ABRAHAM B. HEDRICH GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Chanute Tribune, Apr. 5, 1901
Buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Chanute, Neosho County, KS.
A. B. Hedrich, a Prominent
Citizen, Found Dead.
CAUSE IS UNKNOWN.
Leaves Home for Office
Buys a Pistol, and Sends
a Bullet Crashing Through
Lying on his back in a pool of blood, with his head resting on a door-sill, chin resting on his breast, and his legs spread apart, with a bulldog revolver between them, was the way A. B. Hedrich, the well known lumber dealer of this city appeared to Will Sweaney and T. H. Belford this morning as they entered the cement room in the Hedrich lumber building shortly after 8 o’clock. Without intimating his intentions to any one and without leaving any word, and, apparently in the quick business-like way Mr. Hedrich had come down town at his usual time, bought a pistol at a store on the way, walked into the rear of his building, where placing the muzzle of the gun back of his right ear he sent the fatal bullet to its last resting place. Nobody heard the shot and the body was not discovered until at least half an hour after the terrible deed was committed.
It is a clear case of suicide. The first thought of many people as soon as they heard of the finding of his body, was that he had been murdered for his money, knowing that he always carried a large amount of it on his person, sometimes as much as several thousand dollars. He had done that, especially since the failure of the Bailey bank several years ago which caused him to lose faith in banks, as he lost quite a sum at that time. But the immediate developments in the case almost conclusively showed that such was not the case, and that he had taken his own life.
The most conclusive proof of this is that the pistol found at his feet was identified by F. L. Jones, who runs the bicycle shop in the Oriental block, at the inquest as one he sold Mr. Hedrich as he came down town this morning. Mr. Hedrich came along about 7 o’clock, and stepping in the shop asked, “Do you keep shooters in here?” Mr. Jones replied that he was out but would have some in a few days, but remembering he had a second-hand .32 calibre bulldog, asked if he would like to see that. Mr. Hedrich replied “Yes,” and asked “Is this what you call a repeater?” He then asked if it worked all right and the price, and then said, “Fill it up; I’ll take it;” and when it was loaded went down the street to his office. Mr. Jones had seen Mr. Hedrich several times, before and says he acted and talked just like he always did.
On reaching the office, Mr. Hedrich walked right thru to the back part. Walter Webb, the office boy who was sweeping out was the only one that saw him. Mr. Belford, the manager of his lumber yard, was at the desk in the office at work and did not see him pass thro. and did not know he was in the building until he went back after some cement with Will Sweaney. The latter was in the lead and seeing the body exclaimed, “What’s the matter with Mr. Hedrich?” Belford hastened forward and they found his body as described above.
County Coroner, Dr. R. A. Light was immediately sent for, but as he was at Shaw, an inquest could not be held until after dinner. The jury after listening to the testimony which is in substance as given above brought in a verdict of “intentional suicide.” The members of the jury were: Chas. Hamilton, foreman; I. T. Light, J. H. Donaldson, Geo. E. Carroll, J. L. Sewell and F. O. French.
The cause of the deed is only a matter of conjecture. He told nobody and left no word. A TRIBUNE reporter called at the residence this morning and interviewed his son, Charley. The news came as a terrible surprise to the family, as none of them had ever imagined such a thing. The only probable explanation they could give was that he had grown despondent because of ill health. Mr. Hedrich was a man with a strong constitution and had not had a serious sick spell for thirty years until February, when he had a severe attack of grip which nearly proved fatal. He also had a chronic stomach trouble which bothered him a great deal. Charley said his father’s health had been quite poor since his grip attack.
“It could not have been financial troubles or family troubles,” Charley said, “as father has all the money he could want, and his relations with the family have never been more pleasant than in the past few years. While his health has been poor he seemed all right yesterday. Last night he stayed home after supper and played a game of cards, then went down town. He got up at his usual time this morning, before the rest of the family was up, ate a light breakfast and went down town. The only possible explanation we can think of is despondency from ill health.
A. B. Hedrich was one of the most familiar figures in the business life of Chanute, having been identified with it for over twenty years. He was a splendid business man, and has been a great money maker, and it is reported that his property amounts to nearly $50,000. He was born Jan. 19, 1839, in Lebanon county, Penn. He was a carpenter by trade. He married in 1861. There were four children from this union, James, Harry, Charley and John. The latter is dead, but the two first live at Quincy, Ill. In 1867 he moved to Hannibal, Mo., where he was foreman of the Dubach planning mills until 1880, when he moved to Chanute. His first wife died in 1870, and he was married again in 1875 to Mary E. Mont, who with the four daughters from this union survive him. The daughters all reside in this city. Two of them are married, Mrs. Fletcher Markle, and Mrs. Frank Burris, and two, Misses Alice and Cecil, are still at home. On coming to Chanute he engaged in the lumber business as a partner of Mr. Dubach and continued in the same until the first of the year, when he dissolved partnership and the last month he has been engaged in starting a lumber yard of his own with Mr. Belford as partner. Mr. Hedrich was a member in good standing in both the Masonic and K. of P. lodges.
His terrible ending came as a great surprise to those who knew him as no one ever thought of him doing such a thing, and the sympathy of the entire community is with the grief stricken family.
The arrangements have not been made for the funeral; if the two sons at Quincy arrive in time it will probably be held Sunday, but if not, it will be held later.
ABRAHAM B. HEDRICH
JAN. 18, 1838
DIED APRIL 5, 1901
LIEUT. Co. K, 209 REGT.
Pa. VOL. INFT.
MARY E, HIS WIFE
AUG. 23, 1858
DIED AUG. 24, 1937