Sweethearts, sidewalks, and … carbolic acid

Another sad story, this time, about my grandfather’s brother – my great uncle, although I never had the opportunity to meet him. My dad sent me the clipping from the Warren Tribune (Warren, Ohio), dated June 25, 1914, with the heading:
YOUTH SUICIDES BEFORE GIRL – Albert Osmer of W. Farmington, Aged 20, Drank Carbolic Acid in Fit of Jealousy Last Night..

The article pretty much tells the story:

Albert Osmer, aged 20, employed as a teamster on the good road works here, committed suicide about 8 o’clock Wednesday night by drinking carbolic acid. The act is supposed to have been committed in a fit of jealousy.

For some time past the young man has been keeping company with Miss Lulu Walker of this village. Wednesday night he met the girl and her mother on the street here and stopped to talk with the girl. Evidently they had some words and he threatened to take his life. As the girl turned to join her mother, who had walked up the street, he drew a bottle of carbolic acid from his pocket and drank of the contents.

As he fell to the walk the girl’s screams brought assistance and he was carried to the porch of C.E. Stevens’ home. Medical aid was immediately summoned but he died within a few hours.

Young Osmer’s home was about two miles north of the village.

He is survived by his parents, one brother and five sisters. Addison, of Warren, Miss Belle and Mrs. Carrie Montgomery of Warren, Mrs. Oliver Stoner, and Mrs. Hattie McDonald of Nelson, and Mrs. Edith Robinson of North Bristol.

He was a young man of a large acquaintance both in the village, and the township and was generally liked. He has kept company with Miss Walker for some time and it is rumored they had trouble before and that he made threats to end his life. In view of these former threats, the girl gave no particular attention to the threat that night.

Osmer purchased the acid at the drug store here Wednesday morning, claiming he was going to use it to bathe a sore on the leg of one of his horses.

young brothers, Addison and Albert Osmer


  1. It seems he was determined to kill himself, if not then, then later. What strikes me though is the detail of the story. It sounds almost gossipy by today's standards, yet this is the information that brings our ancestors' lives into focus. Thanks for posting this story.


  2. Umm… sounds a little like Romeo & Juliet, except this “Juliet” didn't finish her leading role 🙂 Man, can you imagine that kind of deep feeling… and it not being returned? God rest his soul. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I kind of have a macabre fascination with carbolic acid suicides. I’ve read several and they just seem so tragic. I think it’s probably a combination of the fact that any suicide is tragic plus the style that newspapers wrote in when that method of suicide was more common. Thanks for sharing.


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