|Death: ||Sep. 12, 1885|
The sixteen year old daughter of a prominent Jewish family in the town of Farmerville, Louisiana, Ida was the fifth child born to Isaac and Sarah Schuster. It appears the Schuster's had fled Shreveport, Louisiana prior to the yellow fever epidemic there in 1873. The 1870 US Federal Census shows the family enumerated among many families, such as the Andreolas who were almost destroyed by the epidemic. Isaac was an extremely popular citizen of Union Parish, affectionately referred to as "Uncle Isaac."
Daughter Ida's death was a latter century scandal in the Union parish village and the saga was well documented in newspapers in the south and involved many players.
According to newspaper articles, Ida had become romantically involved with a boarder at the Schuster house, a 27 year old pharmacist named S.S. Kirkpatrick. He had relocated in Farmerville from Ouachita parish after being aquitted of the murder of Fred Ludeling, a Monroe judge's son in a Democrat/Republican fueled rage. A few months into his stay at the Schusters, Ida becomes pregnant. Testimony revealed that as Sarah Schuster, Ida's mother, put pressure on S. S. to "do something" to spare Ida's reputation, he reacted by leaving Farmerville. Within 24 hours of his departure, in her fifth month into her pregnancy, Ida dies from strychnine poisoning. At his trial, S. S. slandered Ida as a "girl about town" (eleven years his junior) who had seduced him.
This memorial is meant to honor the life of Ida, but in that the truth must be brought to light. It is strongly indicated from newspaper accounts Ida was much beloved, a smart girl in her studies and very outgoing and popular with her classmates. It appears her family tried to handle her death with as much dignity as they could, the whole area of northeast Louisiana supported them as suspicion settled on the runaway cad, S. S. Kirkpatrick. If he did not supply Ida with the strychnine, then the town seems to have surmised that his unwillingness to stay in Farmerville to support Ida played a part in her death. Not too long after Ida died, her father Isaac passed away. From there, the Schusters split up, some moving far away, a brother wound up being institutionalized up north. None of her other brothers and sisters according to research, seems to have named a child after Ida. No doubt her loss was unfathomly painful. Mother Sarah removed to Monroe, Louisiana where her son, attorney Samuel Shuster and daughter, Carrie Shuster Bracey, lived. Sarah lived to be over 100 years of age and quite the local celebrity for her age and recollections of a time gone by. No mention was ever made in numerous articles in Monroe newspapers of Ida's tragic death whenever she was interviewed. She died in November 1938 and is buried beside son, Samuel in Jewish Cemetery in Monroe, Louisiana.
This link is for the articles and research done by Lora Peppers and T.D. Hudson:
Apparently, Ida's grave is unmarked however, one of the articles explicitly describes her burial in the Jewish section of Farmerville City Cemetery.
Friday, 18 September 1885, page 2
by Farmerville attorney and newspaper correspondent John Edgar Everett
Perhaps a Murder.
Sunday morning last intense excitement was caused at this place by the news that Miss Ida Shuster, a beautiful young Jewess, sixteen years of age, daughter of postmaster Isaac Shuster, had put an end to her own existence by taking strychnine.
Miss Ida was a native of Farmerville and had been reared in our midst. She possessed an active mind and being of a studious nature she was generally foremost in her classes at school. Saturday night she was seemingly in her ordinary cheerful frame of mind, and was engaged in pleasant conversation with the family and a young gentleman visitor until about 10 o'clock, at which hour the family retired. In about an hour afterward the severe convulsions of Ida awakened an elder sister who occupied the bed with her, and who immediately aroused the family.
Dr. W. W. Barnes, the family physician who lived near was
called and he reached the bedside in a few minutes. This convulsion passed off and the young lady was rational for a few seconds but did not seem to realize her dangerous condition. She refused to take the medicines prescribed by the physician, and before further medical aid could be rendered another paroxysm seized her which resulted in her death.
Sunday morning Dr. C. H. Jameson, Coroner, empaneled [sic] a jury of inquest, and "after viewing the body of dec'd, and after hearing the evidence of W. W. Barnes, M. D. and Mrs. Shuster, and the statement of Isaac Shuster" returned the following verdict: That Ida Shuster came to her death on the night of Sept. 12th, produced by taking strychnine, supposed to have been administered herself, procured from sources unknown to the jury.
No reason could be assigned why the young lady should take her own life until the following facts were elicited: About one year ago, S. S. Kirkpatrick, a young man about twenty seven years of age, came to Farmerville and secured employment as druggist, he also secured board in the family of this young lady.
The belief exists that by his assumed gentlemanly conduct, he won the confidence of the family; made vows of love to the young lady, and, by promise of an early matrimonial union, persuaded her to yield to his lecherous desires. On the other hand, it is asserted that no engagement of marriage ever existed between the parties, and that no satisfactory evidence of it has been produced. The truth or fallacy of these reports and assertions may, perhaps, be confirmed by future developments. It is certain, however, that Kirkpatrick left here early Thursday morning, and that the young lady died from the effects of strychnine soon after learning of his departure. This leads to the conclusion that his flight caused her to take the fatal drug to hide her shame and end her blighted life.
The unfortunate young lady was interred in the Jewish cemetery at this place, at 4:30 p. m., Sunday. A large number of citizens attended her funeral, and had it not been for a misunderstanding as to the hour of burial there would have been a more general attendance.
Isaac Schuster (1827 - 1903)
Sarah Sussman Shuster (1838 - 1938)
Samuel Washington Shuster (1857 - 1931)*
Ida Schuster (1869 - 1885)
Note: The name of Schuster for this family has been spelled with the c and without the c. I have used the spelling according to what is on the marker/transcriptions.
GPS (lat/lon): 32.77626, -92.41003
Created by: Scout Finch
Record added: Jul 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39952449