Clarence Price (29 Jun 1867 – 24 Sept 1912) was the third of four children born to Charles Thomas Price (1833-1902) and Mary Ellen Howard White Price (1828-1910). Clarence was my great grand uncle on my father’s side. He lived a seemingly ordinary life…up until his death, that is.
Clarence married his first cousin Ida Madora Price (1868-1927) on 11 Oct 1893 at the Washington, DC home of her uncle, Jim Carlisle. A notice of the wedding was in the Montgomery Sentinel newspaper. * Clarence and Ida had a son, Wilford Price, in March 1899. Wilford passed that same month for reasons unknown.
The couple was living in Montgomery County in 1910 according to the census, and Clarence worked as a merchant in a grocery store alongside two of his wife’s siblings who were also his first cousins.
Clarence died on 24 Sept 1912 at 45 years old. According to the death certificate he died of carbolic acid poisoning by suicide. His suicide was also noted in the Montgomery Sentinal.* Not so seemingly ordinary anymore, is he!
When I was researching this family line in the 1980’s, I became acquainted with Mrs. Elgin of Poolesville, Maryland. She was the wife of Charles W. Elgin, Sr. who was the mayor of Poolesville at that time. Mr. and Mrs. Elgin were active historians of Poolesville and graciously helped many people with researching that part of Montgomery County.
According to Mrs. Elgin Clarence was working at his uncle’s store, and he was caught stealing money. Instead of facing up to what he’d done, he locked himself in the outhouse and drank carbolic acid (aka phenol).
From what I’ve read carbolic acid poisoning is a terrible way to die. Perhaps it was just the first thing he could get his hands on.
When I told my father this story, he wasn’t surprised. Dad was raised by his grandfather, Montgomery Price, brother of Clarence. Dad said that whenever Clarence’s name came up, everyone looked embarrassed and ashamed and the subject was changed quickly. He said he knew it had to be something bad.
*Excerpts from the Montgomery County Sentinel newspaper can be found at the Montgomery County Historical Society in Rockville, Maryland.
Photo By Valag. Here’s a link to it: Valag