and social aptitudes, place the muzzle of a revolver to his temple, and the trouble-tossed spirit of all that was known and respected in "Billy" Albright was wafted to the great unknown.
The suicide of this young and promising man occurred between 3 o'clock and sundown yesterday afternoon.
The circumstances of his sad and tragic death are painful to dwell upon. As much as could be ascertained, amid the doubt of bewilderment last night, is given:
The deceased was last seen by a clerk in Wilke's drug store at the Seven Corners, about 2:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon. About the time named he entered the store and remarked that he was feeling well, he intended to go up stairs and lie down.
Immediately afterwards he left the store and went to his room, situated on the third floor of the building nown as Moore's block, on the southwest corner Third and Fort streets. This was the last time he was seen alive.
Shortly before 9 o'clock last night Mr. Frank Church, route agent of the Unites States Express company, visited the room to the make a social call. He found the door locked and, after due inquiry, it was ascertained that the deceased had not been seen since early in the afternoon. This circumstance aroused his suspicions, which were imparted to Mr. H.M. Crossett, superintendent of the company, at present sojourning in this city.
It was then discovered that he had not been at the office since noon. About 1 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Crossett and the deceased left the office of the United States Express company together. They parted at Bridge Square, Mr. Crossett going to the Metropolitan hotel and Mr. Albright turning up Wabashaw street in the direction of the post office.
Suspecting that perhaps something out of the way had happened. Mr. Crossett at once repaired to the building in company with Mr. Church. They tried the door, which was locked. This was between 9:30 and 10 o'clock. The janitor of the building was called to open the door, when followed the
Save the softened light which fell on the surroundings from a base burner, the room was dark and pervaded by a sacred silence. The first glance at the tidy and tastefully adorned apartment showed nothing unusual. As far as could be seen on entering, all was in order. If any premonitions of dread had crossed the minds of the gentlemen, they were well nigh dissipated. But a pair of heavy damask, falling gracefully from the ceiling, concealed an alcove; beyond these curtains was the bed. Hesitatingly the curtains were drawn aside and the spectacle encountered was one of the most perfect repose. Lying on the bed, in full attire, (his shoes only being removed) with the left hand crossing the breast and clasping a handkerchief, and the right arm reclining naturally at the side; with head turned slightly to the left, was all that remained of William Albright, wrapt in the soft and profound slumber of death.
The position of the body was wonderfully natural. The story of his tragic ending was told in the streak of crimson that discolored the pillow slip, and in the clot of congealed blood that disfigured the right temple. Besides these, was the tell-tale revolver which rested on the bed between his right arm and side.
After recovering from the shock, a messenger was at once sent to police headquarters, and Chief Weber and Capt. Clark hurried to the scene of the tragedy. Chief Weber sent an officer in quest of Coroner Davenport, and that official soon put in an appearance. The wound was examined and the ball found to have entered the temple and penetrated the brain as above described.
The room and clothing of the deceased were examined in hopes of ascertaining some written word in explanation of the motive that actuated the catastrophe, but nothing of the nature was found. From the appearance of the remains death was instantaneous and must have resulted three or four hours before the discovery.
Coroner Davenport then announced that he would hold the inquest at 10 o'clock this morning.
SKETCH OF THE DECEASED.
Of the early history or life of deceased but very little is known. At the time of his death he was agent for the United States express company in this city.
He was a native of Canada, and came to St. Paul about twelve years ago, first running as an express messenger for the United States Express company. From this he was promoted to chief clerkship, and about four years ago he was made the agent for the company in St. Paul.
As near as could be learned, the deceased would have been 40 years old next June. He is supposed to have a sister residing at Cedar Rapids, but has no relatives in this State. The deceased was a member of Champion lodge, Knights of Pythias, this city.
The revolver with which the deed was done is a Smith & Wesson 22 calibre, seven-shooter. When found, six of the chambers were empty, only one shell remaining intact.
Diligent inquiry last night failed to establish a definite motive for the deed.
According to the most reliable information, obtained from an official source, the deed was actuated by financial embarrassment. While not an extravagant man, or one given to dissipation, he was generous to a fault. His position, one of great trust, involved great care and attention.
As before stated he was not given to extravagant expenditures of money. He had a host of friends and acquaintances and it is known that to accommodate parties he had loaned considerable sums of money. That these amounts sometimes exceeded his income is known. It is also a fact that some of those whom he had accommodated in this way had failed to meet their obligations.
