May 1, 1907



Traces of Carbolic Acid Indicate Poison as Cause of
Death -- Whether an Accident Is Yet to Be De-
termined -- Brother Is Attracted
by Child's Cry.

"Mamma! Mamma! Wake up, mamma, please wake up an' talk to Mercedes!"

When Clay Galbraith, a clerk at the Y. M. C. A. general offices, entered his home at 1610 Lister avenue at 7:30 o'clock last night, he heard his little 3-year-old niece, Mercedes Galbraith, calling to her mamma in a room on the second floor. Mr. Galbraith started to his room and as he passed the door he saw the child on the bed with its mamma.

"My mamma won't wake any more an' talk to me, Uncle Clay," the little one said. "You wake her."

Mr. Galbraith stepped into the room, thinking his sister-in-law asleep, but noting the deathly pallor on her face he ran to the home of Mrs. Willis Dunkerson and told her of his suspicions. Dr. A. R. Greenlee was called, but Mrs. Galbraith had been dead possibly five or six hours, he said.

Dr. Greenlee summoned Dr. O. H. Parker, deputy coroner. He found Mrs. Galbraith lying partly clad across her bed. Her shoes and stockings had been removed as if to prepare for a bath and all the soiled leinen in the house was in a laundry bag by the kitchen door. The neighbors told of a sick spell which Mrs. Galbraith had suffered in December last and suggested natural causes for her sudden death. In the lavatory in the bath room, however, Dr. Parker found a bottle labeled carbolic acid. The cork had been removed with a hair pin. The bottle was empty. Dr. Parker also said that the dead woman's lips showed traces of carbolic acid.

Mrs. Mary S. Galbraith was 34 years old. She was the wife of J. A. Galbraith, a traveling man for the National Surety Company. Her huysband left home last friday and is now somewhere in Texas. Wires were sent last night to try to locate him. There are two children, Gladys, 5, and Mercedes, 3 years old.

The neighbors said that the little ones were out at play all afternoon and some suggested that perhaps their mother had put them out. About 7:30 Mrs. Charles Parsons, a neighbor, saw them out in the cold and took them to a rear door and had just placed them inside when she heard the front door open. When she asked, "Who is that?" thinking it might be their mother, the little one replied, "It's Uncle Clay." She then ran on through the house and up to her mamma's room. Mr. Galbraith spent a mooment below before he heard Mercedes crying that she3 could not awaken her mother. The children were taken in charge by neighbors last night and have not yet been informed of their mother's death. An autopsy will be held today to determine the exact cause of death, but Dr. Parker said that from all external appearances and evidences found in the house he was of the opinion that Mrs. Galbraith's death had been due to carbolic acid poisoning.

"I will not be able to state until after the autopsy," he said, "whether death was an accident or suicidal."