George Dieter

Monday, December 28, 1885
Wichita Daily Beacon. Pg 1
George Dieter, last night about half past ten o’clock, shot himself through the head with a revolver, in the loft of the barn in rear of the residence of his brother Gus Dieter, no. 718 south Main Street. The event has been a most sad interruption of the pleasant scenes of the Christmas holidays. The deceased returned about two months since from Texas and has since been staying at his brother’s house. He always appeared well dressed, and was both intelligent and well informed. He has been without employment excepting on Saturdays, when he worked in Tony Bruhn’s barber shop. He has evidently been very despondent at times, although his friends never suspected the extent of his mental depression. On Friday last, he said to Mr. Steuber who asked him to go down town with him ” I don’t care about it; and there is nobody in the world who wishes himself dead oftener than I do.” It should have been stated that Gus Dieter is now in El Paso,Texas, where he went on business. George has been attending to things about home, and in the main made himself agreeable, but he was liable to fits of moodiness when he tried his sister-in-law’s temper severely. Mr.Geo. Borstner, the shoemaker, is a friend of the family and took pains this morning to give the reporter a correct account of the tragedy. He was with the deceased most of the day yesterday and was in the house at the time the suicide occurred. George had been in good humor most of the day, but complained of the blues in the afternoon. He attended the rehearsal for the masquerade ball at the opera house in the afternoon, and at the Turner’s hall in the evening. Later in the evening he attended a social gathering at John Weisenfluh’s when it was noticed he refused to take part in the singing, although he is usually very accommodating on such occasions.
During the evening his manner was rough towards his sister-in-law, so much so that Mr. Borstner remonstrated with him. He then declared his intentions of leaving the city. Mr.Borstner, with his mother and sister accompanied George and his sister home, and went in and sat down. George seemed very restless. He went to the bureau and wrote a note, which he left lying there, and then went out. They supposed he had gone to bed. In eight or ten minutes the report of a pistol was heard from the rear. They went to the door, but concluded it was only shot in sport by some one. Directly however, a sister of Mrs. Dieter’s went to the drawer, where George kept his revolver, and found it missing, and at the same time discovered the note he left, which was addressed to his brother, and contained simply there words: “August– I take my poor miserable life. What Phil Dieter is concerned in is a different thing—George Dieter.” On reading the note its fearful significancy was at once realized. Mr. Borstner went to the barn with a lantern and, after looking round for some time, finally climbed the ladder into the hay loft, and the first thing that met his horrified gaze was the dead body of poor George Dieter, who was lying on his side. He had shot himself in the right temple, the ball passing out the crown of the head. The following is the evidence of Mr. Borstner before the coroner’s jury and also that of his sister, Marie Borstner.
Geo. Borstner being duly sworn, testifies: “My age is 22 years. It was half past ten when Geo. Dieter went out of the house. It was about 8 or 10 minutes before I started home with my folks. When we were on the sidewalk we heard a shot and Mrs. Dieter called us back. I saw him writing before he went out. I went out with a light, looking for him. We did not find him and went back to the room. We were in the room 10 or 15 minutes when I went up to the hayloft and found him lying in the same position he was in when the coroner’s jury found him. As soon as I saw him I called him and touched his hand; I got scared, and the pistol slipped out of his hand when I touched it. I went back to the house and told Mrs. Dieter I did not find him, and went up town and told the police. He drank one glass of wine yesterday.”
Mary Borstner testified: “I was at Gus Dieter’s house last night. I saw Geo. Dieter writing in the room. He did not say anything about killing himself. He talked some, but he talked kind of mad. Did not say what he was mad at. I saw him go out of the room. Did not see him take anything with him. We started home; we were out on the sidewalk by the fence, I went back into the room when we heard the shot. I had seem him writing before he went out, and I looked for the paper and found it, but could not read the writing, He went with us up town and came back again. He looked kind of mad all the time.”
The following is the verdict of the coroner’s jury;
” An inquisition holden in Wichita, the First ward, on the 28th of December, 1885 before me, C.W. Garrison, coroner of Sedgwick county, on the dead body of George Dieter, there lying dead, by the jurors whose names are hereto subscribed. The said jurors upon their oaths do say that, from the testimony given, the deceased came to his death from a shot from a pistol, discharged by his own hand while laboring under a temporary fit of insanity. (Signed.) Thomas Jewell, R.A. Neely, A.W. Garrison, John Schott, O.A. Brinton, Andrew T. Baker.
The corpse was removed this morning to the shop of Mr. Kendle, the undertaker. Gus Dieter, the brother of the deceased, was notified by telegram at El Paso, Texas, of the sad occurrences which will not doubt hasten his return home.
George Dieter had lived a long time in Wichita, and had many friends who are at a loss to account for the state of mind that could have led him to the rash act of self-destruction. He was not particularly distressed financially. He had a home with his brother, and rendered sufficient services about the house to pay for his board and lodging. He had $2 in cash on his person. The coroner’s verdict of the temporary insanity seems to furnish the only satisfactory explanation of the dreadful affair.
December 30, The Daily Times, El Paso, Texas
“Death of George Dieter. On the 28th instant Mr. J. P. and A. C. Dieter, in response to a telegram from Wichita, Kansas, left for that place. The telegram announced the death of their brother George Dieter. The sad occurrence will bring up in the minds of the people of El Paso the many recollections of the wholesoulded, generous, openhanded and impulsive friend who has often put himself “in a hole” to relieve the pressing necessities of his friends. George Dieter never in his whole life turned a deaf ear to the cry of distress or the claims of friendship. Whatever his faults may have been (and who of us have none?) these were not found in his vocabulary and when the recording angel comes to balance his accounts we feel assured (for we knew him well) that the deeds of generosity and charity which will go to his credit will more than offset what is on the other side of the balance sheet. His brothers and friends have our sincere sympathies in their affliction. May the sod rest lightly above him and may the perennial flowers of spring bloom as brightly as the memory of his friends in the minds of his friends.
” You may break, you may shatter the vase
if you will,

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