In conversation with Mr. Crossett last night, the reporter was informed that as the books had not been examined, it was impossible to state whether or not there was anything wrong with his accounts.
When the deceased and Mr. Crossett parted yesterday, the former stated that in the afternoon he was going to endeavor to collect some money.
It is thought that his efforts in this direction utterly failed, and the rest is known.
Aside from any pecuniary embarrassment there may have been other matters. It is known that for a long time, under the apparent cheerfulness invariably worn by deceased, was an air of unspeakable despondency and sadness. Comparatively recent misfortunes, in a social way, may have contributed to this condition of mind.
Socially, or rather personally, the deceased was universally liked. Quiet in demeanor, he possessed to an eminent degree those winsome qualities of head and heart that made him so universally beloved and respected.
The intelligence of his tragic death will be read with horror in the business and social circles of St. Paul.
The inquest will he held at his late apartment at 10 o'clock this morning.
The Daily Globe; Saint Paul, Minnesota.
January 13, 1881; Page One.
dm wms (#47395868)
STILL A MYSTERY.
Albright's Death -- Speculation as to Its Cause -- The Funeral.
When this issue issue of the GLOBE reaches the eye of the reader it will have been three days since the spirit of William H. Albright fluttered into the Unknown by means of his own instrumentality, and the mystery of his taking off is as much of a mystery as ever. The motives that actuated the act become less tangible indeed with each diurnal appearance of the sun. From whatever standpoint this most peculiar case is viewed the questioner encounters but one thin - silence - a silence so deep and awful that not even the tomb is half so secure in the possession of its secrets.
There is a touching and pathetic mystery about the entire case. It would seem almost incredible that a man so well known should drop out of society, leaving the history of his life a perfect blank to the most intimate of his associates. As to his death, it is probable that the grave will keep well and inviolate the secret. Before committing the dire act, the deceased saw fit to leave no scrap or shred of anything that could impart to a greedy public the troubles that had made life no longer worth the living.
It was thought that in looking over his effects something might be found that would explain the mystery. No such evidence has been forthcoming.
It was stated by the GLOBE the morning after the suicide that William Albright was a man incapable of personal dishonesty. This theory bids fair at present to be fully substantiated. So far his accounts with the United States express company have been found perfectly straight. Last evening Mr. Crossett, superintendent of the company, informed a GLOBE reporter that not the slightest discrepancy had been found.
In connection with the sad affair, yesterday was prolific in information from two brothers of the deceased, one residing at Janesville, Wisconsin, and the other at Castalia, Iowa. Yesterday morning Chief Weber received the following telegram:
JANESVILLE, Wis., Jan. 13. - Chief of Police, St. Paul, Minn. -
I see by the Chicago Times that our brother, Wm. Albright, shot himself; please send particulars.
JOHN V. ALBRIGHT.
In addition to the above, a telegram was received from a brother, at Castalia, Ia., stating that he would leave on the next train for St. Paul. Both brothers are expected in St. Paul this morning.
The remains are laid out in the lodge room of Champion lodge No. 13, Knights of Pythias, over Myers & Finch's jewelry store on West Third street. A meeting of the lodge was held last night, at which it was decided to have the funeral take at 3 o'clock to-morrow afternoon. The Rev. Mr. Kittson will officiate, after which services will be had in accordance with the rites of the order.
The funeral will be under the auspices of Champion Lodge, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, of which he was a member
The Daily Globe; Saint Paul, Minnesota.
January 15, 1881; Page One.
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The Funeral of the Late Wm. H. Albright.
The last sad rites over the remains of the late William H. Albright, whose strange and tragic death by suicide occurred last Wednesday, took place under the most impressive auspices at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
It seldom happens that a more touching or heartfelt tribute is paid to the memory of the dead, than the spontaneous outpouring witnessed yesterday afternoon.
The funeral obsequies took place at the lodge room of Champion Lodge, Knights of Pythias, adjoining Music hall, corner of Third and Wabashaw streets.
The ceremonies were announced to take place at 2 o'clock, but an unavoidable delay made the services fully a half hour later.
Long before 2 o'clock a constant stream of citizens poured into the lodge room, which was not half large enough to accommodate the concourse. The streets below were densely thronged and Bridge Square was black with people, unable to obtain entrance to the hall.
Unfeigned sorrow and regret was visible on every hand. The remains were laid out in the lodge room, which was neatly adorned with emblems of mourning. The body rested in a beautiful cloth casket - appropriately draped. The lid of the casket was open at the head, revealing the face of the dead man, which looked familiar and natural as in life.
