February 16, 1907




Milling Venture in Pittsburg, Kas., Did Not Prove Profitable, It Is Said--
Lived in Kansas City at 304 Maple Avenue With Family

Late yesterday afternoon, when a chambermaid could not get into a room on the third floor of the Centropolis hotel, she called the night clerk and the proprietor. The key was in the door on the inside and the door locked. With instruments the house electrician succeeded in pushing the key out and the door was opened with a pass key.

On the bed, face downward, lay the body of a man. He was dead and the odor in the room indicated that carbolic acid had been used. The register showed that he had registered late Thursday afternoon as "John R. McKim, South Omaha, Neb." On a dresser among a lot of paper and envelopes of the Cudahy Packing Company of South Omaha was found the following note:
To the authorities: Notify at once my brother-in-law, William Arthur
Miller, with Karnes, New & Krauthoff, Water Works building. Telegraph
my brother, James McKim, at Deloit, Crawford county, Ia., who will come and take
care of me and my affairs. Do not send word to my wife, who resides in
this city, but let Mr. Miller see to that. --Jno. R. McKim.

The hotel people said that McKim came in and went straight to his room. Dr. George B. Thompson, the coroner, was notified and sent the body to Freeman & Marshall's morgue.

On the washstand in the room was a glass which showed that it had contained carbolic acid. The mans face and lips were also badly burned and corroded with the drug. A two-ounce bottle of the acid, bought from George Eyssell, Union depot drug store, was nearly gone.

Letters to His Wife.

McKim must have poured out most all of the drug into the glass, drank it and then started for his bed. It acted so quickly that he fell on the bed. He had been dead probably twenty-four hours when found, the inference being that he killed himself early Thursday evening.

Letters were found addressed to Mrs. J. R. McKim and also to James McKim, Deloit, Ia. They were placed in large envelopes on which was printed "Cudahy Packing Co., South Omaha, Neb.," but that had been erased with a pencil. On the one addressed to "Mrs. J. R. McKim," with no town or street address, was written "Do not notify or send word to my wife. Send word to Arthur Miller of Karnes, New &Krauthoff." The letter was not stamped. The contents show that McKim, besides being in ill health, was carrying a burden of debt, which seems to have been sufficient to cause him to take his own life. It also shows that he went about the preparations coolly and deliberately. The letter follows:

Cudahy Packing Company -- South Omaha, Neb.; To My Darling Wife:
Do not allow the shock of the shock of my death, revolting as it may seem, to overcome you. It is the only way to prevent the worst catastrophe that must befall you and the dear family if I attempt to continue this fight against increasing ill health and impossible tasks before me. I am trying to do
the courageous thing of sacrificing my life, dear as it is to me, to save you from the greater disgrace and privation that must ensue when I can no longer bear up under it.

I have striven with all my power to pull out of debt that has fastened itself upon us, but today the situation is such that I know that I cannot work with the pressure that I must endure.
I have policies in the

Fraternal Aid...$3,000;
New York Life....$2,000 -- in $800;
Mutual Life of New York....$2,000 -- in $600;
Indiana State Life..5,000 -- in $500.

These will pay out your debts and leave you enough, with your judicious management, to take care of the family. I want Jim to administer my estate and he will come down to see that everything is taken care of.

Oh, my dear, and you deserve a better fate than this! but I cannot feel that it is disgrace when the circumstances that compel me to do this are considered. Those dear, loving children -- how I hoped to enjoy my late life with them and you. God knows best and I submit to His decree. I am aware of what I am doing and the great shock to you all is my greatest regret. Those who have been responsible for my downfall will be dealt with on God's own plan. Let this be a lesson to my dear boys to keep out of debt and I do pray that they will live to redeem in the eyes of the world this seeming disgrace of their devoted father. I cannot write much as my heart is too full -- may God bless you all and keep you as His own. My sweet daughters -- they are a crown of honor and will always be your solace.

I have nerved myself for this trial, knowing it must come unless some providence would avert it.

My honor is my life
Both grown in one,
Take honor from me
And my life is done.


O, merciful God, spare my dear wife and children. As much as may be the disgrace and penalty of this, my sacrifice, I pray you like a publican to be merciful to my soul in all that I have sinned and to keep them with Thy great kind heart from future disaster. Amen.

Dear wife, be comforted and take care of our flock -- it is past my physical and mental endurance to longer withstand the strain. Your most loving husband, JNO. R. McKim

In still another envelope, also addressed to his wife, with no street or city address, was this short note:

Cudahy's advance money and their mileage are in another envelope for them.
I have a $25 check which you can use. My debts abstract the larger
obligations and will not press you. Jim will take care of the matter when
he comes. J. R. McK.

A check for $25, made payable to John R. McKim or order, had been slipped under the edge of the tongue of the envelope of the first long letter to his wife, it probably being intended as a second thought for this one.

John R. McKim was 48 years of age and resided with his wife and four children at 304 Maple avenue. He was formerly a traveling man for the Cudahy Packing Company and later for the K. C. Baking Powder Company, of Chicago. He was well-to-do and owned his home, which is a pretentious brick and stone structure in the center of spacious grounds.

Some time ago he purchased a 200-barrel flour mill at Pittsburg, Kas., and it was stated last night by friends of the family that this venture had not been a success and that McKim had become almost a nervous wreck over the failure of the institution to pay.

Donald G. McKim, 19 years of age, a son of the dead man, is employed by Hucke & Sexton, in the contracting department, while another son, Bruce, aged 17, is conducting the mill at Pittsburg, Kas. He also leaves two daughters, Elizabeth, 15, and Genevieve, aged 8.