Drayman of the 1940s

August 25, 1901 (BALTIMORE): Dr. A.T. Chambers finds himself stitching up the severe wounds of Benjamin F. Hiss, shortly after Hiss had shot neighbor Howard A. Coleman.

The story’s coincidences include an account from “Mrs. Hiss.”


Benjamin P. Hiss, Republican Politician, Arrested.


Wounds Not Considered Serious,

Unless Blood Poisoning Should Set In.

“Family Troubles,” Says Hiss.

Benjamin F. Hiss, one of the best-known Republican ward leaders of Baltimore, was arrested yesterday afternoon, charged with shooting with intent to kill Howard A. Coleman, a customs drayman, of 1618 Hanover Street.

Late In the afternoon he was released on ball by Justice Reviol for a hearing September 19, at 8 P.M. Coleman is at the Maryland University Hospital suffering from two bullet wounds. One shot passed through his right hand and glanced upward into the forearm. The other struck his right groin and passed downward into the thigh. The wounds are not considered serious unless blood poisoning should get in. Hiss has two severe scalp wounds, said to have been inflicted by Coleman with the butt of the revolver, which he seized and took from his assailant.

Mr. Wesley’s Statement

The shooting occurred shortly after noon in the cigar store of George W. Wesley, northeast corner of Charles Street and Fort Avenue. It Is charged that Hiss entered the place, found Coleman there and opened fire on him with a revolver. Mr. Wesley made the following statement regarding the affair: “Coleman was sitting in the store near the Charles Street entrance reading a newspaper. He had been there some time when Hiss came into the back room through a side door opening on Fort Avenue. I was then on my way to the kitchen to wash my hands and, passing by Hiss, spoke to him. He seemed as calm as usual.” A few moments later I heard several shots – there may have been two or there may have been more – I did not count them. Running into the store, I found Hiss and Coleman struggling near the door leading Into the rear room. Coleman struck Hiss over the head with a revolver, and the latter was bloody. Hiss’ young daughter, Florence, had come in and was tugging at her father’s arm, trying to separate the men. As I entered the store Coleman broke away and ran into Fort Avenue. Hiss seemed dazed and remained until the police came and arrested him.”

“Family Troubles”

Hiss was arrested by Sergeants Flood and Bowen and Patrolman Norton. At the Southern Police Station he declined to make a statement other than that the affair was “the outcome of family troubles.” He wan placed in an upstairs room and Dr. A. T. Chambers attended him. The physician was compelled to stitch up one of the scalp wounds.

After the shooting Coleman ran to the office of Dr. C. P. Strauss, 1616 Light Street, but the physician was not in. Patrolman Roemer, seeing that Coleman was wounded, called the patrol wagon and had him removed to the Maryland University Hospital. No one was allowed to see him there.

What Mrs. Hiss Says

Mrs. Hiss, when seen at her home, 11 East Randall Street, said she had no idea why her husband should attack Coleman. “Until a year ago they were close friends and were very often together. I understood that they disagreed about attending a meeting at some political club and have not been on good terms since. This morning, shortly before noon, my husband came downstairs and lay on a lounge In the parlor smoking. About half an hour later he arose and went across the street to the cigar store. I sent my oldest daughter after him to bring him back, and she reached there during the trouble. I know nothing of any family trouble.” Mrs. Coleman also said she knew of no reason for the shooting. She and Mrs. Hiss, it Is said, continued on friendly terms after the break between their husbands.

Former School Commissioner

Mr. Hiss has been prominent In local politics for a number of years, and is one of the recognized Republican leaders of South Baltimore. He was elected school commissioner for the old Seventeenth Ward in 1897, and held that position until the new-charter School Board went into office In the spring of 1900. Mr. Hiss Is bookkeeper for H. C. McComas, coal dealer, Light and Lee Streets. He has three children. Mr. Coleman has two children.

Baltimore Sun (1901.08.26) page 10

(Reader: If you happened to know who A.T. Chambers, MD, was, please leave a comment.)

Alger Hiss and Benjamin F. Hiss seem unrelated except through distant marriages.

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4 Responses to Chambers Compelled to Stitch Up Hiss

  1. Dave Lull says:

    Here’s a guess:

    Dr Albert Tyler Chambers

    See a death notice here:


  2. Robert Kirk says:

    From a quick research, with about 90% certainty, He was Albert Tyler Chambers, b. 1876 in Washington DC, Randolph Macon College and MD at UMD Baltimore in 1898. Then boarding on Columbia Ave (now Washington Blvd) outside Camden Yards baseball park and near the South Police Station (still standing) on East Ostend St, when he treated Hiss. Later when established & married to Marguerite Linthicum, he lived on W Lafayette Ave. Became prominent. Died in Spanish Flu epidemic 1918. Several sibs.

    No apparent connection to your folks.

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