New York Times

Her Threats Against C. J. Bell, Alienists Testify, Were Due to Form of Paranoia
Says Mrs. Archibald Gracie Told That Banker Blocked Mother's Plans---Belva Lockwood Defends Her
Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, April 4---Mrs. Mary E. Gage, a wealthy widow, who was accused of threatening the life of Charles J. Bell, brother of Alexander Graham Bell and President of the American Surety Trust Company, was up for a hearing to-day in the District Supreme Court. The case was continued after twelve witnesses had testified for the Government and two for Mrs. Gage.

At the time Mrs. Gage was arrested it was said that she had invested large sums in Washington real estate in the residential section, and was ambitious to be recognized in society and to introduce her daughter in official circles.

Witnesses testified to-day that Mrs. Gage was sane, and a very intelligent woman, who believed that Mr. Bell and others were checkmating her social efforts. Alienists said she was suffering from paranoia.

Personal letters from President Taft and Roosevelt to Mrs. Gage, who is the founder of a patriotic society, were offered in court as evidence. Society was well represented, as the widow had told the police that a number of its members had assisted Mr. Bell in his efforts to keep her daughter and herself out of the Washington smart set.

Mrs. Belva A. Lockwood, the only woman candidate for the Presidency, represented Mrs. Gage. Mrs. Allen M. Stone, who was captured by Macedonian brigands a few years ago, and Mrs. Ledriot Barber, President of the District Woman's Suffrage Association, friends of Mrs. Gage, were in court with her. Miss Margaret C. Gage the daughter, was also in court, and brought with her letters to prove her mother's standing. One letter from Andrew Carnegie was read. This letter accompanied a check for $100 which Mr. Carnegie donated to Mrs. Gage's patriotic society.

Mr. Bell told the jury of his experience with Mrs. Gage. She came to his office two years ago, he said, and asked him to refrain from trying to keep her daughter and herself out of society.

"She burst into tears and cried for nearly half an hour," Mr. Bell continued. "I never had seen the woman before, and hardly knew what to say about it. I remained in my office until she dried her tears, and then as gracefully as I could I excused myself and disappeared."

Mr. Bell told of warnings given him by friends who had heard that Mrs. Gage had threatened to horsewhip him. “I was simply annoyed at that time," he said, "but when I heard she was going to kill me, then I became alarmed."

Mrs. Bill [sic] insisted that legal protection be sought, he said, and finally he followed her suggestions. He denied that he ever had tried to keep Mrs. Gage or her daughter out of society or out of church, or that he ever directly or indirectly tried to gain possession of her property as she had charged.

"You are not really afraid of this woman?” was asked.

"I'm really afraid of any woman who is insane," he replied.

Drs. Logue, Berry and Lawson testified that Mrs. Gage is suffering from hallucinations and delusions of persecution.

Her eyes red from weeping, Miss Margaret Gage took the witness stand and said that Mrs. Archibald Gracie, a New York and Washington society woman, was the first to tell them that Bell was responsible for their persecution.

"It was hard for us to make friends in Washington, and we were at a loss to know the reason, because we knew we were worthy," Miss Gage continued. "Mamma worried a lot about it, and it was on the suggestion of a Washington justice of the peace that she went to see Mr. Bell at the bank. But the first time we connected him with our difficulties was when we held a conversation with Mrs. Gracie."

Miss Gage said that her mother had purchased a residence in Washington from a brother-in-law of Mr. Bell, who is a real estate operator here. After a deposit had been made on the house, she said, the real estate man balked at the transaction. Her mother then visited the Justice of the Peace, Judge Charles S. Bundy, who suggested that she call on Mr. Bell. Miss Gage testified that her mother worried about their inability to climb the social ladder, and believed that she had not been received socially and cordially in a fashionable Washington church. Her mother never talked irrationally, she said.

Mrs. Gage was not put on the witness stand. She was anxious to appear, but the court decided to continue the hearing for another week, during which time the testimony of the alienists will be put in the hands of other medical men, who will in turn observe Mrs. Gage.

Mrs. Gage was returned to the Government Hospital for the Insane.

Related Biographies:

Archibald Gracie IV


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) BELIEVE MRS. GAGE HAS SOCIAL DELUSION (New York Times, Friday 5th April 1912, ref: #3337, published 2 August 2004, generated 1st July 2020 10:04:19 AM); URL :