Fremont County, Iowa

The Ghost of The Hotel Del Coronado
"The True Story of Kate Morgan"

by Terry Girardot, 2001;
used with permission

Chapter Five
The Coroner's Inquest
Wednesday, November 30, 1892
"San Diego Union"

She Wanders Out Into the Storm to Die ~ Desperate Act of a Guest of Hotel del Coronado – A Revolver the Chosen Weapon

Night before last an attractive, prepossessing and highly educated young woman came down from her room at Hotel del Coronado, and between 9 and 10 o’clock stepped out upon the veranda facing the ocean, which was roaring at her very feet, lashed by the tempest that is sweeping over the whole coast. The lady was quietly and elegantly dressed in black, and wore only a lace shawl over her head. Nothing more was seen of her until, at 8:20 yesterday morning, when the assistant electrician of the hotel, passing by the shell walk at the end of the western terrace, saw the lady lying on the steps leading down to the beach. She was dead, and an American bull-dog revolver was lying within two inches of her outstretched hand. A ragged wound showed on the right temple, but the rain had washed away all stains of blood. Her body was soaking wet, stiff and cold. Deputy Coroner Stetson was notified, and he had the body removed to Johnson & Co.’s undertaking rooms in this city before many of the guests of the hotel were stirring.

The young woman came to the hotel on Thanksgiving day, and registered as “Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard, Detroit.” She was reserved and ladylike. Her clothing was fine, but she had no baggage excepting a small handbag. She kept her room most of the time, and was visited often by the housekeeper, who learned that she was afflicted with cancer of the stomach. She said she was 24 years old, and spoke often of her physical condition, and was noticeably despondent, sometimes seeming to verge on melancholia, as when on one occasion she told the housekeeper she was also troubled with heart disease, and despaired of recovering her health.

There are signs pointing to an attempt on her part to commit suicide on Monday afternoon by means of drowning in her bath. She told the housekeeper that she proposed to take a warm bath for two hours or more. The matron remonstrated, saying it would weaken her, but the lady persisted, and the bath was prepared. At the end of an hour, however, she appeared and sent for a bellboy to rub her head. It was then noticed that her hair was drenched to the roots, an unusual incident, and that her manner was nervous and unstrung.

Undoubtedly the lamentable suicide was the despairing act of one suffering from an incurable disease, perhaps induced depression of spirits caused by utter loneliness. It is understood that she was expecting a brother to arrive at the hotel, and she anxiously awaited his coming. Monday morning she inquired of a bellboy if he had arrived, and receiving the usual discouraging answer, she said: “Oh, no one comes to me any more!” She then nerved herself to the final act, burning all her letters and papers, except an envelope addressed to “Mrs. Lottie Anderson Bernard,” as if in reverie, her own name, “Coronado,” “Lillian Russell,” and “I don’t know any such man.” The dreary day perhaps added to her despondency, and at night she went out in the heart of the storm, within fifteen feet of the ocean’s edge, and took her life. In her purse was found something over $20, and she seemed in no stress for money. Having telegraphed ahead to a Mr. Allen at Hamburg, Iowa, and received an answer that she could draw on him for $50 on sight. Her bill at Coronado was not presented, as she had not been there a week. A telegram was sent to Mr. Allen, to notify her relatives there and at Detroit, and the authorities will await their instructions as to the disposal of the remains. Deputy Coroner Stetson also wired Coroner Kellar, at Escondido, and receiving no response, will impanel a jury this morning and hold an inquest.

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The Coroner’s Inquest

This is the official record of the circumstances surrounding the death of Kate Morgan. The inquest was open to the public, and apparently well attended. At one point, a spectator interrupted to correct a witness’s testimony. No attempt was made to correct misspellings in the original.


Over the body of Lottie Anderson Bernard, Deceased, before W. A. Sloane, Esq. Justice of the Peace and Acting Coroner.

The Coroner orders W. W. Whitson to report in short hand and transcribe the testimony and proceedings herein.

San Diego, Cal., Wednesday, Nov 30, 1892.

