The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 25, 1907
Victor B. Dolliver Dies While Sleeping
The Shocking Occurrence Was Entirely Unexpected – Natural Causes
Probably Had Heart Weakness
He Had Been Ill With a Cold for About a Week, But Seemed To Be Better. Was Found in His Bed Several Hours After Death.
Quietly reposing in slumber of life, Victor Brown Dolliver passed into eternity’s sleep at his residence room at the W.B. Moore home, 217 south 12th street. Death came without warning sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning and no one knew of it until about half past five o’clock Sunday afternoon. Natural causes for death were assigned by the coroner’s jury which held an inquest over the body.
The news of Mr. Dolliver’s death rapidly circulated about the town and at first seemed incredible to his many friends who had seen him apparently well in health and robust in strength, but a few days before. Many of them went direct to the dwelling that was his home to see if there was not some mistake in the rumor. The facts were found to be as follows:
Discovered Hours After Death.
Mr. Dolliver had been rooming with the Moore family since last November. He took his meals at down town restaurants and was away from the city a good deal of the time looking after business matters. for this reason his habits of life were not intimately known by the family and they did not pay close attention to his coming and going. That is the reason his death was not sooner discovered.
Sunday morning before church time the door of Mr. Dolliver’s room was tried and found locked. It was supposed he was still asleep and would not want to be disturbed. After 12 o’clock the door was again examined and it was thought Mr. Dolliver had gone out. He usually locked his door at night, but left it ajar when he left the house and it was commented on as unusual that he should have gone away and left his door locked. Some uneasiness was felt over the unusual proceedings, but it was dismissed as an act of forgetfulness.
Mr. Moore went to the men’s meeting of the Y.M.C.A. on Sunday afternoon and returned about five o’clock. He went at once to Mr. Dolliver’s room and was determined to make certain whether he was there or not Looking through the key hole he was able to see the key in the lock on the other side. He called and there was no response.
A door connected Mr. Dolliver’s room with the adjoining vacant room. A large trunk was set against the door, but with the help of his son, Ezra, Mr. Moor forced the door in. They found Victor Dolliver lying in his bed like one asleep, but it was the sleep that has no waking.
Had Been Dead Ten Hours.
Doctor Evans was the first physician to reach the scene. He said Mr. Dolliver had been dead from ten to fifteen hours, judging from the condition of the body which was cold and rigid.
Coroner Lowry was summoned and a jury composed of Messrs. J.B. Hine, J.W. Campbell, and W.F. Maher was summoned. They inspected the deceased and the condition of the apartment and adjourned to meet at the court house this morning at nine o’clock.
Conditions of Body and Room.
The deceased was in night attire with the bed clothing covering him and undisturbed. His eyes were closed and countenance was composed. He lay on his right side in easy position with hands carelessly thrown across his breast. The room was orderly: shoes placed with care side by side, clothing he had taken off for the night hung up in its place. Fruit had been placed on the table and the clock with the alarm signal set at eight o’clock on the trunk near and facing the bed was ticking along, showing it had been wound the evening before.
Every circumstance indicated that painless and unexpected death had taken away life.
Had Sore Throat.
Mr. Dolliver returned from a two week’s trip to Oklahoma and Texas a week ago last Saturday. He complained of having gotten a cold while away and last Tuesday he went to Doctor Ristine and said his throat was very sore. Examination by the doctor showed an inflamed condition and a gargle was prescribed. This is the last time the doctor saw him. On last Wednesday his sister Margaret Gay Dolliver came from Sioux City en route to New York and she spent the day in nursing and caring for Victor with simple, old-fashioned remedies. He said that he was better and she left for the east on Wednesday night and was in Washington today.
Ill, But Up and Around.
On account of his illness Mr. Dolliver gave up an engagement to deliver an address at Morningside college, Sioux City, on Washington’s birthday and asked Reverend Fort to go in his place. He was up and around all of last week, but it was evident to his associates that he was not well and he so stated.
The facts concerning the last few days of Mr. Dolliver’s life as brought out at the inquest this morning shed considerable light upon the sad affair. It was shown beyond doubt that the deceased had been quite ill with a cold, but was better and in his usual jovial spirits. No foreboding of this sudden fate could have entered his mind.
Mr. Bennett stated that he had been with Mr. Dolliver for two weeks in Oklahoma and as far south as Galveston. They had splendid weather all the way but Victor said on his way back from Kansas City to Omaha that he had taken cold. Mr. Bennett had not seen his companion since their return a week ago.
Mr. J.B. Butler called at Mr. Dolliver’s office in the Mason building Friday afternoon. His forehead was covered with moisture and he said he was not well.
Mark Hopkins, a barber in the Reynolds shop, shaved Mr. Dolliver Saturday night at a quarter of eleven and gave him a shampoo. Mr. Dolliver joked with him and said if he caught cold after the shampoo that was given him it would be worse for him (the barber).
Mr. A.W. Lewis said Mr. Dolliver stopped in his drug store on his way home from the barber shop Saturday night and conversed for about half an hour. He mentioned his cold and having gotten a shampoo and Mr. Lewis advised him he might add to his cold.
Mr. W.G. Moore, in whose home Mr. Dolliver lodged, stated the details of the discovery of the death substantially as told above. He said that the family were sitting in the parlor Saturday night when Mr. Dolliver came home after eleven o’clock. He heard him at the door and let him in. He thanked Mr. Moore for saving him the trouble of getting out his key in the dark. He paused on his way upstairs to say to Mrs. Moore that his cold was better and he thought he would get along all right.
