Oct. 18, 1908 (Sunday)
DARK SIDE OF CAMPAIGNING SURFACES IN NEWARK WHERE "ATTACK AD" LEADS TO A JUDGE'S SUICIDE: Nasty political campaigns -- filled as they are with "attack ads" -- can lead to extremely dark ends. It happened in Newark, N.J., yesterday, according to today's New York Times. The headline (at right) says it all. The suicide of Judge David T. Howell in Branch Brook Park (shown above in 1907) stunned the city. The article says
Word of Judge Howell's act spread rapidly through Newark, and excited crowds gathered at the various news sources of the city. No event has caused a greater sensation there in years, coming as a climax to a week of startling political happenings which began on Tuesday when Under Sheriff Charles Mason at a meeting of the "Read Democracy" wing of the
Democratic Party made an attack full of personalities upon ex-United States Senator James Smith Jr., Mayor Jacob Haussling of Newark, City Councilman James R. Nugent, who is a State Democratic Chairman, and Judge Howell.
The article includes part of Mason's statement:
Should we be surprised that a Mayor like 'Jake' Haussling should appoint as Judge of the Criminal Court of Newark a man that had been convicted of assault and battery upon his wife, and from whom his wife on account of this vice and immorality was compelled to secure a divorce and to earn a living for herself and three children?"
He was talking about Howell's first marriage. Some think there's more to the story.
A witness saw the judge shoot himself -- twice. Here's how the Times describes what the witness saw [emphasis added]:
Pausing a moment, Jude Howell drew a revolver from his pocket and, placing the muzzle to his right temple, fired as Benn ran toward him. As the park employe neared him Judge Howell rose to his knees and struggled toward the revolver, which lay on the ground. He reached it as Benn came within twenty feet of him and placed it against his temple again. Benn halted, horrified and saw the man PULL THE TRIGGER THREE TIMES WITHOUT EFFECT. The fourth attempt discharged the gun and Judge Howell sank unconscious upon the ground.
One paragraph would delight any viewer of TV shows such as "CSI: Las Vegas." The Times describes the damage done by the bullets in this way:
One bullet was found to have nearly ENCIRCLED THE SKULL INSIDE THE SKIN, while the second, which had entered the brain, could not be located.
The paper gives some background for the judge. Before coming to the United States, Howell was born on the west coast of Ireland and was preparing for a life in the ministry when his father died. Howell was forced to take a job working as a rent collector for Capt. James Boycott -- the man whose name, the Times notes, became synonymous for "ostracizing by agreement." Of course, they should have called him Charles Boycott.
FORMER SHERIFF OF LONDON SAYS SOME MUSIC CAN BE "POISONOUS": Some classical favorites such as "The Merry Widow Waltz" and "Mefistofele" are dangerous to some listeners, according to some critics in Great Britain. One, Sir Charles Wakefield, the former sheriff of London, made the following comment at a school-prize presentation this week, according to a report in today's New York Times (right). The notice says, "There has been a frenzied debate on the subject."