Grayson County TXGenWeb
   West Hill Cemetery
Sherman, Texas

 
Sherman Public Library genealogy files
Wednesday, April 21, 1886

Levi Lancaster
Ends His Life by Suicide Last Night
In room 16, at the New Southern Hotel.
A Man Who Always Seemed Happy

Proceeding at the Inquest - a Swatch of His History
Room 16 at the New Southern was ....night at a quarter past eleven o'clock and Levi Lancaster passed into the mysteries of the other land through the agency of his own hands, the facts of which are about as follows:
Early yesterday morning Levi Lancaster went to Price's butcher shop on North Travis street just south of the Beiler house and calling his step-grandson, R.P. Denton, to one side told him that he expected to leave the city and that his absence might be of a few days duration, or it might be for six months.  He then gave Denton the key of his butcher shop on the corner of Branch and Mulberry streets, telling him at the time that the rent was paid up until the middle of next month.  He told Denton that he had several clothes in wash at a house on the same block and that he would like to have him, Denton, take charge of all the clothes.  He also gave Denton instructions in regard to some tools which belonged to another butcher but upon which he, Lancaster, had a claim.  He also asked Denton to take charge of everything if he never returned.  After he had given this instruction to Denton, he went to the grocery house and saloon of M.B. Francis & Co., and here engaged in a conversation with Mr. Francis during which he paid a bar bill of 50cts.  The old man seemed to be in a jovial mood and remarked
 "You'll Hear Something"that will surprise you before morning."  Mr. Francis in a joking manner asked if he intended getting married, to this Lancaster replied, "I can wait and show you better than I can tell you with my mouth." He then walked out of the saloon and went back to Price's butcher shop, where he met Mr. Price and enquired for Denton, to this Price replied that Denton was not in but that as he would be back in a few minutes, he had better wait for him.  He stated that he did not have time to wait but told Price to tell Bob, meaning Denton, that half a months rent had been paid on the shop, and that if he, Lancaster, never came back, to have Bob take charge of everything in the shop and do what he pleased with them.  With this he left the shop and repaired to the New Southern hotel, where he engaged a room stating that he 
 WANTED To RENT
for a few hours. He went to bed and nothing was thought of his actions until a little after 9 o'clock when, Bob Denton having heard of the strange remarks made in Francis' saloon and seeing Lancaster's hat and coat hanging near the window in the hotel, came around and enquired about him and was told of his application for a bed etc., as stated above he was given the number of the room, and at once went to see about him. He heard groans issuing from the room before he reached it and opening the door walked in to find a small envelope labelled
 MORPHINE, POISON
lying on the little washstand near Lancaster's head.  Lancaster himself was lying on his back breathing slowly and irregularly even and anon a stifled groan issuing from his partly clinched teeth while the purple lips and strong scent of morphine ejected with each breath told the tale of how he had sought a suicide's fate.  Doctors Stinson and Thompson were at once summoned and after an examination found that the use of stomach pumps would be futile, as the deadly drug had been swallowed at least ten hours before, and it would be impossible to extract the deadly influence of the poison, which had long since began to course through his veins.  And thus it was that Levi Lancaster passed away in the fifty sixth year of his life.
 AFTER THE SAD DEATH
which occurred in the presence of physician, hotel attaches, friends and reporter, an examination was made in regard to the envelope which had contained the poison and it was found to have cost 15 cents and that it had been purchased at Lankford & Berry's drug store, no endeavor was made to ferret the matter out last night, leaving all to be investigated at the
 CORONER'S INQUEST TODAY.
Early this morning Coroner Hinkle was notified of the suicide and impannelled a jury, who, after viewing the....where evidence, not differing materially from the above, was introduced including the testimony of Dave Edminston who stated he had seen him on the night of the 19th inst., in an intoxicated condition, going up stairs over a saloon in the city presumably with the intention of gambling.  After having all of the evidence the jury retired for a few minutes and returned
 THE VERDICT
An imquest held at Sherman on the 21st of April, 1886, before C.J. Hinkle, J.P. in and for Grayson county, upon view of the body of Levi Lancaster, and there lying dead, B.E. Clarke and five other good and lawful jurors of said county, who be...
 THE SUICIDE
is a man of perhaps fifty six years of age, and is well known to a very large number of the citizens of Sherman and was always noted for the jovial manners in which he carried on a conversation.  He came to Texas several years ago, and was arrested by Sheriff Douglass and carried back to Kentucky on a charge of murder.  He stood his trial and returned to this city, the jury in the case having found him
 NOT GUILTY
as charged in the indictment, upon which he was arrested by the Sherman officers.  He has been in the butcher business in Sherman, off and on, for the last two years, and about six weeks ago sold a shop to F.M. Asply for a neat little sum, and had fitted up another a few days before he took his life in his own hands and committed suicide.  The only direct intimation that he intended to use the drug with fatal effect was where he asked the young man who sold it to him how much it usually took to
 KILL A PERSON
The clerk had known him for years and being acquainted with his humorouse style of carrying on a coversation never once thought he intended killing himself with it.  It is thought that he allowed his passion for the green cloth to get the best of him night before last, as he had but fifteen cents when he ended his existance last night.  He was buried in the city cemetery this afternoon.
 A STRANGE COINCIDENCE
exists in this case, as only a little over a year ago a stone mason from Waco came to this city and being wearied of life ended it in a similar manner in this same room.  The causes leading to the two deaths are known only to the men who took their lives....and had only resided in Denison since Dec. 29.  He was running on the Mineola and Denison.  The coroner's jury returned a verdict that the killing was accidental, and no one was to blame.
 

Sherman  Register
3 March 1887

Levi Lancaster, suicided by poison, April 21st, 1886.

Photograph by ;


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