Terrel Shoultes

February 3, 1903

Has Stirred Up The Village of Union

Popular Young Lady Expired Under Circumstances of a Most Pitiful Nature
Her Sweethart, Claude Sunberg, Under Arrest

BINGHAMTON, Jan 30. (1903) - Broome county has another sensational case that has resulted in the charging of a young man with the death of a well-known young woman, of Union, under peculiar circumstances. There is in the tale, the foundation of a modern novel in the love, death, and sensational battle for liberty on a railroad train of the lover charged with poisoning his sweetheart. The principals in the tragic drama are Miss Edith Snapp, who now lies cold in death and Claude Sundberg, over whose head hangs the charge of manslaughter in the first degree.

Claude Sundberg is a young man of 25, who came to Endicott about a year ago from the west and began work in the Endicott shoe factory. He secured board on Liberty street in the village of Union. He was admitted into the social circles of the village and became acquainted with Miss Edith Snapp, 20 years old, who lived with her mother on Nanticoke street. Miss Snapp was a charming young lady, a leader in her social set and highly respected by all. During the summer, the two were together frequently, but is was noticed of late a coolness had arisen, and they were not seen together too much.

Tuesday evening, shortly after 8 o'clock, Sundberg called at the home of Miss Snapp and was admitted. He and Edith went into the parlor while at 9 o'clock, Mr. and Mrs. Snapp retired to rest, leaving Jennie, a younger daughter, studying in the dining room. She too, retired soon and the couple were left alone in the parlor. Shortly after 11 o'clock, Mrs. Snapp was awakened by a resident in the other half of the house pounding on the wall, and who stated that she had better see to her daughter, as from what the neighbor saw from the window.


Mrs. Snapp hurried down stairs and saw her daughter on the other side of the street. Sundberg was supporting her. The girl seemed to be having a convulsion and Sundberg was evidently trying to get her into the house. Mr. Snapp, who had dressed hurriedly, aided in carrying his daughter to her home and the distracted mother asked Sundberg: "What have you done to my child?" He replied "I haven't done anything. Do you want a doctor?" and started down the street. When Dr. Christopher arrived, he found a glass on the piano, which had evidently contained oil of tansey. Every effort was made to get the girl to tell what had happened, but she died at an early hour Wednesday without disclosing a word as to the mystery. The authorities of Union were at once notified and began a search for Sundberg. He was not at his home and they surmised he had gone to Vestal in hopes of catching a passenger train at that station. A telephone message revealed the fact that two men, one answering the description of Sundberg, were waiting for the train. The officers hurried to the depot, arriving just as the train was pulling out. Sundberg was climbing onto a rear platform when one of the officers caught him. He clung to the railing, however, and as the train began to move rapidly, the officer was obliged to loosen his hold.


Then the Owego authorities were wired to watch for him. As the information reached the Owego officers, the train was heard in the distance whistling for the station. The officers started for the depot on a run and as they approached the station, met a man whom they placed under arrest and who proved to be Sundberg. When taken to police headquarters, the man said his home was in Jamestown, N.Y. and that he had gone with the Snapp girl for some time. As a result, an intimacy arose which caused her trouble. He wished to marry her, but she refused, requesting him to procure some medicine for her. He bought the tansey oil at the Pioneer drug store in this city and got a pint of gin at another place. He went to her house and mixed the medicine. She took a swallow and complained of feeling sick. He then took her for a walk and subsequently went for a doctor, starting for Owego in preference to returning to the house. As soon as the girl died, Sheriff Worthing and District Attorney Clark were notified of the occurrence.


District Attorney Clark and Detective Stephenson went to Owego at 4:30 Wednesday morning and brought Sundberg back with them. Sundberg made a long statement of the affair which was taken down by a stenographer. In this, he reiterates the statements previously made of his relations with the dead girl, his efforts to get some medicine for her and the consequent results. He disclaims all intention of attempting to kill her, but on the other hand was anxious to aid her.

Sundberg has retained W.W. Farley and T.A. McClary of Union, as his counsel. They have advised him not to say anything regarding the case and on their request, no reporters are allowed to see him. Coroner Smith at the time of death was absent in Albany attending a meeting of the State Medical Society. Dr. J.H. Chittenden acted for him in the case and made the necessary investigations, arranging for an autopsy, which was held Thursday. Walter D. Webster, proprietor of the Pioneer drug store, where Sundberg claims he obtained the drug, positively declares not one drop of oil of tansey was sold in his store on that day; that oil of tansey is a poison that must be recorded when sold, and no record of its sale appears. Sundberg, however, remains firm in his statement that he got the poison there. It has been found that 10 cents worth of the drug would amount to two tablespoonsful, one of which was sufficient to cause death.

Few cases have created the interest in this section that has been aroused by this one. Every development in the case has been followed by an intensely interested public. So high did excitement run in the villages of Union and Endicott Wednesday morning that many of the Endicott factory employees declined to go to work, but spent their time on the village streets, standing in knots, discussing the situation.

Further Note:

BINGHAMTON PRESS on June 26, 1915. The article is titled RECORD OF MURDER TRIALS HELD IN BROOME COUNTY. It dates the first one in 1870.

The following is observed about Claude Sundberg:

Cladue Sunberg, for the killing of Edith Snapp, in town of Union, in attempt at criminal operation in 1903. Indicted for manslaughter, first degree. Enter plea of guilty. Sentenced to four years and six months at Auburn prison.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Ernie Miles.

Copyright 2003 Tioga County NYGenWeb
All Rights Reserved.

Thanks for stopping by!