BENEFACTIONS SWOPE HOBBY. ~ Judge John C. Gage Says He Talked of Them Forty Years Ago.

January 19, 1910

Judge John C. Gage Says He Talked
of Them Forty Years Ago.

The theory that Colonel Thomas H. Swope may have been poisoned to keep him from making a new will, devising $1,000,000 to Kansas City, or some charitable institution, is given little credence by Judge John C. Gage, life-long friend of the millionaire benefactor.

"If old Tom Swope was poisoned to prevent this will from being made, he would have been murdered years ago," said Judge Gage. "For the past forty years he has been talking of making a great bequest to Kansas City. About every time we would meet he would tell me what he intended to do. We used to get tired of this, and tell him we did not think he was going to give a cent to Kansas City.

"He did not speak in private of his intended bequests. He told many of his friends he expected to change his will. If there was a plot to kill him to prevent him making the new will leaving over a million to Kansas City that otherwise would go to his relatives, it would have been made years before Colonel Swope finally died.

"When Tom Swope was as poor as the other boys, and when when we thought he never had a show of becoming a rich man, he used to tell us that he intended to make a large bequest to Kansas City, at his death. It was one of his earliest ambitions. In those days we paid little attention to it."

Judge Gage and Colonel Swope roomed together, and occupied the same office at the opening of the war. The former had a fox hound to which his roommate became greatly attached.

"It was in 1862, when Kansas City was garrisoned by Union soldiers," said Judge Gage. "The dog was running along Missouri avenue with Tom. A Union soldier fired at the dog, shooting it through the breast. That was the only time I ever saw Tom really mad. He started after that soldier and chased him down Missouri avenue to Grand, then down Grand for several blocks. He was compelled to give up the chase when the soldier had winded him . The dog did not die, so Tom's wrath was somewhat appeased. Something would have happened, however, if he had caught that soldier."

Old friends of the "colonel" say that he seldom used "cuss" words. It was only when exceedingly angry that he would let out a "damn." He would jerk the word out short and preface each one by spitting.