Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Archie Harris Robinson

Since I've been writing "Thriller Thursday" I think I see a mystery in almost every document I see, especially death records.

I recently located a death record for Archie Harris Robinson, son of Archibald Robinson and Susan Barrow Harris. Archie died in 1909 and I found a death record for him in Kentucky. Except he didn't die in Kentucky, he died of a gunshot wound in Colorado Springs, Colorado. On his 19th birthday.

For ages, that is all the information I had on Archie's death until quite recently when a search on Ancestry led me to an article about his death. I will say that until I found this information, I thought for sure Archie had died in a mining dispute, or after being robbed. My imagination taking over again.

The true was so much more compelling. The following is from the Colorado Springs, Colorado Gazette, September 28th, 1909:



Fires Bullet Into Brain at North Nevada Avenue Residence
Ill Health the Cause.

Despondent because of ill health, Archie H. Robinson, the 19-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Robinson of Louisville, Ky., committed suicide yesterday morning at 9 o'clock at the residence of J. K. Miller, 1215 North Nevada Avenue, by firing a bullet into his brain from a .32 caliber Iver Johnson Revolver. Robinson was rushed to the Glockner sanitarium, where the bullet was removed by Drs. Daniel J. Scully & J. R. Peabody. He died a few minutes later.

Robinson left a letter addressed to his parents and sister, Edith, saying:

    "Peace be with you. It is all my own fault."

When Robinson failed to appear at the breakfast table, a maid went to the his room on the third floor of the house to call him. She found him lying in a pool of blood, his head slightly under the bed, and the revolver on the bed. The bullet entered his head just above the right temple and was found under the skin at the back of his head. That no one heard the shot is not considered strange, as the other residents were assembled in the dining room on the ground floor.

Robinson came here almost a year ago. He was joined during the summer by his parents and sister, and they spent most of the summer at Glenwood Springs. Last week the father went east to attend a meeting of the board of directors of a New York street railway company, and the mother went to Cincinnati to place her daughter in school.

According to friends of Robinson, he has been morose and despondent for several weeks. The Robinson family is prominent in Kentucky financial and social circles.

I am not a gun person, but the unusual name of Iver Johnson made me do a Google search for a .32 caliber weapon. It's possible that Archie shot himself with the same type of gun that President McKinley was assassinated. I found this picture of a pre-1909 model.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Oh, how sad.

    I'm glad you found the truth - agreed it was more compelling than your musings had been.

  2. Interesting story, indeed. I'm always taken aback by the details imparted in old newspapers. Today's reporters would have whitewashed this story in order to be PC.

  3. Thank you for posting this newspaper article. Archie is in our family tree. I was just looking at the birth and death dates, followed up with the death certificate and wondered what the real story was. Thank you for uncovering the truth - so sad.