Camillo, “Carl,” was the brother of my great grandfather Edmund Schletter. Sadly, he committed suicide on 1911. I found numerous newspaper articles related to his passing and his story was picked up in newspapers across the United States. He had been seperated from his wife and son for years. Alfred, his son, was the owner of Schletter’s Pharmacy on Long Island for many years.
Below are a few of the articles published after his death, including German language newspapers….
The Mathews (Virginia) Journal, July 27, 1911
Left $25 For Funeral Feast.
NEW YORK, Special. Despondent because his wife and son, with whom he had quarreled several months ago, would not consent to a reconciliation, Carl Schletter, a cigar maker, fifty-five years old, Tuesday hanged himself from the post of his bed in his room at No. 14 Fayette Street, Williamsburg. Some hours later he was found dead. He had bequeathed all of his valuables to an old friend, a Mrs. Cella Doell, of 1447 De Kalb Avenue, and set aside $25 with which his friends were to make merry and feast after he was cremated.
New York Herald, Wednesday, July 19, 1911
ENDING LIFE, GIVES $25 FOR GAYETY
Before Strangling Himself Once Wealthy Man Provides Money for Music and Cheer for Friends.
Carefully arranging his very small store of worldly goods on a table in his room and setting aside his last $25 with written instructions that the money be spent by his few remaining friends in music and refreshments after his funeral, Carl Schletter, a cigarmaker, strangled himself yesterday in his furnished room, at No. 14 Fayette Street, Williamsburg.
Schletter was fifty-five years old. Ten years ago he was in prosperous circumstances. Then came reverses and with them domestic troubles, which he had tried in vain for years to straighten out. His wife and son left him and would not return.
Recently Schletter told his friends that he did not know how much longer he could stand the strain of his lonely life.
“But,” he said, “because I am miserable and have had misfortunes I do not want my friends to grieve for me. I want them to remember that when I go I am going to rest and peace, neither of which I have had since I lost my wife and boy. I want my friends to rejoice with me when I leave my troubles behind me.”
Schletter’s friends did not fully understand until yesterday just what he meant [missing text]
[missing text] … pear his landlady forced the door and found her lodger dead on the floor, the cord of a window shade tied tightly about his neck.
On a table were Schletter’s last $25, and with it a few lines stating that is was to be spent for music and refreshments after his funeral. He requested his friends to remember him as a jolly fellow, not as a despondent broken man. He also asked to have his body cremated.
Schletter’s friends have arranged to carry out his programme literally by spending his last few dollars on an evening of gayety.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York. Tuesday. July 18, 1911
LEAVES MONEY FOR “WAKE”
Schletter Committed Suicide, but wanted Friends to Have a Good Time.
Camillo Schletter, 55 years old, lodging at 14 Fayette street, committed suicide this morning as a result of melancholia brought on by a dream of former happiness with his wife from whom he had been long separated. He left an interesting will in which he provided for merrymaking and music after his funeral for his friends.
Schletter had come over from Germany thirty years ago and had been a prosperous cigar manufacturer until the panic of 1905 ruined him. Since then he had to work for others. He had separated from his wife for years but apparently was always fond of her. Sunday night he dreamed of their courtship in the old country, which made him melancholy all the net day.
This morning Benjamin Schulz, with whom Schletter lived, finding that he had not arisen at 10:30, broke in his door in company with Officer James Chrystal of the Hamburg avenue station. They found Schletter in bed, strangled with a cord, the body still warm. By the time Dr. Doyle of St. Catherine’s Hospital could reach the house, the man was dead.
On the table was a package with a note directing that it be given to Mrs. Cecile Doell of 1447 DeKalb avenue. Mrs. Doell is the secretary of Branch 6 of the “Benevolent Order of the United States for the Propagation of Cremation” of which society Schletter was a member. In the package were membership cards and due books of the association and a letter saying” “Cannot stand the pain any longer.”
The man had $50 in the books of the society. He had left a will in the so called “will book” of the society in which he directed that the money be spent as follows: “50 to the undertaker for cremation and the use of one carriage! $5 to Mrs. Doell for seeing to the arrangements and $25 for refreshments, music and lunch and a general good time for his friends after the funeral.” These instructions will be carried out and the luncheon will be at the Labor Lyceum, Willoughby and Myrtle avenues after the funeral services.
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