Charles Pinkerton, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

Charles Pinkerton

Wretched Pinkerton, Condemned Murderer, Takes His Life.
After Two Attempts He Succeeds, Using an Old Penknife.

LAPORTE, Ind., Nov. 8. -- The slayer of Charles Pinkerton, whose life paid the penalty of a February day homicide, will answer for his crime before a higher tribunal. Adjudged guilty of murder in the second degree, sentenced to the penitentiary for life, with the solitude of a felon's cell as his ignominious fate, his hands stained not only with the blood of one of his own kin, but with his own life blood, Chas. Pinkerton, sr., twice tried for murder, twice within the shadow of the gallows, twice the principal in unsuccessful attempts at self-murder, took his own life by cutting his throat. With the blade of a pocketknife sharpened to the keenness of a razor the fatal deed was committed, and the Sabbath day recorded a tragedy as the tragic end of a chapter of crime, a chapter in which pathos is interwoven with horror.

With a kiss of farewell, with eyes filled with tears, a little woman in black left the jail building shortly before noon yesterday. The wife of the doomed man had bade a last farewell to the husband who on the morrow would have passed the portals of the Michigan City penitentiary, with liberty gone forever, had not his own hand stayed the execution of the law. Pinkerton watched the retreating figure of the little woman, the wife who had been his only solace. The supreme moment had arrived. The time had come when he would become the principal in a tragedy the consequences of which he alone was responsible. It was 12:30 o'clock when the turnkey brought him his dinner. He received it in silence, without outward manifestation, and he entered his cell apparently to eat in its solitude, unwatched, unguarded. He drew from his clothes or from a secret hiding place the weapon of his execution, and with apparent steady hand plunged the knife blade into his throat its full length. He cut both sides of his throat, the wounds being several inches in length, and from one to two inches deep. The carotid artery and jugular vein were severed by the thrusts, the blood gushed from the ghastly cuts, and the dying man, bathed in his own blood, sank to the floor of his cell. He groaned faintly, his limbs moved spasmodically, then the body grew rigid, and death ensued. Pinkerton was confined in the woman's ward of the jail. The only other occupants of the ward were two boys. They heard the groans of the dying man and their cries brought the turnkey, who summoned medical aid, but Pinkerton was beyond human aid. The deed he had planned, and twice attempted before, he had at last executed.

The mystery in the tragedy is found in Pinkerton's possession of the knife. When he was delivered into custody of Sheriff McCormick he was carefully searched, and that he might be isolated from the other jail inmates he was given quarters in the woman's ward, where two boys and his wife were his only companions. These conditions give credence to the only theory advanced in explanation of his having the knife, and that theory is that his wife furnished the weapon with which the deed was committed. She was his constant companion day and night, she shared the unfortunate man's hope for his freedom, and possibly listened to his pleading for a weapon with which he might end his life. He had told her he would kill himself, all hope had left him when the efforts of his attorneys to secure a new trial proved futile, and the ajil officials believe that it was not later than Saturday that the knife came into the possession of the prisoner, and that he received it from the hands of his wife, who, willing or unwilling, was cajoled into providing the man whose liberty was gone with the weapon of his own torture and death. She left him at noon and a half hour later he was beyond the power of earthly courts and juries. It is believed that Mrs. Pinkerton had a premonition of her husband's fate, for on Saturday she visited the office of Attorney Nye, and at her request a letter was indited to Warden Harley, requesting him in the event of Pinkerton's suicide to advise her at once, that disposition might be made of his remains. What feeling had its abiding place in the breast of that wife, if she be guilty of conspiring to the end that a suicide's grave be opened to her husband, can only be conjectured, for her lips are probably forever sealed. Mrs. Pinkerton went directly from the jail to the Lake Shore depot. It was at once apparent to bystanders that she was laboring under suppressed excitement. She walked nervously up and down the platform, now and then looking down the street in the direction of the jail, as though realizing that within its grim walls a scene of horror was about to be enacted. She was accompanied by a little girl named Young, and when she boarded the train for South Bend she told the Young girl to hasten to the jail and tell her husband she had gone. The message was a fateful one, for a few minutes later he sacrificed his life. Mrs. Pinkerton has not yet reached the city, though she was immediately notified of her husband's suicide. In searching Pinkerton's clothes a bit of manila paper was found on which had been printed "John Kepler's knife." Kepler was brought here from South Bend to testify in the case and during Pinkerton's first trial was assigned to the same cell with the prisoner. The two men were not together during Kepler's brief confinement in jail during the last trial, and the finding of the message only adds to the mystery, though it may yet prove its solution. The officials, however, cling to the belief that the knife was given Pinkerton by his wife.

When the intelligence got abroad that a life had gone out by the suicide route in the county jail people began to congregate in front of the county jail building, but admittance was denied, reporters alone being accepted. An undertaker's wagon soon drove up and the body of the suicide was taken to Cutler's morque, where it was viewed by hundreds pending the arrival of Coroner Long, who is now holding an inquest.

The knife with which the deed was committed was of average size. The handle was broken and the blade which Pinkerton used was broken about the middle, but the steel which remained bore a keen edge, it did its work well.

Thus ends the life of Chas. Pinkerton, whose remains will now be consigned to the grave, where they will be followed by the little woman in black, whose tears will tell of her sorrow, whose grief, though she may have contributed to the inevitable end, may be none less poignant.

Harry B. Darling, in Michigan City Dispatch.

Newspaper: The Westchester Tribune
Date of Publication: November 13, 1897
Volume Number: 14
Issue Number: 31
Page: 1
Column(s): 3 and 4

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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