Batavia Daily News

Thursday Evening, May 16, 1895.--Four o'clock.


Joseph Heide died after suffering intensely.

Autopsy Shows He Swallowed Enough of a Drug to Kill a Dozen Men-The Stone Mason Passed Tuesday Night in a Small Shanty Back of His House, but He Went Home Yesterday Morning and Died in Bed at 4:15 P.M. - When a Physician Who Was Called Arrived, the Man Was Dead - Story of a Scrap-Heide Probably Killed Himself Because He Feared He Would Be Arrested.

Joseph HEIDE is dead. The rumor current yesterday afternoon that he had hanged himself was untrue and the subsequent report that he had cut his throat was unfounded, but he died at his home on Walnut Street at 4:15 p.m., yesterday and it was supposed by Coroner PARMELE last evening when he investigating the case that the man's death was the result of poison. This was merely a conjecture of the Coroner, however, as the official at that time had made only a cursory examination of HEIDE's body. "It is impossible to state what poison he took," the Coroner said, "but from the indications it is safe to say that he did not take morphine. There are no signs of morphine poisoning."







It seemed certain enough, after the circumstances had been inquired into, that HEIDE took his own life, notwithstanding that nobody was found who knew how he did it. Three motives were discovered that might have impelled him to commit suicide, any one of which possibly was sufficient to nerve him to face death unflinchingly. His domestic affairs were not happy, he lacked employment and was burdened with debt, and he feared arrest. Heide was 53 years old and his family consisted of his wife, who was several years his junior, and six children: Margaret, aged 20; Elizabeth, 18; John, 16; Henry, 12; Frank, 9, and Charles aged 4. He had lived in Batavia nearly 25 years, and Benjamin POWELL, with whom until last summer he had been associated in business for two or three years, says he was one of the best stone masons in town. He was sober and industrious and except when moody in consequence of family jars, was loyal and lighthearted. On rare occasions he drank beer to excess, but as a rule was attentive to business. Last summer he had John Pickert build a good looking house for him next north of the house he occupied and in October last moved into it. The new house ran him heavily into debt, and the Coroner learned last night that the encumbrance on the two houses and the land he owned was $2,000, but if these figures are correct, $300.00 of the amount has been put on comparatively recently, as he told a friend last fall that his indebtedness aggregated $1,800.00. Whatever the amount was, however, it worried him. When an acquaintance, a short time ago congratulated him upon possessing so handsome a home, he replied: "Yes, it's a nice place--if I ever get it paid for."

As to the unhappiness of his home life little is learned except that people who knew him well are aware that his domestic relations were frequently somewhat strained. It is reported that rows were not infrequent in his house and that Heide often came out second best in the encounters. A year or two ago, it is said, after a bit of unpleasantness at home, HEIDE went to the PRILL'S and remained over Sunday. HEIDE years ago conducted a saloon in what is known as "Murderer's Row."

But it is probable that neither the household jangles nor the financial embarrassment drove him to death. He had been threatened with arrest and it is said he always had been mortally afraid that he would be "taken up," remarking that such an event never would happen if he could prevent it.

John PRILL, a German a few years older than HEIDE, who is employed at the Harvester Work and lives with his wife in a small house on the Old Cohocton grade about forty rods to the rear of HEIDE's, was the man who threatened him with the law. Chris PRILL, a son of John, who has just moved his house from near his father's to the Cove lot on the east side of Walnut Street south of the Central tracks, said last evening that HEIDE frequently visited the senior PRILLs on Saturday nights, WHEN THE GROWLER WOULD BE RUSHED* and considerable beer disposed of. "HEIDE was over last Saturday night," said Chris PRILL, "and gave father a quarter for beer. Father left the house to get the pail filled and as soon as he was gone HEIDE assaulted my mother. Just then I entered the house and, learning what had happened, threw Heide out. He went away and didn't come back."


-Article submitted by R. E. Wurtz




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