The following named gentlemen were called, and sworn to act as jurors in this inquisition, viz: E. A. Stevens, T. J. McCord, Frank Kemmer, William Cooper, A. T. Randall, J. S. Dowd, J. M. Spencer, L. Dampf and Milton Lamb.

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DAVID CONE is called, and testifies as follows (Not being sworn at this time.)

Q. What is your name?
A. David Cone.

Q. Where do you live?
A. At the Hotel del Coronado.

Q. Were you at the Hotel del Coronado night before last, and yesterday morning?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know any of the facts in relation to the finding of the dead body about the hotel?
A. I believe I was the first one to find it.

Q. State the facts in reference to the discovery of the body?
A. Every morning I commence at seven o'clock to trim the electric lights around the hotel. Yesterday morning at half past seven I was trimming the electric light at the north corner of the hotel, and when I came to the pole I was just going to climb the pole. I saw the body lying on the stone steps right close to the pole.

Q. Where abouts? What portion of the hotel was that?
A. I think it is the north corner. It is the corner of the hotel towards Point Loma.

Q. BY A JUROR: Next to the ocean?
A. Next to the ocean.

Q. BY THE CORONER: You say you found a body there?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who was it, do you know?
A. I have no idea.

Q. Man or woman?
A. Woman.

Q. What was the condition of it?
A. It was lying on the steps, with its feet towards the ocean, head on the steps, almost on the top step. There was blood on the step. The clothes were all wet, and the body seemed to have been lying there quite a while, to have been dead quite a while.

Q. The person was dead?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you find any weapons there?
A. There was a large pistol lying at the right hand side of the body.

Q. Did you discover any wounds on the person?
A. No, sir.

Q. You say there was blood?
A. Yes, sir, on the steps, on the right hand side.

Q. Have you seen the remains that are at the undertaking establishment of Johnson and Company in this City, at the present time?
A. I have, yes sir.

Q. Was it the same person whose body you found?
A. It is, to the best of my knowledge.

Q. You say you do not know who that woman was?
A. I never saw her until I ...

Q. Who else was present?
A. No one else.

Q. What did you do when you found it?
A. I started up towards the office to report, when I had not gone very far, when I met the gardner. I showed him the body, and I started off again to the office. I went to the office this time, and informed the chief clerk. Then I went back and trimmed the light at the corner, and went on about my work. That is all I know of it.

Q. You said you discovered a pistol lying there. Look at that pistol (showing pistol to witness) and see if you have ever seen that before?
A. I believe there was rust there, when I saw that pistol. That is the rust I saw. Yes, that is the pistol.

Q. Did you examine it, to see whether or not the chambers had been discharged?
A. No, sir. I did not touch it.

Q. You did not touch it at all?
A. No, sir.

(At this time, the witness was sworn, he not having been sworn at the beginning of his testimony, by oversight.)

The reporter reads the testimony as hereinbefore set out, to the witness.

Q. That statement is correct - that is your testimony in relation to the matter, under oath, is it?
A. Yes, sir.

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F. W. KOEPPEN, sworn, testifies as follows:


Q. Where do you reside?
A. Coronado.

Q. What is your occupation?
A. Gardner.

Q. Where were you on the morning of the 29th?
A. Well, in making my rounds, going around the hotel, I met the electrician, Cone. He said there was a dead body lying on the steps. Both together we went down and looked at the body. I said I was going to report it to the management. He went around one way, and I went the other. I met Mr. Rossier, and I told him, and both him and me went and looked at the body.

Q. The first time you saw the body, what did you see there?
A. Nothing, only the dead body lying on the steps. I did not take any notice of it until I went to report it to the management.

Q. Then you went and got the assistant manager, and returned?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What examination was made at that time?
A. We both looked at the body, and he suggested to cover it up with some cover. I went to the tool house and took a canvas and covered it up.

Q. What position was the body lying in?
A. Lying along on the steps in a sitting position, and after being dead dropped over on the stair way, and I noticed the pistol lying on one side, but I never went close, to see whether it was the same pistol or not.

