February 7, 1910



Must Prove His Allegations,
Which Legal Records
Alone Could.

The claim of Elmer C. Swope of Martinsburg, W. Va., that he is the son of the late Colonel Thomas Swope was the general topic of conversation yesterday among old friends of Colonel Swope, by whom it was ridiculed. They declared that Colonel Swope came here before the war, and that therefore the Eastern claimant was in error. They also insist that Colonel Swope was a bachelor, and that had he been married someone here surely would have known of it.

"I think that Elmer C. Swope is laboring under an hallucination," said Judge E. E. Porterfield, who was born and raised in Martinsburg. "I knew Elmer C. Swope when he came to our town a quarter of a century ago and went to live with his uncle, Hugh A. Frazier. Mr. Frazier was in the implement business and young Swope was then just out of age and took an active hand in the business. He was well liked and the business prospered.

"I left there over a score of years ago but have returned frequently for short visits. On these trips I have seen Elmer Swope, and have talked with him. In recent years he suffered business reverses, and lost much of his money. My brother, Joseph L. Porterfield, is in the real estate business in Martinsburg and I make sure that I would have heard something about Elmer C. Swope's claim before this were there anything to it."


The center of interest in the Swope case shifts this morning to a little room in the court house at Independence, where Coroner B. H. Zwart, assisted by Deputy Coroner Trugdon, will begin the inquest into the cause of death of the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope.

Here the witnesses on the several sides will be asked to tell the coroner's jury all they know about the last illness and death of Colonel Swope. The attorneys for the interested parties will be present. The coroner, his deputy and the members of the jury will ask questions of the witnesses. Whether Prosecuting Attorney Conkling will question the witnesses will be determined this morning. It is presumed by the attorneys for the Swope heirs that the prosecutor's office will ask some of the questions, either directly or through the deputy coroner.

Yesterday was a day of rest of those engaged in the case. The attorneys attended to private affairs and several of them took long motor rides in the afternoon.

Independence had many visitors yesterday. They began coming into the town early in the morning and most of them walked about the old court house and visited with those shopkeepers whose places were open. The people in Independence are surprised that the outside outside world should take so much interest in the Swope case. In fact, there are many of the residents who are not aware of the fact that an inquest is to be held this week. The persons who will attend the inquiry promise to come largely from Kansas City.

The testimony which will be heard today will be from the undertaker and his assistants who removed the body from the cemetery to the undertaking rooms at Independence, the sexton at the cemetery and possibly the doctors who performed the autopsy and removed the viscera. Other witnesses will be placed on the stand to prove the identity of the body.

On Tuesday it is probable that the members of the Swope family, the nurses and possibly the doctors will be heard. The experts from Chicago, it is thought likely, will not be heard until Wednesday. They are expected to arrive here Tuesday, however, and will confer with Mr. Paxton, the executor of the estate.

In the meantime the attorneys in the Dr. Hyde libel suit will rest. It is not expected that they will endeavor to take any depositions until after the inquest. One of the principal reasons for a delay is that they expect to attend the inquest and therefore will not have the time to give to examining witnesses.

It is understood that Detectives Harry Arthur and Joe Morris have been detailed by the police department to attend the Swope inquest. They will be there to assist the prosecutor.