This story appeared in the Ypsilanti Daily Press of Tuesday, February 18, 1908.
“Your papa’s troubles are now over,” said William Johnson, of 310 Florence Avenue, to his four year old son at 8:30 this morning.
Mrs. Johnson, who was in the room turned, and saw her husband draining the contents of a glass.
“What have you done?” she cried.
“Here is your bottle,” he answered, throwing a bottle which had contained carbolic acid to her, and in a few seconds he was writhing in terrible agony on the floor. Dr. H. B. Britton was called, but Johnson died within 30 minutes after he had taken the poison.
“He had often said he would commit suicide, but I did not think he would do it,” said Mrs. Johnson.
The family have had bad luck during the past 18 months. Mr. Johnson, who was 47 years old, worked in Detroit for the American Car & Foundry Co., but was injured by a plank falling on him, a year ago last July. Since then he has been practically an invalid, and on Mrs. Johnson fell the task of providing for the needs of her sick husband and four children. She washed and worked in factories, until her strength was broken down. The day after New Year’s she was taken to Ann Arbor, where she underwent a serious operation, only returning home a couple of weeks ago.
“We always got along by working hard,” said Mrs. Johnson, “but this winter we have had to have help from the city. I am behind with my rent about $15, and if I can catch up with that, will be able to take care of my children.”
The family now consists of the widow and her four children: Alice aged 14; Bessie, 9; Henry, 6 and Carl 4. They are almost destitute circumstances.