Q. Did you notice any wounds?
A. I noticed blood, but I did not see any wounds.

Q. Is that the pistol?
A. Yes, but I could not identify the pistol.

Q. It looked like that?
A. Yes, some like that, but I did not touch it.

Q. Who took charge?
A. It was covered up, until the Coroner came and examined it.

Q. You were in charge of it then, were you?
A. Yes, sir, it was never touched until the Coroner came and took it away.

Q. Do you know who the person was?
A. No, sir, I never saw her in life, except to see her dead body - not to my knowledge.

Q. Have you seen the remains since her death, since when she was brought here?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is it the same person?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. The remains that are here, that were shown to you?
A. Yes, sir.

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FRANK HEATH, sworn, testifies as follows:


Q. What is your name?
A. Frank Heath.

Q. Where do you live?
A. 1516 Union Street.

Q. In the city of San Diego?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your business?
A. Clerk in the Ship Chandlery store, 624 Fifth Street.

Q. Have you seen the remains of the person whose body was viewed by the coroner's jury at Johnson's parlors?
A. Yes, sir, I have.

Q. Did you ever see that person in her life time?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. When and where?
A. I saw her day before yesterday.

Q. Where was she?
A. Between four and five.

Q. Where?
A. In the store where I am employed.

Q. What transactions did you have with her?
A. She asked me if I kept revolver cartridges.

Q. What did you tell her?
A. I told her we did not, and directed her where she could get them.

Q. Did she say anything as to what number she wanted?
A. No, sir, she did not.

Q. Or size?
A. No sir.

Q. Did you have any further conversation with her at all?
A. No, sir. She came in and spoke to me three or four times before I could understand her, she spoke so low. She seemed a little nervous.

Q. You are sure it is this same person, are you?
A. To the best of my belief it is.

Q. How do you identify her, from her appearance or from her clothing?
A. From her appearance.

Q. You do not know who she was?
A. No, sir, I never saw her.

Q. Do you know where she went after she left your place?
A. No, sir, I did not notice.

Q. Did you have any talk with anybody about her, after she went out?
A. No, I did not.

Q. No remarks made about her?
A. No, sir.

Q. You say at the time she spoke to you it occurred to you that she was nervous and excited?
A. Yes, sir, it did.

Q. What led you to that conclusion? Why did you form such an opinion as that?
A. Why, the way she walked and looked.

Q. How did she walk, and how did she look?
A. She walked very slow, as if she felt sick, and she looked very bad, in her general appearance. She was well dressed.

Q. You say you directed her to some place where she could get what she wanted?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where did you direct her?
A. To Mr. Chick.

Q. You do not know whether she went there or not?
A. No, sir, I do not.

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B. F. MERTZMAN, having been first duly sworn to tell the truth, and the whole truth and nothing but the truth, testifies as follows:

Q. What is your full name?
A. B. F. Mertzman

Q. What is your occupation?
A. Physician and surgeon.

Q. Where do you reside?
A. Twenty-second and E and my office is on Fifth Street.

Q. Were you called to view the remains of the lady who was said to have been found dead at the Hotel del Coronado?
A. Yes, sir, I was.

Q. When was that?
A. About half an hour ago.

Q. Just recently?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. At what place?
A. At the undertaking establishment of Johnson, of Sixth and E Streets.

Q. You made an examination of the remains there?
A. I made an examination of the remains, and found a gun-shot wound in the right temple region, just between the ear and the out edge of the eyebrow, and about half an inch high up above that line drawn here. The ball entered into the brain, and that is the only opening I could find - no exit at all.

Q. What direction did the shot enter then, into the head?
A. Well, I took a probe, and it entered almost at an angle of about that (indicated).

Q. A little forward and a little upward?
A. A little forward and a little upward, yes sir.

Q. Are you able to judge what occasioned the wound, can you tell that?
A. It was a gun-shot.

Q. Are you able to judge as to the size of the ball?
A. From the looks of it, I should say about 38 or 40.

Q. You think it was a ball about the size of that (handing pistol to witness)?
A. Yes, sir, about the size of that.

Q. Can you state what was the cause of death?
A. Yes, sir - probably internal hemorrage.

Q. BY A JUROR: You never saw her before, until you saw her a while ago?
A. I had never seen her before.

Q. BY ANOTHER JUROR: That ball passed through the head or just remained?
A. Just remained. It went in on the right side, that is all I could see.

