Dr. W. E. Pentz, Physician 61 Years, Dies at Age of 87

Death today at 87 closed the colorful career of Dr. William E. Pentz, who had practiced medicine for 61 years. He died at a hospital where he had been a patient 17 days. He had been a writer and an educator, one of the first leaders in the drive for safe and sane July 4ths, and had served in the British Transportation Service during the Boer War, making trips to Africa as an American contract surgeon during that conflict. He was surgeon-in-chief on two ships, one of which, the Drayton Grange, was the largest ship afloat at that time . . .

Source: St. Joseph News-Press, 20 June 1961, p. 7

Miss Josephine Hall [sic] of Union Star Succumbs to Peritonitis

Josephine Allen, eighteen years old, died at noon yesterday at the Ensworth Deaconess Hospital. Death was due to peritonitis. The girl was taken to the hospital last Monday morning in charge of her sister. They came from Union Star, Mo., where their father, George Allen, is a prosperous farmer. The girls were unaccompanied, so far as known to the hospital authorities. Miss Allen was then in a critical condition. She grew rapidly worse until the time of her death. Her father was with her when she died. Her physicians say that they are not positive as to what led up to her condition at the time she came to St. Joseph. Coroner Doyle has not taken any action in regard to her death. The body will be sent to Union Star this morning.

Source: St. Joseph Gazette-Herald, 31 March 1901, p. 4, col. 3


An autopsy over the remains of Miss Josephine Allen, aged eighteen years, who died Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock at the Ensworth hospital, held at Heaton's morgue by Drs. T. E. Potter and W. T. Elam, developed the fact that death was due to blood poisoning, the result of a criminal operation.

Miss Allen was the daughter of George Allen, a farmer of Union Star, and on Saturday afternoon Dr. W. E. Pentz of that place was placed under arrest, charged with manslaughter in the first degree. He was taken to Maysville, where he will be given a preliminary hearing. The alleged betrayer of the young woman, said to be a relative, has not been apprehended.

Miss Allen was brought to the hospital from Union Star about two weeks ago. Immediately upon her death K. B. Randolph, who had been consulted previously by her father, decided that an autopsy was necessary in order to secure the facts for the prosecution of the case, and he employed Doctor Potter, who called in Doctor Elam. The body was shipped to Union Star Sunday morning at 9:40 o'clock, where it will be interred.

Coroner John Doyle is indignant at the course pursued in the case. He was not notified of Miss Allen's death and thinks that he did not receive proper treatment in the matter. He states that the circumstances attending the death of Miss Allen were of such a nature that an investigation should have been made by him.

"The case was one for the coroner to investigate," said Dr. Doyle yesterday, "and I am at a loss to understand why I was not informed of the young woman's death. I received no official information whatever. The first that I knew of the case was what I read in The Daily News Saturday. I thought, of course, if the facts were as published, I would have been notified by some of the friends of the young woman, or someone connected with the case. On Sunday morning there was further mention of the case in the Gazette-Herald. I thought it strange that I had not been notified and decided to make an investigation.

Coroner is Indignant

"I learned that Doctor Potter had been employed to hold the autopsy, by Mr. Randolph, who was representing the father of the girl, and that when it was about completed he called in Doctor Elam, who, upon learning the facts in the case, said it was a case for investigation by the coroner. One of the organs of the body was removed, which would now partially destroy the value of a post-mortem examination.

"Before I had completed my investigation I learned that the body of Miss Allen had been taken to the union station to await shipment to Union Star. When I presented the facts to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shultz, he said that I had the right to seize the body and hold an inquest. Had I been so disposed I could have put the attorney in the case and his client to considerable inconvenience, but I believed from what I had learned that all of the facts necessary for any prosecution had been obtained by the physicians who held the autopsy, and I decided not to hold an inquest, unless additional developments should warrant such a proceeding.

Mr. Randolph stated this morning that as the offense had been committed in DeKalb County and death had occurred in this county, he did not think of notifying the coroner. Being anxious to get all the facts possible in the case, he had ordered the autopsy. He stated that no discourtesy was meant to coroner Doyle.

