William Henry Blatch, husband of Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch, the suffrage leader, died on Monday August 2, 1915 as the result of accidental electrocution. The following account is a transcription of the report which appeared on page 5 of the New York Times the following day, August 3.
W. H. BLATCH KILLED BY LOOSE LIVE WIRE
Suffrage Leader’s Husband Steps on Broken End in Channing Pollock’s Yard.
PLAYWRIGHT FINDS BODY
Sustains Severe Shock in Attempting to Pull It Away from the Current.
William H. Blatch, husband of Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch, the suffrage leader, was killed yesterday morning by coming in contact with the current of a broken electric light wire which had fallen across the walk at the entrance to the lawn at the home of Channing Pollock, the playwright, on the Sound, at Shoreham, L.I. It is supposed that Mr. Blatch saw a broken wire and sought to remove it not knowing that it was charged. The end of the wire, carrying 110 volts of an alternating current, killed him instantly.
Mr. Blatch called at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pollock at 7:30 o’clock to return a book he had borrowed. As the playwright and his wife were not up, he left the volume with a maid and started back along the path toward the road. The maid then saw a spurt of flame at the gate, and when Blatch staggered and fell she called Pollock.
There was a little pillar of smoke and spluttering flame visible as Pollock ran towards the place where Blatch had fallen with one hand tightly clutching the wire. The only piece of wood near at hand was the signboard of the Pollock home, “the parsonage,” fixed to a stake beside the gate, which the playwright pulled up and reached for the wire with one end, whereupon he received a shock of electricity which knocked him down. The sign was covered with moisture. He then got a garden rake and succeeded in pulling the wire away from the body.
Dr. James M. Winfield of 47 Halsey Street, Brooklyn, who has a summer home at Shoreham, was sent for. He said Blatch had died instantly from the shock of the current, which under ordinary circumstances might not have proved fatal, but the wet ground made the contact more severe. Coroner Gibson of Huntington gave permission for the removal of the body to the home of Mr. Blatch.
“We believe the wire must have dropped from the pole after Mr. Blatch came here,” said Mrs. Pollock yesterday, during the absence of her husband. “I am sure from what Mr. Pollock told me after the accident that he would have fallen a victim to that wire had he got out as early as he intended to meet Mr. and Mrs. Flo Ziegfeld at Port Jefferson. The wire was that of the Port Jefferson Electric Light Company.”
Mrs. Nora Stanton De Forest, daughter of Mr. Blatch, who with her daughter had spent the week-end at her father’s home, had started for the city. Mr. Blatch had gone to the Pollock home after seeing his daughter off at the station. Mrs. De Forest was notified of the accident when she alighted from the train here and returned to Shoreham. Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch, who was at Syracuse on Saturday and had an engagement to lecture last night at Utica, was reached by telegraph while on a train yesterday afternoon and notified.
William H. Blatch, 65 years old was the head of the May Brewing Company in England, from which he retired twenty years ago and has since resided here. His wife is an American. Because her husband had not become a citizen of this country Mrs. Blatch’s efforts to establish her rights to citizenship were denied on the ground that her marriage made her a British subject. She is the President of the Women’s Political Union. Mr. Blatch owned a large country home at Shoreham, where he had developed one of the largest and finest hanging gardens on Long Island.
New York Times
August 3, 1915