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T. J. FISHER, sworn, testifies as follows:


Q. Your name is T. J. Fisher?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your occupation, Mr. Fisher?
A. Real estate.

Q. Where is your place of business, and residence?
A. The Coronado Hotel is my residence, and my place of business is in the hotel drug store.

Q. Do you know any of the circumstances attending the death of the woman?
A. I saw the lady first about Saturday, when she came into the drug store and walked up and down the floor two or three times; she seemed to be suffering. She asked me if I could get her something to relieve her suffering, and I referred her to Mr. Fosdick, the manager of the store, and Mr. Fosdick advised her to see a physician. She said that her brother was a physician, and that she expected him here. That was the last I saw of her until Monday. On Monday afternoon, she came in again, and walked up and down the floor, and looked as though she was still suffering. I said "It seems too bad for you to go over in town and you suffering from Neuralgia, in this stormy weather." She said "I am compelled to go. I forgot my checks, and I have got to go over and identify my trunks, personally." She went out, and that was the last I saw of her until I saw her dead, lying on the steps.

Q. Do you know her name?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is it?
A. L. A. Bernard.

Q. Do you know anything of where she was from?
A. No, sir, she didn't tell me where she was from. I know nothing more about that than what I saw in the newspaper.

Q. Is she registered at the hotel as a guest there?
A. I guess she was, I did not see her name there.

Q. You know nothing of her antecedents then?
A. Not a thing.

Q. And the next you saw of her was when she was lying on the steps, dead?
A. On the steps, dead.

Q. What time was that?
A. I think that was about half past eight o'clock in the morning.

Q. Monday morning?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who was present at that time?
A. Mr. Green, the young man at the hotel went with me.

Q. Did you observe anything in connection with the body that has not been testified to here?
A. Not a thing, sir.

Q. Do you know of anyone who does know what time the event of her death occurred?
A. No, from the information I could get, nobody seemed to know.

Q. Nobody heard the pistol shot?
A. No, sir.

Q. It was near the oceanside, the surf would have a tendency to prevent people for hearing?
A. Yes, sir, it was at the north corner, the surf probably would deaden the noise.

Q. BY A JUROR: You say you knew what her name was?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. How did you come to know?
A. I was told since; I have seen it in the newspaper.

Q. Is that the only way you know?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. BY ANOTHER JUROR: The only evidence you have of her malady is her statement?
A. That is all, yes, sir.

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HARRY WEST, sworn, testifies as follows:

Q. Your name is Harry West?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where do you live?
A. My folks live between Sixteenth and Seventeenth, on I, San Diego -2519.

Q. Are you in any employ, in that town?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where are you employed?
A. I work at the Hotel del Coronado, bell boy.

Q. Have you seen the remains of the woman whose body is at the undertaking establishment of Johnson & Company?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you ever see her before, alive or dead?
A. Yes, sir, I saw her alive.

Q. Saw her in her life time, when?
A. In her room, where she was sick.

Q. Where did she room?
A. She roomed at the hotel.

Q. When was that, when did you see her?
A. I seen her all the time, until I seen her the last time I seen her was half past six in the evening, that was night before last.

Q. Sunday evening?
A. Yes, sir, I seen her on the veranda.

Q. Which veranda?
A. Second floor.

Q. Where was her room, what part of the hotel?
A. North side.

Q. Do you know where she was found dead?
A. Yes sir, I know where she was found dead; I didn't see her.

Q. Was her room anywhere near there?
A. No, sir, it was on the opposite side.

Q. Do you know her name?
A. No, sir.

Q. Do you know anything about her, any circumstances, or the condition of her health?
A. No, sir, she only told me that she had the neuralgia very bad, she was very sick; she was expecting her brother to come down.

Q. Do you know how long she has been at the hotel?
A. I think she has been there since the 23rd.

Q. That is your information which you gathered from others, or is that your recollection of it?
A. I seen that upon the register.

Q. What is your recollection in reference to it, have you been in attendance there as bell boy since that time?
A. Yes, sir, I have been attending her room, ever since she got there.

