Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Again we share another fragile newspaper item found in the Opal and Lester Saffell family papers, currently held in a private collection in Lubbock, Texas. Since the words “Special Dispatch to the World-Herald” appear under the article’s headline, the item must have been published in the World-Herald, a Nebraska newspaper widely circulated and read in southwestern Iowa. The item was apparently published about June 5, 1923. According to the death date for Albert Henry GODFREY on the website, he died in June 1923.

     (Genealogists should be aware that some punctuation has been added or changed for clarity and readability. All-caps for surnames are used for emphasis.)

     “Awaiting Death, Leaves Note to Tell Fatal Error;

     Elliott, Ia., Farmer’s Message Says He Drank Poison Instead of Pop;

     Found Dead by Road near His Automobile.

     Elliott, Ia., June 5 — After drinking poison by mistake and while waiting for death to overtake him, Albert GODFREY, 45, wealthy farmer living a half mile from Elliott, wrote a note, giving particulars. His body was found at 9:30 this morning, lying on the ground beside his automobile, two and one-half miles west of town. A farmer plowing in a field by the road made the find.

     The note was found in the automobile. In it, Godfrey described how he had been eating a sandwich, while motoring home from Council Bluffs, and how, when he reached for a bottle of pop beside him, he grasped a bottle of a disenfectant (sic) instead. He took a big drink of the liquid before he discovered his mistake, according to the note.

     The position of the body indicated that Godfrey, after penciling the note, was seized with pains and, getting out of his machine, stretched out on the grass beside the road to wait the end.

     The note was as follows:

 ‘I had no breakfast, so I bought two sandwiches and a bottle of pop. I bought formaldehyde to dip potatoes. When I reached for the pop, I got the wrong bottle. Must hurry.’

     The note was not signed. The last two words were a scrawl.

     Godfrey left home yesterday to go to Council Bluffs on business. He was alone. Last night he telephoned his wife from Council Bluffs that he would not return home until today because of last night’s rain.

     Besides his wife, he leaves four children. He was owner of 240 acres of choice land and was prominent in the community.” (End)

     (Editor’s note: According to the “Iowa County Marriages, 1838-1934” database on, Albert Godfrey married Grace HAMLIN on 7 July 1900 in Montgomery County, Iowa. Although the newspaper article stated that he and Grace had four children, the 1920 census lists five children in the household. Other articles about the GODFREY and HAMLIN families have appeared in Kinsearching columns dated 12 April and 30 August 2015 and perhaps other columns.)

Kinsearching Home Page