The remains were viewed by a large number of friends of the deceased, among whom were many ladies. The casket was guarded by two knights in full dress uniform. Upon the lid of the casket were several floral offerings. An exquisite cross of Calla lilies and tea buds adorned the head of the coffin, which was covered with wreaths, crosses and a superb anchor of inwrought roses.
A silver plate on the lid of the casket bore the following inscription and monogram:
. William H. Albright .
. Aged 35 years. .
. K. P. .
At 2:20 o'clock a quartette composed of Messrs Bucklew, Draper, Wood and Munger sang a beautiful stanza which had a most impressive and touching effect.
The Rev. Henry H. Kittson then read the ninetieth psalm, laying particular stress on the verse, "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to instruction." Prayer was then offered, the words of the minister having a peculiarly striking and awelike effect on the hushed multitude.
The quartette song, "Oh, Where Shall Rest Be Found," after which the Rev. Mr. Kittson made a brief and impressive address.
He spoke of the solemnity of the occasion, and said that the words of the psalm, "Teach Us to Number Our Days," must come home to every heart. What is man, that thou so regardest him; why is man born at all, if only to suffer; to grow up as a flower and be cut down in the evening.
It cannot be that he is here simply as an imagination or as men working, living, striving for the beauty of perfection; man is endowed with this brain and exquisite reason, with these energies, powers, capacities for good and evil; in the struggle comes an occasion like this. These tragedies of life are not without significance; they have a fearful import, and mean something.
On Occasions like this the question comes, "what are we here for?" By the side of this terrible event, we are apt to ask what is man? what is her her for? let us die; life is not worth the living; what are all treasures with which we are endowed? what is intellect, reason, the glow of the heart? Oh No; this surely is not the end. Accept all the treasures God has given us, say "I have received five talents - here are ten." Work and trust and pray, that we may number our days and apply our hearts to wisdom.
The hymn "Not all of Life to Live nor all of Death to Die," was rendered, after which the funeral ritual of the Knights took place. Those who wished were given the opportunity to look upon the face of the dead man.
The remains were then carried down stairs and deposited in the hearse.
There were in attendance the members of Champion Lodege, K.P.; Franklin Lodge, A.O.U.W., and the St. Paul guards.
On reaching the street the procession formed in the following order: Great Union band, Champion Lodge K.P., in full uniform; Franklin Lodge, A.O.U.W.; St. Paul Guards; hearse and pall bearers; wagons, containing officers and employees of the United States and American Express companies, and carriages containing friends.
The pall bearers were as follows:
Champion Lodge -
W.P. Murray, W.D. Rogers, John Vandersluis, S.Lee Davis, Daniel Herzog and George Allen.
Franklin Lodge -
E.H. Stevens, C.G. Irvine, Wm.H. Nobles, Wm. Kennedy, T.S. McManns, and O.G. Pasel.
The line of march was as follows:
Down Third street to Jackson, thence to Seventh street, east on Seventh to Broadway, north on Broadway to Mississippi street, and thence to Oakland cemetery.
The remains were deposited in a vault.
The only immediate friends of the deceased in attendance were Martin Albright, a brother, whose arrival was hitherto been noticed, and a cousin named Mrs. C. Althouse, of Minneapolis.
As before stated, the floral offerings were very beautiful, being contributed by Mrs. J.C. Crippen, Mrs. Charles Marvin, Mrs. Judd and Mrs. Magee.
Mr. Albright will remain in St. Paul until to-morrow for the purpose of having a permanent administrator appointed. He will return in a short time to see the affairs of the deceased fully settled.
The Daily Globe; Saint Paul, Minnesota.
January 17, 1881; Page Four.
dm wms (#47395868)
The funeral of Wm. H. Albright, the Agent of the U.S. Express, who committed suicide in St. Paul, was one of the largest ever witnessed.
Freeborn County Standard; Albert Lea, Minnesota.
January 27, 1881; Page Two.
dm wms (#47395868)
The burial of the remains of the late William Albright took place at Oakland cemetery last Thursday. The arrangements were in charge of a committee of five members of Champion lodge No. 13, Knights of Pythias, and the body was interred in a lot recently purchased by the lodge. The sad duty was attended with solemn rites peculiar to the order of which he was a member. On opening the case enclosing the coffin, several wreaths of flowers were found in an excellent state of preservation.
The Saint Paul Daily Globe; Saint Paul, Minnesota.
May 2, 1881; Page Four.
dm wms (#47395868)
Created by: dm wms
Record added: Jan 13, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103537389