Q. When was she taken sick?
A. She was sick the first day she was there, right along.

Q. So you attended her, constantly?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you have any conversation with her, in reference to her sickness?
A. No, sir, just that she had the neuralgia, that is all.

Q. Did she send you for any medicines or anything?
A. Not by me. Let's see, today is the 30th. On the 26th she sent me down to the drug store for an empty pint bottle and a sponge, and that is the only thing she sent me for. She sent me to the bar twice.

Q. What for?
A. Liquors. Sent me once for a glass of wine, and once for a whiskey cocktail. That was day before yesterday.

Q. That was day before yesterday?
A. Yes, sir. I fixed her a bath in the morning, and I got her a pitcher of ice water, and she told me she was going to stay in an hour and a half or two hours. About 12 o'clock she rang, and I went up there. Her hair was all wet, and she wanted me to rub it, and I did so. She told me she was so weak, she was standing on the side of the tub and fell into the tub, and got her hair wet, and I rubbed it, and got it dry.

Q. That was half past six, Sunday evening?
A. Yes, sir.

A BYSTANDER: Excuse me - I think the young man means Monday evening.

Q. When did the shooting occur?
A. Tuesday.

Q. Then that would be Monday evening?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What was her appearance and conduct, did she appear to be suffering from pain?
A. Yes, sir, she appeared to be suffering a great deal. She groaned a great deal, and slept most of the day. She would sleep a little while, and then wake up, and be groaning. She looked pale in the face.

Q. She said she expected her brother, did she say where from?
A. No, sir - she told me where from, but I do not remember the place.

Q. Do you remember the state?
A. No, sir.

Q. BY A JUROR: What time was it when she sent you for that liquor?
A. For the liquor?

Q. Yes?
A. That was day before yesterday, in the morning, about 12 o'clock, somewhere just about 12 o'clock.

Q. Did you take the money for it?
A. No, sir, I did not - charged it to the room.

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R. GOMER, sworn, testifies as follows:

Q. What is your name?
A. A. D. Gomer.

Q. What is your occupation?
A. I am engaged in the Hotel del Coronado, in the capacity of clerk.

Q. You are engaged there, and have been for several days past, have you?
A. Yes, sir, I have been there for six or seven weeks.

Q. Have you seen the remains that are at the undertaking parlor?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you identify them?
A. Well, the only means, of course, that I have of knowing her name, is the manner in which she was registered.

Q. What name did she go by?
A. Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard, Detroit.

Q. That is the way she registered, is it?
A. She did not register herself. I was not in the office at the time of her arrival, but the young man there registered for her, at her request. That is the name she gave him. Insert registration

Q. Is he present?
A. No, he is not here.

Q. You learned that from him subsequently?
A. Yes.

Q. What do you know of her condition and circumstances, during her stay at the hotel?
A. Well, all I know is that the young man spoke to me of her arrival, when I came to the office that evening. Said there was rather a peculiar person came in this afternoon, and I asked him to point her out to me, and along about between seven and eight o'clock she came along, and he pointed her out, and there was nothing said until the next morning, she came to me, asking my advice as to how she could get her baggage, which she claimed had been checked to San Diego, and the checks she said her brother had kept with him, and her brother had been called away from Orange, either to Los Angeles, or Frisco, she in fact did not know where.

Q. From Orange?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did she speak of having come here to this place from Orange?
A. That is the way her story begun, Orange, she said Orange; her brother was obliged to leave her, to remain there, or go to Frisco, she didn't know which, and that she came on alone from Orange, and that her brother would be along that afternoon. That was the day after her arrival, and every day she inquired if her brother had arrived. She claimed that her brother was Doctor Anderson, and that the initials were M. C., I am not sure about that.

