Male 1880 - 1898  (18 years)

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  • Name GEHRIG, Leroy 
    Born 1880  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Census (desc) 1880  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Philadelphia Inquirer March 10, 1898

      Frightful Tragedy at Millersville in Which Two College Boys Figure
      After Calling on Normal School Girls the Shooting Took Place

      Special to The Inquirer
      Lancaster, Pa., March 9 - A profound sensation was created in the village of Millersville, this county, this morning by a shooting affair, in which two lovesick students of Pierce Business College, Philadelphia, figured, and as a result of which one was killed by his own hand and the other seriously if not fatally injured. The victims are Roy Gehrig, a son of H. H. Gehrig, a wholesale beer bottler of Milton, Pa., and William B. Davis, son of John H. Davis, a coal operator of Mt. Clair, Schuylkill county. The former is eighteen years old and the latter nineteen years.

      Last evening the young men left this city for Millersville. They secured accommodations at the Black Horse Hotel, and nothing was heard of them until 8 o'clock this morning, when Mrs. Frank Hoak, proprietress of the hotel, was startled by hearing pistol shots. Immediately afterward Davis, covered with blood, rushed into the bar room and shouted, "My God, I'm shot. My chum shot me." He had been shot by Gehrig three times, in the right wrist, in the left temple and the mouth. He received medical attention at once and later was brought to St. Joseph's Hospital, this city.

      Upon entering the student's room Gehrig was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor, with a bullet hole in the left temple. He was breathing with difficulty and expired in a few minutes. Before the coroner's jury Davis testified that he, in company with Gehrig, called upon Miss Annie Holmes and Miss Alice Cummings, pupils at the Millersville Normal School, last Saturday. Another visit was decided upon and Gehrig, it is said, pawned a diamond pin in Philadelphia to raise the necessary cash. The two came to Lancaster yesterday, and went to Millersville in the evening to make another call on Miss Holmes and Miss Cummings. They returned to the hotel at a late hour and at once went to their room.

      Gehrig was restless during the night and this morning when arising he drew a revolver and began firing on his companion, who was in bed. As Davis leaped out of bed and rushed from the room he saw Gehrig turn the revolver on himself and inflict the fatal wound. Gehrig left a letter in which he said: "We are dead in love with Alice Cummings and Annie Holmes, and not being able to see them, and they keeping away from us, we resolved to take our life. My name is Roy Gehrig, of Milton, Pa., and the little fellow is William Davis, of St. Clair. Please notify our parents at once."

      Davis says he knows nothing of the note, and denies there was any compact to commit suicide. From what can be learned it seems that Gehrig, who was introduced to the girls by Davis, was desperate in love with Miss Cummings and that he and Davis had a dispute over her. Gehrig then, it is supposed, decided to kill Davis and then take his own life, and wrote the letter to make the affair appear like a double suicide. Miss Cummings is from this city, and Miss Holmes from St. Clair.

      The jury rendered a verdict that Gehrig came to his death by shooting himself with suicidal intent, after shooting and endeavoring to kill his companion. Davis' condition is serious and the X-rays will be used to ascertain the location of the bullets. His father arrived at the hospital this afternoon and an affecting scene occurred between the two. Both of the young men were well known by the students and teachers at Pierce's Business College, 917 Chestnut street, this city, where Gehrig had been a student since last September and Davis since January. It was learned on inquiry there from one of the professors that Gehrig left the school on Friday, March 4, and returned the next Monday for his belongings. Davis had been a regular attendant up till 3:30 O'clock Tuesday afternoon, excepting a few days during last week, when he was home for a short vacation.

      The teachers at the school said Gehrig, who is 18 years old, was a rather morose fellow, little inclined to frivolities, but rather given to keep to himself, Davis being about his only intimate associate. Davis, on the other hand, who was 19 years old, was said to have been of a rather lively disposition, but not romantic in the least. He was a bright fellow and stood well in his class. From further information obtained from a relative of young Gehrig, at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Nancy Overpeck, with whom he lived at 1344 Spring Garden street, during his stay in this city, it was learned he had spent several days of last week at St. Clair, at the home of Davis, who was there at the same time. Gehrig returned toward the end of the week and made all preparations for his return to his father's home at Milton, where he was to take a position with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He bid his aunt and relatives good-bye and left the city at noon, supposedly for his home, but it is supposed he and Davis had planned the trip to Millersville.

      Gehrig, his cousin says, was never in that town before, unless it was last week, when he must have met the girls for the first time. His cousin says he can't believe Roy did the shooting unless the note proves to have been written by him, because he never had a revolver and was rather indifferent to girl's society. He was passably studious and did not care to run about very much. Davis had only been at Roy's aunt's house once and they were not, they said, favorably impressed with him.

      From a picture the family possesses Roy was a finely built and strikingly handsome boy. His father is a very well-to-do brewer at Milton, where he has a fine residence. Roy was a favorite and only child, so the father had planned to get him the position with the railroad that he might live at home. Davis' father is a wealthy coal operator, who may be remembered to have lost by fire some new bunkers he built a few years ago. A. Guy Reber, employed in the Reading Coal and Iron Company's office in the Terminal, was a sort of guardian for young Davis, but could throw no light on the tragedy.

      Young Gehrig's Father Notified
      Special to The Inquirer
      Milton, Pa., March 9 - A dispatch was received today by H. H. Gehrig, of this city, stating that his son, Roy, had committed suicide at an early hour this morning at the Black Horse Hotel, Millersville, where he was visiting his school friend, William B. Davis. Gehrig had graduated at the Pierce Business College, Philadelphia, two weeks ago and had always borne a good reputation. His parents are well-to-do people here. The father left with a local undertaker this afternoon to bring home the remains.

      Philadelphia Inquirer March 12, 1898
      College Student Has About Passed the Danger Point

      Special to The Inquirer
      Lancaster, March 11 - The condition of William B. Davis, the college student who was shot by his chum, Roy Gehrig, at Millersville, on Wednesday, is considerably improved tonight and the physicians think that he has passed the danger point, as the chances of erysipelas or lock-jaw developing are now very remote. His father returned to his home in St. Clair today and his mother took her husband's place at the son's bedside. Davis told a number of persons the story of the tragedy and his narratives are identical in every respect with his testimony before the coroner's inquest. He appears to be anxious to talk about the affair and has had to be checked for fear of overtaxing his strength.

      Courtesy of Tom Robinson
    _UID BAAB1B2F483FD04FB9DE5D8B30A448100089 
    Died 9 Mar 1898  Millersville, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cause: of suicide 
    Person ID I4152  Milton Families
    Last Modified 27 Feb 2013 

    Father GEHRIG, Henry Hougendoubler,   b. 17 Sep 1852, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother RYAN, Anna Elizabeth,   b. Mar 1851, York, York, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 4 May 1875  [2
    Family ID F1240  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S151] Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 March 1898.

    2. [S92] Marriage Record, St John´s United Church of Christ, Mifflinburg, Union Co., PA.