Sunday, October 7, 2012

1912 Democratic Leader in PA Chose Death over Poverty

The Washington Herald
Washington DC
October 7, 1912

Democratic Leader in Pennsylvania
Faces Death Rather 
Than Poverty
Philadelphia.  Oct 6--Thomas J. Ryan, Democratic leader of Pennsylvania, member of the Donnelly-Ryan-Guffey triumvirate that for so long controlled the organization of that party in this State, ended his life late this afternoon in his office in the Land Title and Trust Building by shooting himself with a revolver.  The examination of the pistol shows that the first cartridge did not explode and the second ball was the one that lodged in his brain.

Ryan was hopelessly involved financially, and from a man of great wealth it is understood that he had, through unfortunate investments, become practically penniless.  He was interested in Dreamland at Coney Island, N.Y., and lost a large fortune when the amusement park burned down two years ago. This season he built another amusement resort on the site of the Old Point Breeze race track here, but it has not been a success, and there was a meeting scheduled for his office to-morrow, where his creditors were to gather and devise plans for a trusteeship.

Several years ago, after he had amassed a snug fortune, Ryan began to invest in local traction securities.  He was intimate with the Wideners, and the late George D. Widener gave him the concessions at all of the parks on the lines of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company.  In many of his ventures he was aided financially by the Wideners and James J. Guffey.

**Interesting side note.  George Dunton Widener and his son Harry were passengers and victims on the Titanic.  They both perished at sea April 15, 1912.

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