Q. Did she state anything as to where he was, or as to where he had gone?
A. She didn't seem to know where he was.

Q. What do you know of her circumstances financially, whether she was under financial embarrassment?
A. After the boy came to the office Monday, and asked for whiskey, I thought it necessary for someone to see her. The housekeeper had been trying to induce her to call the house physician - rather, I insisted that the housekeeper should persuade her to call the house physician, and see just what her condition was, and the housekeeper was unsuccessful; she kept telling the housekeeper that her brother was a physician, and that it was not necessary to call a physician, but after this boy, who just testified, came to the office and asked for whiskey, and said the lady had fell in the tub and wet her hair, I went up to her room myself, and suggested first, that we call the house physician. She was in bed then covered up, and she was totally opposed to calling the physician. It was a very gloomy, dreary sort of a day, and she was on the east side of the house without any fire, and I suggested that she have a fire, and be made comfortable. She said No, she was very comfortable, as good as she could expect. She further told me that the doctors had given her up, that she had cancer of the stomach, and that her case was hopeless, but she told us in such an off-hand way that it did not appear suspicious to me, and I endeavored to find out something about her identity. On the table in her room were some letters. I could not find out the contents of them without picking them up, and of course that was out of order. The only thing I saw on the table were some envelopes, addressed to herself, and finally, after I found she was so much opposed to having the physician, I just put the question to her, if she had got her baggage over, and then I asked her if she was supplied with funds; that in her condition she must necessarily need some funds, and she said yes. Then I said to her "Wouldn't it be a good plan to telegraph your brother. She said "I do not know where to find my brother, I do not know whether he is at Los Angeles, or at Orange, or at Frisco. Then I said Is there no one else you could telegraph to for funds, and she suggested the name of G.L. Allen, Hamburg, Iowa, and at her suggestion I wrote a telegram, and sent it to Hamburg, and left her then, in the room, that was about one o'clock, or half past twelve, possibly on Monday. And then the last time I saw her after that, the next time, and last, was that evening about somewhere between seven and eight o'clock, she called at the office ...

Q. Now what day was this?
A. This was on Monday, she called at the office and inquired if there were any letters or telegrams for her. I said No, nothing, and went about doing something, and that was the last I saw of her until yesterday morning, this man done came to me and reported there was a corpse out on the ocean side of the house, and I immediately went out there, and of course discovered that it was this woman.

Q. You say you noticed letters addressed to her, on her table?
A. Just letters, envelopes, two or three possibly.

Q. Did you notice the address?
A. This same address.

Q. Lottie A ...
A. ... Bernard, Detroit.

Q. Has there been any reply, subsequently, to the telegram?
A. Yes, yesterday morning, as soon as the office opened, a telegram came from Hamburg, Iowa, signed by some bank, but I neglected to bring that telegram with me, and forget the name of the bank - saying that they would honor her draft for $25.00 show this to the bank. Then I immediately telegraphed to this same party that this person had suicided on the hotel grounds.

Q. Have you received any reply to that?
A. No, and advised them, at the suggestion of one of your assistants here, to telegraph the coroner. We have received no reply. It seems that some time Monday afternoon - in relation to the papers, the memorandum - she rang her bell, and the bell was answered by the boy, she asked for a box of matches, but he said if she only wanted a few, he had a few in his pocket. She made the remark that she wished to burn some papers, so that may account for the disappearance of anything of the kind.

Q. BY A JUROR: Was there a fire place in the room?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. All those envelopes were postmarked Hamburg, were they?
A. No, I saw nothing on her table. She received no mail while she was there. The envelopes I saw were evidently written by herself, and addressed to herself, Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard, without any street address, Detroit - for I was trying if possible to find out who she was.

Q. You say she said her brother's name was Anderson?
A. Yes, Doctor Anderson, and she told me in that conversation that he was a practicing physician in Indianapolis.

Q. You know nothing of the immediate circumstances of her death?
A. Nothing at all, except going there and seeing the body, and returning to the office.

Q. The house physician there, did he view the body at all?
A. The house physician that day was off hunting.

Q. Are you able to judge in any way as to how long she had been dead at the time she was found?
A. Well, no.

Q. How soon was it before the coroner reached there what time of day did he get there?
A. I think it was between seven and half past seven that it was reported to me, and I think it was along about half past nine, possibly ten o'clock when the body was removed. I am not sure as to the exact time.

