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BEERS, Dr George W - death 1863

[San Francisco City & County Vitals Notices Board]

Posted by SFgenealogy on Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 16:41:08 :

BEERS--THE WHOLESALE MURDER AT SAN FRANCISCO - A dispatch to the Bee has the following particulars in reference to the family murder mentioned in the Union yesterday: Last evening at eight o'clock, a discovery was made which thrilled with horror all who witnessed it. Dr. George W. BEERS, the well-known lecturer, his wife Julia, and his daughter Annie, were found dead. The scene of these unparalleled tragedies is in the lodging house of Mrs. BARNES, on the corner of Geary and Stockton streets. Neither of the parties had been seen during the day, and not a sound heard in their rooms by any member of the family or lodger in the house. A light was observed in an outhouse. Dr. BEERS has been in extremely reduced circumstances, having been unable to pay his board. Latterly, he has been delivering lectures, and was to have appeared at
Dashaway Hall in a series on Physical Life. The last lecture was so thinly attended that he became dispirited, and for a day or two has kept his room, where he was heard pacing about in a restless manner about 11 o?clock on Wednesday evening.

Mrs. BARNES failing to receive any reply to her repeated knockings informed her husband, who burst open the door, revealing the horrible scene. On the bed lay the dead bodies of Dr. BEERS and his wife, the head of the man hanging over one side of the bed and directly over a pad which had been carefully placed to receive the blood, while the wife lay with her head near the foot of the bed and suspended over in a similar manner to bleed into a vessel placed there for the purpose. The sheets and bed covering were drenched with gore, and the bodies attenuated from loss of blood. In an adjoining room lay the dead body of their child, her mouth covered with froth and the face convulsed as with the effects of poison. Close by was found a vial which had contained strychnine, but its contents had been emptied into a tumbler. A small lancet with bloody blade, and a bar of iron weighing some eight pounds, was also found, spotted with blood and matted with hair. The following letters throw some light over this before mysterious affair. They were discovered on the bureau: Mr. and Mrs. BARNES, Please take charge of all our effects and sell them for your own benefit, except the portraits, which do not let out of your hands until you may have an opportunity to send them to Mrs. Julia P. DOUGLAS, Brooklyn, New York. I have nothing to state further than that I am feeling my wife is really to pass away from me, and difficulties are accumulating around me that I cannot withstand. GEORGE W. BEERS P.S. - Also keep the writing desk, and burn the letters. See that the letter under this reaches its destination. This was a note directed to Frank TUTHILL, and reads thus: Doctor, will you please send the inclosed to its destination, as a last act of kindness to my dear wife's mother. I take your daughter with me, rather than have her die by inches as her father died before my eyes. Pardon the act, for we have suffered much for each other's sake. G.W. BEERS. The murderer evidently had a preconcerted plan with his wife for taking their own lives and that of their child. The wife's appearance after the murder, as first seen, presented a ghastly spectacle. The forehead and face crimson with blood, and the back of her head apparently crushed. The indication about the mouth showed that the wife had swallowed poison, and probably the husband, seeing her in agony, completed the deed by a blow on the head with the iron bar. The head of the man hung near the rim of the pad. He had severed an artery in the palm of his right hand and bled to death. The most touching sight was that of the daughter. The face looked somewhat distorted, and from her mouth oozed a thick saliva. She had been poisoned, and a heavy blow was visible on the back of her head, which doubtless was inflicted by the same weapon used in dispatching the wife. The Coroner on his arrival made a hasty examination, swore in a jury on the spot, and announced the inquest to be held at one o'clock this afternoon. The doctor and wife were about thirty-seven years of age and natives of Brooklyn, New York.

Source: Sacramento Daily Union, 4 July 1863. Transcribed by Betty Loose.

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