Article:Business Reverses Cause a Rash Act - 24 Apr 1902

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Business Reverses Cause a Rash Act
Title Business Reverses Cause a Rash Act
Publisher Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette
Date Unknown
Family(s) Gauss
Needs annotation: Yes

Business Reverses Cause a Rash Act.

William Theodore Gauss, treasurer and assistant secretary of the Elkton Consolidated Mining company, attempted to commit suicide at his boarding house, at 228 North Cascade avenue, yesterday afternoon. The chances are that he will succeed in his purpose, although he has a fighting chance for recovery.[1]

The act was caused, it is said by private financial troubles. His Elkton accounts are perfectly straight, it is said, and he is said to be square in all other matters in which he was interested. Heavy bligations wh9ch he could not eet caused a fit of despondency which, it is thought, culminated in a fit of delirium and provoked him to the rash act.

Locked in His Room.

The shots were fired between 3:30 and 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Mr. Gauss had locked himself in his room and had undressed himself and gone to bed. The inmates of the house heard the shots, which were followed by a scream from the man, who was evidently in great agony. Some gentlemen boarders called Dr. Hutchings and Dr. Mayhew and notified the police and the sheriff's office. Dr. Richardson, the county physician, and Deputy Sheriff Dayton arrived at the house together and were the first persons on the scene. They immediately ascended to Mr. Gauss' room, and found the door locked. Mr. Gauss called out that he would kill the first person who entered. Notwithstanding his treat, Mr. Dayton and Dr. Richardson boke the door in and entered.

They fwound[sic] Mr. Gauss lying in bed with nothing but his night shirt on. On the cover just below his hand was a 38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. Mr. Gauss was looking as though he resented the intrusion, and it is said that he looked as though he would have used the revolver on the county officers had he had the strength to reach his hand down to the gun.

Location of the Wounds.

Shortly after the arrival of Dr. Richardson and Mr. Dayton, Dr. Hutchings and Dr. Mayhew arrived. the three physicians made a hurried examination and found that Mr. Gauss had shot himself twice, one bullet entering above each breast. Examination showed that a third shot had been fired, but the bullet evidently went wild and lodged in the wall. It is supposed that this shot was fired at the back of the head, but was poorly aimed.

Mr. Gauss' two sons, Carl and Theodore, were quickly summoned, and to them the wounded man stated that he had left letters which would explain everything. It is understood that there were two of these letters, one of which was addressed to the older son, Carl, and one to Mr. Gauss' brother-in-law, Dr. Graham, of Denver. What their contents were could not be learned.

Dr. Solly joined Drs. Hutchings and Mayhew in conference over the wounded man, and everything possible was done to save his life. Upon the first entrance of the officers into the room Mr. Gauss remarked: "Am I going to die? I hope I have done a good job." His intentions to commit suicide are beyond dispute.

Elkton Not Involved.

As soon as the news of Mr. Gauss' act reached the officers of the Elkton company a hurried examination of his books was made. President Bernard then made the following statement:

"Mr. Thatcher and I have examined Mr. Gauss' books and find everything straight. Every cent of Elkton money is accounted for. He is not short."

When asked whether the recent decline in Elkton was at all responsible for Mr. Gauss' reported losses, Mr. Bernard said:

"Mr. Gauss did not own a share of Elkton, and never traded in that stock."

Vice President De La Vergne, who is also manager of the Elkton company, stated that he believed Mr. Gauss was straight in his accounts. He waid that he new Mr. Gauss was hard pressed and that he and Dr. Graham of Denver had secured him the Elkton position to help him out of his troubles. Mr. De La Vergne expressed great sorrow at Mr. Gauss' act, which was first announced to him by the Gazette reapresentative. Mr. Bernard and Mr. Thatcher also spoke with sorrow of the act of their fellow official. The hope that he would recover was expressed unanimously.

Act Was Deliberate.

It is said that Mr. Gauss had been ill for the past two days and that yesterday morning he remained in his room and refused to eat any breakfast. One or two who knew him personally state that he has been despondent for some time but that during the last two or three days of last week he was very cheerful and acted as though his mind had been relieved of a great burden. It seems clear that his act was premeditated and deliberate.