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M. CHICK, sworn, testifies as follows:


Q. What is your name?
A. M. Chick.

Q. Where do you live, Mr. Chick?
A. At 1663 Sixth street.

Q. What is your business?
A. Gun smith, gun dealer.

Q. Have you seen the remains of the woman whose body is at the undertaking parlors of Johnson & Co.?
A. I have.

Q. Did you ever see her before?
A. I think I have.

Q. If so, under what circumstances, and where?
A. Well, it is a woman dressed a great deal like the one that came into my store about three o'clock Monday afternoon, and wanted to look at some pistols; said she wanted to get one, to make a Christmas present to a friend of hers. I showed her the pistols, and she selected one and bought it.

Q. What kind of pistol was it?
A. It was a 44 American bulldog.

Q. Examine that pistol, will you Mr. Chick?
A. It was one just like that.

Q. You would not be able to identify it positively?
A. No.

Q. Did you sell her any cartridges?
A. I sold her two bits worth of cartridges.

Q. Did you have any other conversation with her?
A. None, whatever.

Q. Was there anything in her appearance that attracted your attention particularly, or in her manner?
A. Not at all.

Q. That is all the conversation you had with her upon it?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. BY A JUROR: Did you load the pistol for her?
A. No, sir, she asked me how to load it, how it was loaded. I turned the cover back and showed her. I put it in a box for her, she wrapped it up and took it away.

Q. You, I understand, identified her positively?
A. No, sir, not positively; it looks a great deal like the woman, and like the clothes she wore, but I would not swear it was the same woman.

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W. P. WALTERS, sworn, testifies as follows:


Q. You have seen the remains of this woman?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. At the undertaking parlors - have you ever seen her before in her life time?
A. I could not tell, I did not see her face. She walked right past me, within a foot, and very slowly, and was dressed in black, and I noticed particularly that she had on what appeared to me to be a sealskin coat or sack, and rather long.

Q. Well, you speak of some woman who passed you?
A. Yes, sir, who passed.

Q. At what time?
A. On Monday afternoon somewhere along three or four o'clock, I did not know what time it was.

Q. Where was that?
A. At Chick's gun store.

Q. What did she do, in that connection?
A. She walked right straight past, she came right direct in the door, and walked straight to the show-case, until she came where the pistols were and then she asked for a pistol. Mr. Chick showed her one, she said she did not want a very high priced one, and she bought the pistol. She asked for some cartridges - that is, the woman who came in there - and then she asked Chick to show her how to load it. He opened the thing, showed it in, and took it out again. Then she took hold of the pistol, and pulled it, and says, "Isn't this hard to pull?" He said No, and he took hold of it and pulled "click", "click", "click". She took hold of it again and pulled, and it clicked, and then she asked to have it put away in a box, and wrapped up.

Q. Did you notice anything peculiar about her manner?
A. Why yes, she came in just as slow, and walked out straight, slow, again, and I remarked, I think, that woman - she is going to hurt herself with that pistol. I spoke to the man who was sitting there, and he thought the same thing.

Q. Do you know where she went from there?
A. She went south on Fifth street, and I stepped to the door, and asked a gentleman who was standing at the door where she went and he said she had went into the Combination, he thought. I stopped there a few seconds, and then I saw her go straight diagonally across to Schiller and Murtha's , and that is the last I seen.

Q. Does the dress this woman wore correspond to that on the person of the deceased?
A. The clothes I looked at there, yes sir.

Q. How were these remains dressed?
A. They had a black dress and a sealskin sacque or coat, or what appeared to me to be a sealskin, I do not know whether it was, and black, and rather long, longer than they usually wear them now.

Q. That is all you know in relation to the matter?
A. That is all I knew. I did not speak to the lady, she went past me so I did not see her face.

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H. J. STETSON, sworn, testifies as follows:


Q. You are the deputy coroner, Mr. Stetson?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you receive word yesterday morning that there was a dead person at the Hotel del Coronado, who needed the attention of the coroner?
A. I received word to come to Coronado, from the Coronado Hotel. I found the body there.

Q. What did you do in response to the message?
A. I went over and found the body covered, found the lady lying there covered with a tarpaulin. The undertakers came over on the next boat, and she was placed in the receiving box and brought to this City, and taken to Johnson & Company's.

