Miami Union

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.


Miami Union
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.
The "Tragedian"
   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. 
Tragedy First
   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.
Tragedy Second
   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 shooting.
The Wounds
      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.
That Letter
   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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