Mr. Gauss has a family of one daughter and two sons. Mrs. Gauss and Miss Gauss were in Denver at the time of the shooting. They have been in Denver all winter visiting Mrs. Gauss' sister, Mrs. Graham, wife of Dr. J. W. Graham of that city. They intended to come to Colorado Springs for permanent residence again on May 1. As soon as was possible the news of Mr. Gauss' act was wired them in Denver. Mrs. and Miss Gauss arrived here at 10:30 last night, and were accompanied by Dr. Graham and Dr. A. T. Wellington[sic][2] who is a brother of Mrs. Gauss. Dr. Wellington[sic] immediately entered into consultation with Dr. Hutchings, who was watching the wounded man at the time of their arrival, and took charge or Mr. Gauss for the night, relieving Dr. Hutchings, who retired for the night, but left orders to be called whould any change take place in Mr. Gauss' condition.

=Statement of Physicians.

At a late hour last night the wounded man was resting fairly easy, but with prospects of dying before daylight.

Dr. Hutchings made the following statement last night concerning the injuries:

"One bullet entered the right breast just below the collar bone. This bullet has not yet been located, but we think it passed above the lung and lodged somewhere in the back. The condition of the patient would not permit us to hunt for it.

"The other bullet entered below the collar bone on the left side and glanced down the left arm. It did not touch the lung. Mr. Gauss is bleeding internally, but I do not think any large arteries have been touched. the chances are all against him, but it is possible that he may recover."

Mr. Gauss was very weak last night and his pulse hovered around 150. Dr. Hutchings stated that the pulse was very rapid and weak. the wounded man is not bleeding externally, but it is thought he is bleeding internally. Every effort was made to keep him alive until his wife and daughter could arrive. This was accomplished, and when Dr. Hutchings left last night it appeared as though the patient might live until morning.

The Gauss family is well known here. They have lived in the city for about four years, and for some time lived just north of the college campus. Miss Gauss attended Colorado college one year, but later went too Radcliffe, from which she graduated last spring. Carl Gauss, the elder son is employed in the First National bank, and Theodore Gauss, the younger son, is employed by the Shove Aldrich company. For several years Mr. Gauss was at the head of the brokerage house of W. T. Gauss & Co., and was always highly respected as a man of integrity. He came here from Boston and was quite largely interested in Cripple Creek stocks before coming here.

Mr. Gauss is a man about 52 years of age. He was born in St. Louis where the family is well known and where he was a prominent business man. His father before him was a prominent business man of that city and his grandfather, Carl Frederick Gauss, was a famous German explorer. One of the German vessels was named Gauss i honor of the present Mr. Gauss' grandfather.

It is said that the low condition of the Cripple Creek market and losses on the eastern markets left Mr. Gauss in bad financial condition which brought on the worry which prompted him to his rash act. Those who know him state that he was the sort of many who worries greatly over his debts and was so honorable that he could not bear the thought of failing to meet an obligation.

William T. Gauss, who tried to commit suicide on Monday, is still alive and seems to have a chance to recover. He rested fairly comfortably yesterday and held his own all day.

Mr. Gauss is still too weak to permit of an operation to extract the one bullet which was located in the left arm or to hunt for the other bullet, which has not yet been located. Mr. Gauss is not yet past the danger point and the chances are against him, but the fact that he has held up so long is a good indication that he may pull through. The physicians watched the patient closely yesterday and did all they could to stimulate him and permit nature to take her course.

Word from the sick bed last night was to the effect that Mr. Gauss was still holding his own. No arteries have been severed, and it is believed that the internal bleeding is not as great as was at first supposed.

Nothing further could be learned yesterday concerning the immediate reason for the act which nearly ended Mr. Gauss' life. A further examination of the Elkton company's books showed that Mr. Gauss, who was treasurer of the company, was not short a cent, or at least this is the statement made by the officers of the company.


  1. He did recover
  2. Should be "Worthington".
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