Hurst's Hotel, southwest corner of Chestnut St & N Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102
Oak Cemetery Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas, USA
On February 23, Dr. Charles Breedlove (1864 - February 23, 1892), a young dentist, commits suicide at Hurst's Hotel in St. Louis, MO. The story makes national headlines due to his infatuation with his "friend" Isaac Nichols Judson (1853 - 1926). Upon his death, Dr. Breedlove was wearing a charm around his neck featuring a picture of Judson.
From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat St. Louis, Missouri 24 Feb 1892, Wed • Page 9
A Male Love Tragedy. Dr. Charles Breedlove Shoots Himself in Hurst's Hotel. His Unnatural Craving for Isaac N. Judson's Companionship and Despondency the Cause-Sentimental Letters-His Second Attempt. In room No. 305 of Hurst's Hotel yesterday morning Dr. Charles T. Breedlove ended his life and an unnatural affection for Isaac N. Judson, assistant principal of the Central High School, with a bullet. The story of the dead dentist's attachment for Mr; Judson resembles that of Miss Alice Mitchell for Miss Freda Ward, of Memphis, and as Dr. Breedlove is a scion of one of the best known families in Arkansas the tragedy caused a profound sensation. The victim had once before attempted self-destruction, and his amorous mania finally ended in death near his object of love. At 8:20 o'clock Mr. Judson, with blood-stained face and bands, alarmed the servants on the fifth floor of the hostelry. He frantically exclaimed that his friend had shot himself, and called for a light. He had been reading a letter at the window when the shot was fired, and at first could not account for it.The bed had been pulled forward. Between the wall and head-post the Doctor's dead body lay, the head resting against the wainscoting. A 32-caliber bullet entered the right temple. A gold locket with a picture of Mr Judson was suspended about his neck.
Officer Samuel Rite was summoned, and he took charge of the effects for the Coroner. Some delay was occasioned by Mr. Judson insisting that an undertaker should be called, and then the remains were removed to Bensiek & Sheehan's establishment on Eleventh street. They will probably be shipped to Arkansas or Maryland today.
Two letters found in the room show Dr. Breedlove's yearning for the school teacher's companionship, and their tone indicates that he had determined to kill the object of his affection. The letter which Mr. Judson was reading in the dark room at the fatal moment was on a Benton Motet notehead, dated February 21, as follows:
A STRANG LOVE LETTER
MY DEAR FRIEND: I have just returned from the Cathedral, where Bishop Tuttle preached. My mind is not in a very receptive frame, so I can hardly tell anything he said. The pass was all a myth. The only pass I have is one into eternity, I even sold my dress suit and my old clothes to raise the funds to get here on. I came intending to first kill you, then kill myself. I shalt only make an end of my own miserable existence. My love for you has been my ruin. I can no more live a life apart from you than I can fly. The past month has been the test and I can not do it. There is but one thing which could save me, and that is to pass the remainder of my life in your presence. I shall do that anyhow, for to die in your arms relieves death of half its terrors. I wish it would come to me naturaily, and you could be with me to the last. Then you would have nothing to dishonor or grieve you. It is cruel in me to do this act, for it will blight your life, I should be more cruel to myself to try and live without you. You have done all but the one right and effective thing to save and make me, but it has all failed. I would gladly beg, steal, do anything, forego riches, forget friends, home, kindred, but for a life of blissful association with you. My office and outfit are all intact, and you can realize something on those things. Mr. Carroll Hall, 816 Madison avenue, will see to the things, I appreciate all you did, and the effort and sacrifice you made for me, it was not in the right direction. This letter to you is all I leave behind. I can not write anything to my parents. The blow will probably kill my mother. I shudder to think of it. We might have been hanpy together had it not been for Wheeler. The Whitelaws, your brother's family, your other rich friends, your high social and business standing your high ideals of morality which you never filled; but 'tis too late, the end must come. I don't see why God did not let me die that Saturday night. I suppose there was some purpose waiting till you had made the outlay and sacrificed so much. You see the end is all the same. Good-by, dear Isaac. I won't wish you happiness; you will never have that again, and you will follow in my footsteps some time. Men of our natures and sins must have their punishment, and ours comes in a terrible shape. I do dot want my body sent to Port smith; my only wish is that it may be somewhere convenient, so that when your end comes you can be put by me. You are mine in the light of heaven, and no family ties can claim you from me in death. I pity you, but oh, to be free from all this agony of separation, suspense, doubt, is so welcome. May God deal with me according to my weakness. Keep my stud as long as you live; send my watch and ring to my mother. Let my last rites be attended by as little expense as possible. A pauper can not expect to repose in a metallic casket I am going to bed, to sleep, and gain nerve to face my fate. I have felt it must be, and since I have known you I knew that you were to be the last straw. I have loved you better than you have ever, or will ever be loved again. Think kindly of that love sometimes. I am unworthy, but my love for you is worth a thought. Pray for my soul. Amen.
