February 19, 1876
ADAMS, C. T. - C. T. Adams, who shot himself at his father's
residence, at Troy, O., last Saturday night, was engaged here in the manufacture
of a patent rat trap, an invention which did not pay. He not only lost a
small fortune, but is heavily indebted in this city. He eloped, about a
year ago, with a Miss Stella Ziegenfelder, of Troy, O., residing in this city
for some time, but abused his wife, and she left him. Last Saturday he
called on her. Some angry words passed between them, when Adams fired at
his wife, the ball entering her arm near the elbow. Having, as he
supposed, killed his wife, he rushed into his father's house, exclaiming:
"I've done what I wanted to do. Now I will kill myself," and
passing through to a back room, shot himself on the spot. Adams gave no
intimation before leaving here of what he really intended to do, if he had this
murder in his mind. He was regarded as a young man of rather weak mind.
Nothing was ever noticed in the conduct of the lady while she resided here, to
compromise her in any way. The deceased has a brother living here, and
other relatives in the county.
February 19, 1877
Events leading up to the suicide of C. T. Adams.
From last Sunday's Extra
Attempted Murder and Suicide
Our usually quiet town was thrown into a state of excitement, at about 7
1/2 o'clock, last Saturday evening by the report that a murder had been
committed in the very heart of town and a crowd immediately collected around
the residence of Mr. George Ziegenfelder, on Cherry Street, near Main, where
the tragedy was reported to have been enacted, eager to learn the facts of
the case. It was found that an attempt at murder had been made by one C. T.
Adams, who tried to take the life of his wife--Stella Ziegenfelder Adams--by
shooting her, while sitting in her father's house, in company with her
parents and sisters. Too much excitement existed to ascertain, at the time,
the extent of the shooting, or say of the circumstances connected
therewith. In a few moments the officers and a large crowd of people were
scouring the streets in search of the would-be murderer; and but a short
time elapsed before the excitement was increased by the announcement that a
second act had been added to the tragedy, in another part of town, in the
suicide of young Adams,--at the residence of his father. Investigation
confirmed this latter report, and proved that in a short space of time a
fearful double tragedy had been enacted.
C. T. Adams, the principal actor in the above tragedy,
came to Troy about two years ago. He was of good address, but his every
action proved to those who had any transactions with him that he was
weak-minded and superlatively conceited. He was for awhile in the
Undertaking business here, of the firm of Adams & Keifer. He became
acquainted with and won the affections of Stella, youngest daughter of Mr.
Geo. Ziegenfelder, whom he prevailed upon to elope with and marry him, which
elopement took place in November 1874. The pair have since made their home
at different places, in Troy, in the country, and at Springfield, the latter
city being their last place of residence. Their married life has not been a
happy one from the fact that the husband appears to have thought more of the
father's money than he did of his wife, but until about three weeks ago they
have lived together. About that time she left him and returned to her
father's house. The circumstances which led to the separation are not of
public concern any farther than they tend to show the animus for the crime.
It is currently stated and generally understood that Adams has mal-treated
his wife, upon several occasions beating her because she refused to
importune her father for the coveted amount of money. On Friday--three
weeks ago--for some reason he beat her, and the next Monday she left him,
and came home. Hither he followed by the next train and sought an
interview, but failed to obtain it. Since then he has made several attempts
to see her, but she, fearing him, has kept out of sight whenever he
appeared. One week she remained in the country to avoid him. On one
occasion, a few days ago, he called at Mr. Ziegenfelder's and begged to see
his wife. He was admitted to the house but she refused to see him. She
wrote him a note instead defining her feelings in regard to him, and
informing him that she didn't wish to see him again. Since that time he has
made threats against her life, and also against the lives of other members
of Mr. Ziegenfelder's family.
Adams' threats culminated in deeds on Saturday evening
as above stated. As Mr. Geo. Ziegenfelder, his wife and daughters, and his
son-in-law, Mr. Coleman Bryan, were in the sitting room enjoying a family
chat, the back door suddenly opened and Adams rushed towards where his wife
was sitting, spoke something about divorce and fired. His shot was well
directed, but she threw up her left arm and the ball penetrated the elbow
joint instead of the heart, as was intended. At the same instant she fell
over and screamed, and Adams evidently supposed the shot had proved fatal.
He broke and ran. The whole transaction occupied less than a minute, and
was over before the occupants of the room recovered from the shock. Mr.
Coleman Bryan who was sitting near the door at which Adams entered, grappled
with him as he passed out but Adams broke from his grasp and ran. He
entered the yard at the back gate, and probably obtained a view of the
occupants of the room before entering, so that he knew the exact position of
his wife. The alarm was immediately given and parties started in pursuit,
while the friends turned their attention to the wounded woman. The wound
was found to be ugly but not necessarily a dangerous one. The ball pierced
the left arm near the elbow joint and there lodged.
Adams after shooting his wife started at full speed for his father's
house at the eastern part of Main Street. The family, his father, mother
and sister were in the sitting room reading when he rushed in the door with
the exclamation "By ---- I done just what I intended to do," and rushed
out. Immediately a shot was heard in the kitchen. Mr. Adams, rushed out,
but before he could reach his son two more shots were fired. When he
reached him he was lying on his side, on the stone pavement at the eastern
door, in the last agony. He reached out his hand to his father, as he
approached, and bade him good-bye. Neighbors who heard the shots rushed in
and reached him before he expired, which was only about 10 minutes after the
From Dr. J. A. Sterrett, who examined Adams wounds, we learn their
locations. The first shot entered the left breast at the 5th rib, followed
the rib about 1 1/2 inches and penetrated the left ventricle of the heart.
The second shot entered between the 2nd and 3rd ribs followed in the
intercostal space and penetrated the upper lobe of the left lung. No marks
could be found by the examining surgeon of the striking of the third shot.
A slight abrasion was found on the right breast but as there was no
corresponding mark on his shirt bosom it was thought to have been produced
by some other cause than a pistol shot. The weapon used was a small
revolver, 7 shooter, calibre 22. When picked up four chambers were found
empty. About the time of his shooting, Adams threw a letter where his
sister could find it, directed to her.
It was long, occupying several sheets of paper, and contained a history
of the crime he had in view and what he supposed he had accomplished when he
ended his own life. It charges his wife with having broken him up in
business by her extravagance and is quite severe in his changes. Adams
claims that he has always treated his wife well and that the bruises on her
body were occasioned by a fall while getting off the cars at Dayton. He
requests that all articles of jewelry found at his late house in Springfield
be burned. The letter contained much more that is of no interest to the
public. Adams seems to have been desperate for he asserts, in his letter,
his determination to kill his wife, and adds that if any of his friends
attempt to interfere he would kill them. The tenor of the letter was to
clear himself of all blame and his threat that he would save his wife the
trouble of telling her side of the story is enough to satisfy the public in
the matter. Apropos to Adams charges that his wife had broke him up in
business, and that he had always treated her well, we give a dispatch from
Springfield to the Cincinnati papers. The wife's story seems to be
corroborated by the people of that city.
Next is the Obituary Listed above
The most charitable view that can be taken of this terrible affair is the
one we have alluded to above, that young Adams was not in his right mind,
and probably not morally responsible for his actions. However that is for
the decision of the Higher Power into whose presence the young man so
suddenly ushered himself.
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