Dr. W. E. Pentz, the physician arrested in connection with the death of Miss Allen, formerly lived in this city, where he is well known. He ran for the nomination for coroner on the Republican ticket last fall, but was defeated by Dr. L. C. Sampson. Doctor Pentz was released on bond and came to this city yesterday. He has employed T. B. Allen to defend him. His attorney says that his client is an innocent man and that this will be proven at the trial. Doctor Pentz' preliminary hearing will be held at Union Star on Friday of this week.

It is probable that the remains of Miss Allen will be brought back to this city and an inquest held. The funeral was to have taken place at Union Star this afternoon.

Source: St. Joseph Gazette-Herald, 2 April 1901, p. 5

Attorney Allen Explains Why Pentz Case Was Continued

T. B. Allen, representing Dr. W. E. Pentz, charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Miss Josephine Allen at the Ensworth Deaconess hospital one week ago, returned last night from Union Star, where he had gone to represent his client in the preliminary hearing. He stated that the defense was present with ten witnesses and insisted on an immediate trial of the case. He informed the court that he could prove the innocence of his client and that the case would get no further than the preliminary if the prosecution would only proceed.

The State, however, Mr. Allen says, discontinued the preliminary hearing before the justice and had Doctor Pentz rearrested on a capias*, issued upon information filed by Prosecuting Attorney Fitch under the new constitutional amendment. The defense objected to the discontinuance and insisted that the case should be heard. Mr. Allen informed the court that he did not think it was the spirit of the law that a man should be arrested and compelled to prepare for a preliminary hearing and then, when he had done all that was required by law, have the prosecuting attorney decide to try the case in some other way. Doctor Pentz gave bond in the sum of $3,000 for his appearance for trial at the June term of the DeKalb County court.

*"In most instances, a capias warrant is issued in connection with failure to appear before court in a criminal case. A defendant who fails to appear at a criminal court proceeding, for example, could expect a capias warrant to be issued for his or her arrest. Since a capias warrant is a compelling writ, a judge or magistrate must be prudent and ensure that he or she has compelling evidence to issue such an order." ~ Black's Law Dictionary

Source: St. Joseph Gazette-Herald, 7 April 1901, p. 7

Case of Dr. W. E. Pentz Called for Trial at Maysville

T. B. Allen, counsel for Dr. W. E. Pentz, a physician of Union Star, who is charged with performing a criminal operation upon Miss Josephine Allen of that place about two months ago, from the effects of which, it is alleged, she died at the Ensworth Hospital, returned yesterday from Maysville, where the case was called for trial. Mr. Allen filed a motion to quash the indictment against his client, on the ground of the invalidity of the first constitutional amendment. This amendment permits the prosecuting attorney to file an information in all felony cases instead of the grand jury returning indictments as formerly.

The information against Doctor Pentz was filed by w. M. Fitch, prosecuting attorney of DeKalb county. Mr. Allen held that the amendment was unconstitutional on the ground that it had not been properly submitted to the people and had not been advertised as the law directs. The matter was taken under advisement by Judge A. D. Burnes, who stated that he had no doubt that all of the amendments recently adopted by the people of Missouri were void, but as the supreme court would soon pass upon their legality he would take the matter under advisement. The case has been continued until the supreme court renders a decision.--St. Joseph News.

Source: The King City Chronicle, 14 Jun 1901, p. 1

Case of Dr. Pentz of This City Dismissed at Maysville

The case of Dr. W. E. Pentz of this city, charged with criminal malpractice in the case of Miss Josephine Allen, was dismissed at Maysville, Thursday, after the witnesses for the state had been heard. The witnesses for the defense were not put on the stand. Miss Allen's home was in Union Star. She died in a hospital in this city last spring as the results [sic] of an alleged criminal operation. Dr. Pentz, who was at the time located in Union Star, was arrested. The state dismissed its case after an alleged dying statement of Miss Allen was ruled out. About forty witnesses were subpoenaed. Doctors William F. Schmid, T. E. Potter, W. S. Elam and Bansbach, and George Begole were among the witnesses.

Source: St. Joseph Gazette-Herald, 25 October 1901, p. 5