DIDN'T KEEP HIS DEPOT APPOINTMENT
Dr. Breedlove bad been unsuccessful in practice at Baltimore and came to St. Louis to take the position of assistant to Dr. Geo. P. Holmes. He had been in St. Louis about five weeks continuously, since last September, and last Friday night telegraphed from Cincinnati that he would return on Saturday. He came and sent for Mr. Judson. They had several conferences, went to the Olympic Theater Monday night, ate an oyster supper and parted, Dr. Breedlove being despondent at the time. He had secured a railroad pass for Baltimore, and it was agreed that Mr. Judson should "see him off " at the Union Depot yesterday morning. The High School professor was at the depot, but found his friend absent and hurried to the hotel to learn what the trouble was. Dr. Breedlove was just dressing himself. Looking about the room Mr. Judson observed a note addressed to David Shelby, of No. 320 Chestnut street, General Agent for the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway, and a letter which he quickly picked up. While reading its contents the Baltimorean ended his troubles.
Sometime after the shooting fragments of a letter dated Baltimore, February 1, were found in the spittoon. Several newspaper men rearranged the score of slips and the following is the result:
Mr DEAR FRIEND: Are you ill, angry or merely carelose? I looked for my usual Thursday's letter Saturday morning. It came not. I then felt sure you would write me on Sunday. I watched for the postman. No letter. He has been here this a.m. and still no letter. It makes me not only unhappy, but very anxious-unhappy since I am deprived of all that is left me to care for or look forward to; unhappy in the thought that I have displeased you; in suspense and anxiety lest some bodily ailment has seized that goodly frame and rendered you unable to communicate with me. If I do not hear from you in a day or so I shall be frantic and unfit for anything. I sent the stud on Thursday which must have reached you Saturday, and not later than Monday, in which case I should have heard from you by this time.
The writing was in a neat, feminine hand in each case, and the name "Dr. Breedlove, Baltimore" written on the Hurst's Hotel register at noon Monday was also as delicate. When he applied for the room he was anxious to pay less than $1.50, but did not wish to be assigaed to a room with another occupant.
A WARM FRIENDSHIP
It appears that the friendship of the pair has been of several years standing, but only since September 1 had they been Intimate. Mr. Shelby knows but little of Charles, but formed the acquaintance of the Breedlove family in Fort Smith while traveling, and has since maintained cordial relations. The father is one of the best known physicians in Arkantas, and Mrs. Breedlove is a charming woman. Mr. Shelby bad heard of no abnormal passion. Several brothers and sisters will mourn their brother's untimely end.
Proprietor Hurst said that the Doctor impressed him as a quiet, gentlemanly sort of a fellow, but he had not stopped at his hotel heretofore.
Mr. Judson some time ago tried to induce his friead to break off the spell that overcast him, and took him to Dr. Charles A. Ware, and later to Dr. C. Hughes. These pnysiclans advised that the two be separated. In explaining their relations to a Glone-Democrat reporter the indirect cause of the suicide said: "We formerly took our meals together at the Beaumont Flats, though I boarded at No. 2700 Pine street. He always seemed ta have a morbid attachment for me, and wrote long letters teeming with endearing words. He came to St. Louis about September 1. He has been away since, endeavoring to get a foothold in Baltimore. I advanced hoim money, but it seemed to do no good, and he returned to St. Louis. About five weeks ago he left for the East again. I rather suspected that he could make away with himself, because he became very restless and despondent at times. He was an educated fellow, kindhearted and of good address. Dr. Ware attended him for some disorder, and made many attempts to alienate the foolish fellow's undue attachment. Despondency was the only cause of the unfortunate act." Mr. Judson looked haggard and worn by the ordeal, and nervously alternated and fingered and chewed a cigar most of the time. He is a pleasant-mannered gentleman and appeared to be willing to submit to any cross-examination. He feared by some persons that the School Board will take cognizance of the matter, and that he will be asked to explain his connection with the tragedy in a comprehensive way.
THE CORONER'S INQUEST
At 3 o'clock Deputy Coroner Charles Meade held an inquest. A half-dozen witnesses and as many more reporters were the only attendants. Mr. Judson was first called on to testify. He explained their relationship in answers, to questions, and gave the story of the suicide substantially as above. Said be: '"For some time past Charles has been much, depressed through business reverses and a craving for my company. When he attempted suicide about a month ago I wrote to his father. He was boarding on Olive street, between 23 and 24, and took a quantity of arsenic. There was a desperate expression on my friend's face when I met him this morning. When I saw the note to Mr. Shelby I knew that the situation was a bad one. I had one letter in my hand when he fired the shot, and when I ran to him to lift him up I became covered with blood. The heart-shaped gold locket which he wore tied by an ordinary piece of white string was set with an emerald and engraved in the back with the monogram C. T. B. He induced me to have a tintype taken and he wore it within the locket. Last Friday, when he wrote that letter, I had no idea that the end was so near. We visited various sights. I don't know whether he was in the habit of seeing women. I told him that Monday would be a holiday and we spent considerable time together. He clutched the revolver when we lifted up his limp form."
Dr. Gustave Baumgarten testified that he had been called to attend the young man when be attempted to commit suicide some weeks ago.
The hotel clerk said the man was found with his head slightly on one side, partly dressed, and that the shot was not heard enough to cause remark. Mr. Judson's wild appearance at the office on the ground floor was the first serious intimation.
Dr. Breedlove was a capablet dentist, about 28 years old and single. He had a sandy mustache and dark hair. Mr. Judson is professor of Greek and the higher branches at the Central High School, an unmarried man, and brother of Frederick N. Judson, ex-President of the School Board.
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