The Sun March 22, 1890

Death Of Gen. Crook.

Heart Disease Carries Off the Great Indian Fighter.

Only A Few Minutes' Illness.

October 12, 2003

Seized While Exercising in His Room in the Grand Pacific Hotel, Chicago -- Sketch of His Distinguished Career -- The Interment to be at Frostburg, Md.

CHICAGO, March 21 -- Major General George Crook, U.S.A., in command of the department of the Missouri, dies at the Grand Pacific Hotel at 7:15 o'clock this morning of heart disease, in the sixty-second year of his age.

There had not been the slightest warning that Gen. Crook was not perfectly well. He was at army headquarters all day yesterday, and last night at the hotel appeared to be in his usual good health. He arose shortly before seven o'clock this morning apparently in his usual health, and, in accordance with his custom, began exercising with the weights and pulleys connected with an apparatus for the purpose which he kept in his room.

After exercising for a few minutes he stopped and lay down upon a lounge, saying that he felt a difficulty in breathing. A few moments later he called out to his wife, "Oh, Mary, Mary. I need some help. I can't get my breath."

Assistance was at once summoned, and Dr. Hurlbut, who lives nearby, was sent for. Everything that could be done was done, but he failed to rally, and died at 7:15.

Mrs. Crook and her sister, Mrs. Reid, were the only members of his family at his bedside when he passed away. He had no children. For some weeks, in fact ever since he returned from his last trip to the Northwest, he had been complaining of a bearing-down sensation in the neighborhood of the heart.

In accordance with the wishes of Mrs. Crook it was arranged this afternoon that the funeral services shall be held on Sunday afternoon. The remains will then be put on board a special car tendered by the Pullman Company and will leave for Oakland, Md., at 3 o'clock over the Baltimore and Ohio road.

Adjutant General Williams, on behalf of the widow, asked a number of prominent citizens to act as pallbearers, In the meantime, the body will lie in state in the parlor of the Grand Pacific Hotel, with a bodyguard of soldiers.

Major Ely McClellan, attending surgeon, said today: "Gen. Crook undermined his constitution in the Indian campaign. As everyone knows, he was a wonderfully active man. He would stop at nothing and denied himself every pleasure or comfort. He constantly refused to encumber himself with things that might conduce to his comfort, so that he might move around more quickly. There never was a point of danger in these Western campaigns that he did not place himself in, so that a good example would be set for the army.

"I think the campaign of 1876 was the foundation for his trouble. Then he started out with thirty days' rations for his force, and was gone nearly a year, spending a terribly severe winter in the mountains and on the western prairies, far away from the forts and posts. This hard service, together with the irregularity of meals and the scarcity of food, resulted in his stomach troubles, which immediately affected his heart.

"I had treated him every day since I have been attached to headquarters in Chicago, and a few weeks ago I had about concluded that his trouble had been overcome. Last week, however, it returned suddenly. The attack was quite severe, but as he came to me the moment he felt ill there was little difficulty in getting him in good shape again. If his death had occurred last week, I should not have been surprised. He pulled out of the sickness apparently better than before, and his suffen death was wholely unexpected by me."

Dr. V. L. Hurlbut, the physician who was summoned, said: "I arrived at General Crook's bedside only four or five minutes before death supervened. He was suffering from irregular action of the heart, and his lungs or chest seemed to be filled up. We did what we could for him in the way of hot applications with sinapisms, hot bags to his feet, etc.; but he was in articulo mortis when I arrived, and died without rallying. It appeared to be a case of heart failure; but I could not be positive about that as I had never been called to attend him before. There may have been some stomach complications."

Major Randall, of General Crook's staff, said: "We have noticed for some time that General Crook was not in his usual health. He was a man who never complained, and said very little about his sufferings. At the theater last night I saw that he was not feeling at all well, and asked him if he were in pain. He said: `No,' but I think that was the beginning of the end."

Sketch of Gen. Crook

Gen. George Crook was born near Dayton, Ohio, September 8, 1828, and was graduated at the Military Academy in 1852. He served in several Indian expeditions, and at the outbreak of the war became colonel of the thirty-sixth Ohio infantry. He was wounded in the action at Lewisburg, W.Va., and in 1862 was breveted lieutenant-colonel for his services at Antietam.

He took an active part in subsequent actions in Virginia and in Sheridan's Shenandoah campaign, and in 1864 received brevets of brigadier-general.

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