This Proclamation was issued at the (now gone forever) S.R. Smith Infirmary in 1907.
It is regarding the murder of Dr. Charles Townsend, abstracts of newspaper accounts of the time follow below:
SAYS BELL THREATENED TO KILL DR. TOWNSEND; Policeman Tells of Statements from Prisoner’s Stepmother. SIGNIFICANT LETTER FOUND Bell Wrote His Brother to Pray for Him — His Photograph Identified by Staten Island Merchants
The efforts of the Staten Island authorities to fix the murder of Dr. Charles Wilmot Townsend upon John Bell, the trolley car conductor arrested on Monday in Brooklyn, proceeded along two lines yesterday. All Bell’s relatives were questioned in regard to his recent movements and his reported threat to avenge the death of his wife.
More facts which strengthen the theory of the police that John Bell shot and killed Dr. Charles Wilmot Townsend last Saturday morning in revenge for the physician’s failure to save Mrs. Bell’s life a year ago have been obtained.
It developed that only a few hours before Dr. Townsend was murdered in his home in New Brighton, Staten Island, Bell purchased a profusion of flowers and decorated the grave of his wife, although snow covered the ground.
It was also disclosed that for a year Bell carried with him a note written by Dr. Townsend on a druggist’s prescription blank, announcing that Mrs. Bell undoubtedly was due to die very soon. This note was in the suspect’s possession when he was arrested.
The district attorney expects to show conclusively that Bell spoke of the murder to a brother-in-law hours before the police issued a report concerning it. The report was written at 6 o’clock in the morning.
But now, far above the interest of the actual slaying of Dr. Townsend — for men are murdered every day — looms up the story of a white, oblong stone, which rests at the foot of Mrs. Bell’s grave in Cypress Hill Cemetery.
It is this stone, covered with flowers by Bell, even when the snow lay deep; decorated by him with lilies and roses only a few hours before Townsend was shot to death, that will be a mute witness against him, tending to indicate that he contemplated revenging the death of the woman.
It is to be shown that Bell had inscribed on the stone these words:
Revenge renews our happy love in heaven forever.
On these words may depend the prisoner’s life or death.