Conrad Koehler

1858                236 Houston Street, New York, New York.[1]

1859                236 Houston Street, New York, New York.

Conrad Koehler (or Kohler)was recorded in two announcements.  The first appeared on April 19, 1859 in The New York Herald (New York, New York).  Coroners’ Inquest Yesterday.  Melancholy Case Of Suicide.—Conrad Koehler, a daguerreotypist, doing business at No. 236 Huston street, committed suicide on Sunday afternoon by taking cyanide of potash, under the following circumstances:—On the afternoon in question two ladies called at the deceased’s saloon and requested that he would take their likenesses.  One of the ladies, on being shown her daguerreotype, said it was an imperfect likeness, and refused to take it.  Deceased seemed somewhat annoyed about the matter, and wished they would call again the following day, when he would make an effort to please them.  The ladies then prepared to take their leave, and were arranging their toilet in the reception room when they heard a loud noise in the adjoining apartment.  On looking around they were shocked to see the artist lying upon the floor, apparently in the last agonies of death.  The alarm was promptly raised and every effort made to save the life of deceased, but without effect.  Deceased never spoke after he fell upon the floor.  Coroner Jackman held an inquest upon the body of deceased yesterday, when the evidence of Mrs. Koehler, explanatory of the sudden death of her husband, was adduced, as follows:—

Maria Koehler, residing at No. 236 Houston street, being duly sworn, deposes and says—Deceased was my husband; he was a daguerreotypist by profession; on Sunday I bought three cents worth of cyanide of potash, a drug which the deceased was in a habit of using in the process of taking likenesses; this was about three o’clock in the afternoon; as soon as I gave him the drug he took it and ate some of it.; I asked him “in the name of Heaven” what he did that for; he made no reply, but asked for some water; he immediately went to the water pipe and turning the faucet, put his mouth under it; as soon as I saw this transaction I informed the ladies who were in the reception room having their likenesses taken that they would have to call again, as the apparatus was broken; when I returned to the operating room my husband staggered and fell across the doorway; I asked him to speak to me, but he was unable to do so, and stared wildly at me; he never spoke afterwards; my husband held a very respectable position in Germany; he was a postmaster in the city of Bensheim Hesse Darmstadt; I have three children now living; I can assign no cause for the commission of the rash act.

John Fergnson, M. D., deposed that he made a post mortem examination of the body of deceased; the stomach was intensely congested, and its mucous membrane was softened and corroded, and easily removed with the handle of the scalpel.  The stomach smelled strongly of cyanide of potash; death was caused from the poisonous effects of the drug in question.

The jury in this case rendered a verdict of “death by suicide.”  Deceased was Forty-one years of age, and had been a resident of the United States for the past eighteen months.

The second announcement appeared on April 22, 1859 in The Daily Press (Cincinnati, Ohio).   

Suicide.—On Sunday afternoon two ladies called at the Daguerrean saloon of Conrad Koehler, Houston Street, New York, and had their likeness taken.  One of the ladies objected to her likenesses as not being accurate, and he requested her to call on Monday.  He then went into an adjoining room, and while the ladies were arranging their toilet they heard a fall as of a heavy body, and on looking into the room they saw the unfortunate Koehler lying in the agonies of death.  On the inquest, Koehler’s widow deposed that on Tuesday afternoon she purchased for her husband three cents worth of Cyanide of potash, a drug used by him in his art; as soon as he got it he art some of it, when she exclaimed “What did you do that for?”  Mrs.  Koehler then told the ladies her husband was not well, but before they left the saloon he fell as above described.  She could not assign any cause for the desperate act.  Koehler, who has been about eighteen months in this country, was post-master for a long time in the city of Bensheim, Hesse Darmstadt.

Conrad Koehler is listed in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry under Conrad Kohler as being active in 1858-1859.

[1] Craig’s Daguerreian Registry.

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