CHESTER, Mrs. C.

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CHESTER, Mrs. C. ( -1901), young bride who died in a fall on Santa Catlaina Island on a hike with her husband after taking an overdose of morphine.



In the News~

August 4, 1901 [LAH]: “Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. August 3. The tragic death of Mrs. C. Chester, whose body was found in a canyon about a mile from the beach at the south end of the island and west of Catalina Harbor, has very much disturbed the usually even tenor of summer life at Catalina. Mr. and Mrs. Chester had been only a week at the Isthmus, going there from Swanfeldt Camp, where they had spent several weeks. They were young and supposed to be bride and groom. On Wednesday afternoon they went for a walk, and when it grew dark and they had not returned, Camp Superintendent Toland became anxious about them, but thinking they had probably gone to the pumping station, did not make any search for them. On Thursday morning, however, their continued to absence resulted in the institution of a search, but ignorance of the route they had taken resulted in a great loss of time. Learning that they had not gone to the pumping station, the Isthmus people began a search in the hills, and finally saw moving on the crest of a distant hill the figure of a man. When they reached the place they found Mr. Chester in an apparently demented condition and he told of an accident which he said led to his wife’s death. They were walking, he said, on the edge of a precipice, when Mrs. Chester missed her footing and fell, hurting herself badly. She refused, so he said, to allow him to leave her for assistance, and he remained with her until she died. The body was found and brought to the Isthmus, where the inquest was held. There was no evidence of any accident, but the woman had evidently taken an overdose of morphine, to which she had become addicted through its use for heart trouble. She died, it is supposed, on Thursday night between 8 o’clock and and midnight. Mr. Chester had wandered over the hills all Thursday night and all day Friday. Mr. Chester fully recovered his mind, but is suffering from the nervous shock and fatigue.”


August 4, 1901 [LAH]: “Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. Aug. 3 — 'Came to her death by an overdose of morphine; cause unknown', was the verdict of the coroner's jury in the case of Mrs. C. Chester, whose body was found in a canyon on the west side of the island yesterday afternoon. The inquest was held at the Isthmus last evening, and immediately after the finding of the jury the woman's remains were interred in the little cemetery in Cherry Valley, in the vicinity of the Isthmus camping ground. C. Chester, the woman's husband, was the only witness. Though he tried to conceal the fact, it appeared from his testimony that Mrs. Chester always carried morphine and that she became addicted to the use of the drug, as has been stated, in taking it for heart and stomach affections. The couple started out Tuesday afternoon for a walk over the hills. She slipped, he stated, and gave herself a strain and swallowed the powder to alleviate the pain. When she began to feel relieved she sent him to the beach to see if they could get out of the canyon, and when he returned he found she had taken an overdose and was dying. She begged him not to leave her and he did not try to go for help. Chester confessed that he also used the drug and took a dose after his wife died. Had she left a sufficient amount, he said, he would have taken enough to kill himself. He started back to the Isthmus and wandered over the hills, alternately walking and resting until he was found Thursday evening. Frank Cochran and the first party of men who went to Avalon, found the body, carried it from the canyon to the boat and took it around to the Isthmus. The woman died about 8 o'clock Wednesday evening. The couple came from Seattle to Los Angeles, where they remained about two weeks before coming to Catalina. They were laboring people, and had no means aside from their combined earnings. The jurors were C. A. Wilson, foreman, A. R. Hollerook, John Frates, W. A. Jacquer, G. R. McLeord and Olaf Sundillins.”