Monday, February 18, 2013

1913 - Suicide ends with Two Funerals

The Washington Times
February 18 1913

Georgetown Resident Drinks
Poison in Front of Casket of 
His Sister-in-Law
Charles Corcoran Said to Have
Had Trouble with His Wife,
Who is Prostrated

While a dozen relatives and friends gathered around the casket in which lay the body of Mrs Beulah German in the parlor of the family home, 1366 Wisconsin Avenue, Georgetown, shortly before noon today, Charles Corcoran, twenty-eight years old, brother-in-law to the dead woman, stepped into the room and ended his life by drinking a quantity of carbolic acid.

As he came into the room with a small tumbler containing a white liquid, he said in a loud voice that he was going to kill himself.  Those in the room looked at the tumbler and supposed it contained gin.

A moment later Corcoran drained the glass and fell to the floor writhing in agony.

Policeman Near.

Policeman D.L. O'Brien happened to be in front of the house at the time  He telephoned to the Seventh precinct police station and Corcoran was taken to the Georgetown University Hospital in a vain effort to save his life.  

A trivial misunderstanding which Corcoran had with his wife this morning is said by relatives to have been responsible for the suicide.  He and his wife had a few words, the police were told, and Corcoran left the house saying he was going to a barber shop.

Returning in about half an hour, he engaged his brother-in-law, Raymond German, in conversation.  He spoke of the quarrel he had had with his wife and then told German he was going to kill himself.  Miss Dorcise German was near by at the time, but neither she nor brother took Corcoran's remark seriously.

"I didn't have the least idea he was going to kill himself," German told Policeman McDermott of the Seventh precinct.  "I had never seen carbolic acid in my life before, and always thought it was black.  When I saw him pour something white from a bottle into a small glass I thought it was gin."

Wife is Prostrated.

Mrs. Corcoran, on the verge of a collapse following her sister's death, was completely prostrated by her husband's tragic end.  She was not in the room at the time he drank the fatal dose.

The Corcoran and German families both make their homes at the Wisconsin avenue address. Corcoran was employed as chauffeur by a market man.  

The police learned that Corcoran told the druggist he wanted the acid for disinfecting and had no trouble in obtaining it.

Funeral to be Delayed.

Funeral services for Mrs. German were to have been held from the house at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, but it was said this afternoon that the time might be changed and both funerals held on Thursday.

Relatives told the police that they believed Mrs. German's death might have temporarily affected the young man's mind.  He and his wife lived together happily.  The police were told and the quarrel this morning was so trivial that no one thought anything about it.



  1. Hello! My father was searching through some family records and came across this intriguing story. He has been having trouble finding newspaper archives, and this was a great find! Thank you so much for posting this, would it be possible to put my father in touch with you? He is a huge family history buff.

  2. I sent you a message through google+