Undertaker Scott embalmed the body at about nine o’clock. He judged death had taken place twelve to fifteen hours before, as the rigidity was relaxing as it does that long after death. He thought there was fatty degeneration of the heart and produced specimens of the blood as evidence, but the physicians who saw it said it was the fibers of the blood settling that gave the appearance.
Doctor Ristine had prescribed for Mr. Dolliver he said, at various times in the past and had let him have a room in his house for two years before he went to Mr. Moore’s. He had prescribed a gargle for him last Tuesday. In the past the medicine he had given him was for rheumatism which he complained of often being troubled with, but never was laid up by it and he had not thought it of a serious enough character to affect the heart. He thought from the indications and information given he had died of heart failure. Such cases occasionally happen with people with weak hearts, when if there were some one at hand to administer restoratives the heart could be started to work again and the patient would not die.
Doctor Evans told of his finding Mr. Dolliver dead in bed. He could not way what he died of but was certain from the peaceful condition of the body that no unnatural cause either external or internal had been present
No post mortem was held, the coroner’s jury being satisfied, and so stated that death was the result of natural causes.
Heart Was Weak.
Today several instances have been mentioned when Mr. Dolliver had told of having a weak heart and in one case he was temporarily prostrated by this ailment.
His Immediate Plans.
Ed. Thompson, manager of the Dolliver farm west of town, said this morning that Victor Dolliver had proposed to him right after his return from Oklahoma a week ago that the two go into partnership in the livestock business on the farm. He had made a similar proposal one year ago but the arrangements had not been made then. This time, whoever an agreement was reached and Mr. Thompson had taken an inventory of all the live stock now on the farm. He had been in Mr. Dolliver’s office last week Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to complete the plan and the contract between them was to have been signed today (Monday).
Telegrams were sent out Sunday night and today many message of condolence have been received. A message received today from Senator Dolliver and Miss Gay Dolliver say they will leave Washington today and are due here Wednesday morning at half past three o’clock. If they arrive on schedule time the funeral will probably be held on Wednesday afternoon. It cannot be stated for sure today.
Besides his brother, J.P., and sister Miss Gay, there are left a brother, Reverend R.H. Dolliver and sister, Mrs. E.R. Graham. Both live in Illinois and will probably be here very soon.
Rev. J.J. Dolliver, Victor’s father died two years ago and his mother died about fifteen years ago. Both lie at rest in Oakland. It cannot be stated at this time, where the interment of Victor Dolliver will be. An expression of his wishes may be found in some of his papers.
Mr. Dolliver’s father-in-law, Governor Larrabee, Mrs. Larrabee, and Frederic are in Florida and it is not known if it will be possible for them to be at the funeral. The services will be under the auspices of the Methodist church, of which deceased was a member.
Victor Dolliver’s Career.
Victor Dolliver was born in Morgantown, West Virginia in March 1862 and came to Fort Dodge with his parents twenty-seven years ago, his brothers having preceded the family here by two years. He was for a time a student of the high school here and later taught school in Webster county. He received a college training at Cornell college, Mount Vernon, and later graduated as a lawyer and was admitted to the bar.
The marriage of Victor Dolliver and Miss Augusta Larrabee, eldest daughter of Governor and Mrs. Larrabee, occurred August 18, 1896 at Clermont and the couple moved to Minneapolis where Mr. Dolliver opened a law office in January 1897. The happy life that was promised was not to be fulfilled for Mrs. Dolliver died in March of 1897. She was buried in the cemetery at Clermont and her husband’s life since that time has never regained its former hopes and ambitions. He pathetically said he had never rally had but one wish and that had been taken from him.
Since the death of his wife Victor Dolliver had devoted himself unselfishly to the welfare of his brothers and sisters and they are inconsolable at his loss. The little children of the family especially have felt his affectionate attentions and his heart was always warm for them.
Since Miss Gay Dolliver became dean of the women’s department of Morningside college Victor has turned his attention to the welfare of that institution with all the loyalty that he had for anything his sister was interested in and last summer he made a donation of ten thousand dollars (about $231,000 today) to endow a chair in that institution.
Although Mr. Dolliver has not followed the practice of his profession he had through his excellent business judgment made a good-sized fortune by investments in land and the estate that is left is estimated at about forty thousand dollars ($924,000). He was a half owner with his brother J.P. in the Dolliver farm of about five hundred acres west of Fort Dodge and was planning to spend a larger share of his time there assisting in the management of the place.
An Orator of National Fame.
Victor Dolliver acquired a national reputation as a campaign orator and has stumped the country during most of the hot presidential and congressional campaigns of the last ten or twelve years. Over six feet in height, robust of form, with piercing voice and eloquent tongue he was a striking figure wherever he spoke.
No one would have believed that so powerful a specimen of physical manhood could have had his life ebb away, gently as the breath of a little child.
The Carroll Herald: March 6, 1907
Victor Dolliver Could Have Been in Congress
Washington, D.C., March 1. – Senator C.W. Fulton, of Oregon, for many years a resident of Iowa, was one of the sincere mourners when news came to Washington of the sudden death of V.B. Dolliver. He had been a close friend of Mr. Dolliver for several years.
“Vic could have gone to congress from Oregon as easily as not,” said Senator Fulton. “He went out there in 1902 and captured the state by a great speaking campaign. Nothing like it was ever known by our people. He spent several weeks with us, and in 1904 went again. That time he spent a month, speaking all over the state and then liked it so well that he remained two or three months, ans we thought he was going to settle, He was urged on all hands that he could go to congress if he would live among us long enough to get a residence; but he said he had interests and attachments in Iowa, and little taste for public life, and he refused to stay. He was the best stump speaker I ever knew, and everybody in Oregon will indorse (sic) me in saying it.”