Q. Did you form any judgment as to how long she might have been dead?
A. She laid as though she might have been dead at least six hours - six or seven.

Q. She was stiff and cold?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. You found the pistol there in the vicinity?
A. Yes, sir, that pistol was lying on the next step, the stone steps that go down to the surf, and her hand rested on the lower edge of one, and it had fallen out on to the edge of the next one below, and there was blood around and underneath it.

Q. You superintended the removal of her remains to the undertaking establishment?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. And they have been there ever since?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you make any examination of the effects in her room?
A. Yes, sir, I found the things that are right there. I found that valice, and on the table I found this envelope she had addressed.

Q. Just read it?
A. Denman Thompson, the Old Homestead. And "Frank” is written here four times, and "Lottie Anderson Bernard", and “Mrs. Lottie Bernard", "Lottie Anderson Bernard, Detroit", and then on this paper I found "I merely heard of that man, I do not know him". Here is an invitation - here is an invitation to the Hotel del Coronado, signed by Louise Leslie Carter, and Lillian Russell.

Q. What is the name on the handkerchief?
A. L-t-tle, I think it is, I can not quite make it out, but the last name is Anderson. She had a purse on her person, that contained $16.50, and there was a little ring in the purse, a plain ring, and the key to her valice. (Produces ring and purse.)

Q. Nothing else?
A. Nothing else, just some –

Q. That is the purse, is it?
A. Yes, sir; that is the purse.

Q. What other contents were there?
A. Just some handkerchiefs.

Q. Nothing that would throw any identity upon where she was from?
A. Not a thing. In the grate of the room it looked like as though quite a package of papers had been burned, it was all in ashes, you might say. Whether she made them for a fire or what they might have been you could not tell, but they had all been burned.

Q. Any night clothes?
A. Just one night dress was hanging in the closet. The bed had not been touched at night. It was all made up; the hat lay on the mantel, a bottle, and penknife. Yes, there was considerable medicine in there, a bottle of camphor and a bottle of alcohol.

Q. This large bottle here?
A. That is brandy, I think, or alcohol, and some quinine pills. Then there is a little piece of paper. I found a piece of paper that had been wrapped around a bottle of some kind. It says if it does not relieve you, you better send for the doctor. It was just signed "Druggist". It did not say where it was from.

Q. Did you receive information from the Clerk in the hotel, or some one else?
A. Yes, I received word - I received a telegram in the morning to come over to the Coronado immediately.

Q. I mean with reference to parties to whom you were to telegraph in reference to her case?
A. Yes, Mr. –

Q. What was the name, do you remember?
A. The gentleman who just left the stand here, the Clerk there. He telegraphed to I think it was Iowa, to that bank, and to these people to whom she had been writing, I do not know the name, he did the telegraphing. I asked him at the same time to just include for them to telegraph to the Coroner, and he said he would, but there has been no reply come.

Q. You have heard nothing whatever?
A. Not a thing, no sir.

Q. No trace of her friends?
A. No, sir.

Q. BY A JUROR: Have you been to the baggage office, to find out whether she had any there or not?
A. No, I have not been to the baggage, but she had no checks or anything put away, to know.

Q. She said her brother had the checks, but you do not know anything about whether she had baggage?
A. No, sir, I do not know anything about it, I have not been.

Q. BY MR. SLOANE: Have you made any inquiry at all about it to any of the baggage men?

MR. SLOANE: I believe, gentlemen, we have got all the testimony we can get. Unless there is some further inquiry you can suggest, I will submit the case to you. You can take the case and prepare your verdict. Here is a blank. You can fill it out in accordance with the facts. The jury, after deliberation, return the verdict which is on file in this matter.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In written hand below, it says, "I hereby certify that the foregoing transcript contains a full, true and correct statement of the proceedings had and testimony given in the within mentioned inquisition, and that the said transcript was mislaid while in my possession which is the reason for its not having been heretofore filed.

(signed) W. W. Witson, Reporter

Written by Terry Girardot, 2001;
Copyright held by Terry. All rights reserved.

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