William Townsend Pine

Love and Whiskey

From the “Ashland Tidings” dated Friday 14 August 1891

Monday morning [10 August 1891] about 6:30 o’clock W. T. Pine, who has been running the American restaurant near the Ashland depot for a few weeks, committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth while at the house of Mark Armstrong in Medford, Pine having gone down there from here on Sunday evening’s train. Coroner Parson was notified and at once started for Medford to hold an inquest. A jury was soon empaneled, several witnesses examined and after due deliberation the coroner’s jury rendered the following verdict:

“We do find that the deceased was named W. T. Pine, was a native of New York state, aged 27 years, and that he came to his death voluntarily and with his own hand from a gunshot wound in the mouth and that he died instantly.”

C. M. Harvey, J. F. Fryer, George W. Coulter, James R. Howard, I. A. Merriman, E. Worman.

From the evidence brought out at the coroner’s inquest, and from other circumstances known to different people on the outside, it is plainly shown that love and whiskey were the causes that led Pine to take his own life, and it is generally believed that if he had carried out his intentions as he had planned, he would also have ended the life of the unfortunate object of his misplaced affections, Miss Josey Armstrong, whom Pine had been desparately infatuated with for several months, but who has steadily refused to marry him as he desired.

Pine left Ashland for Medford on Sunday evening’s train. He went up to the Armstrong home there and wanted Josey to go to Ashland that evening with him in a buggy, it having been agreed between the parties that she should go to Ashland to work for Pine at his restaurant. Pine was so drunk though that he could scarcely stand and Mrs. Armstrong refused to allow her daughter to go that way saying she would go up on the morning train. He left the house and did not return until 5 o’clock next morning, when he came and knocked at the door and asked to be admitted. Mrs. Armstrong let him into the house and inspite of her remonstrance he went straight to the room where the girls, Josey and her sister, were asleep, and sat down in a chair by the side of the bed. He wakened the girls who asked him to get out of the room so they could get up as they were afraid of him. By this time it was only a few minutes until 6:30 o’clock. He refused to go out telling the girls they could lie in bed “until half past six.” They ran out of the room leaving him there. Shortly a shot was heard. Pine had placed the muzzle of a pistol in his mouth, and killed himself instantly. Coroner Parson was notified at once and held an inquest. Dr. R. Pryce being the examining physician. Pine’s body was buried with little ceremony at Medford.

Pine came to Ashland about a month ago and started up the American restaruant near the depot, renting the building from R. T. Mellus, and the furniture, etc., from Leabo & Smith. He received considerable patronage, but drank heavily, and was owing several grocery bills in town at the time if his death. Previous to coming to Ashland Pine worked in the Grand Central and Clarendon hotels at Medford, and it was at the latter place he became acquainted with the Armstrong girl who was working as a waiter girl there at the same time. From that time he was “crazy” after her and seemingly did not get over his craziness until he cured it with the pistol shot last Monday morning. He has a brother in San Francisco and several relatives in different places, it is said.

From the “Ashland Tidings” dated 21 August 1891


Pine had left a Wife and Children

Postmaster Hammond received a letter last Tuesday morning from Mrs. Louville Pine, of Houlton, Columbia county, Ore., who says that her husband, Chas. Pine, had left her and their two little children at that place, about two years ago and had gone to Napa City, Cal,, and thence to Dunsmuir, after which she had been unable to hear from him. Seeing our account of the suicide of W. T. Pine at Medford, she thought it likely that he was her husband.

Accordingly, she wrote to ascertain, and gave a full description of her husband, the description corresponding exactly with the appearance of W. T. Pine, and leaving no doubt that he was the man. The lady writes a very straightforward, clear and sensible letter, and tells a story which does not reflect much credit upon the recreant husband. He left her and the children in a destitute condition, and never afterward contributd a cent to their support, and then made a maudlin effort to induce a young lady at Medford to marry him. No wonder he was tired of himself and sought refuge in suicide.

Note: Charles Pine ??? Louville certainly knew her husband’s name was William Townsend Pine and he could not have left her with two babies about two years ago… Violet Cecile Pine was born 4 April 1890. Either the editor is taking a little license with his story or Louville did.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email