The Mysterious Suicide of Katharine Fell: How Lewis Gratz Fell’s Daughter Ended Her Life

Lewis Gratz Fell was a prominent lawyer and politician from Pennsylvania who tragically lost his 20-year-old daughter, Katharine, to suicide in 1899. The circumstances surrounding her death have remained a mystery for over a century, as no clear motive or explanation was ever found. This article explores the life of Katharine Fell, the possible reasons for her suicide, and the impact it had on her father and his career.

Katharine Fell: A Bright and Beautiful Young Woman

Katharine Fell was born in 1879 to Lewis Gratz Fell and Mary Elizabeth Biddle. She was the eldest of four children and grew up in a wealthy and influential family. She was educated at home by private tutors and showed a keen interest in literature, music, and art. She was also known for her beauty and charm, attracting many admirers and suitors.

Katharine was very close to her father, who doted on her and indulged her every wish. He often took her on trips to Europe and other places, where she enjoyed the sights and culture. She was also involved in her father’s political and social activities, accompanying him to various events and functions. She was regarded as his pride and joy, and he hoped to see her marry well and have a happy life.

The Tragic Event: How Katharine Fell Committed Suicide

On the morning of April 18, 1899, Katharine Fell left her home in Philadelphia and took a carriage to the Bellevue Hotel, where she had reserved a room the day before. She checked in under the name of Mrs. Smith and went to her room on the ninth floor. She then wrote a brief note to her father, which read:

Dear Papa,

I am so sorry to cause you this trouble, but I cannot help it. Forgive me, if you can. I love you better than anything else in the world. Do not blame anyone but me.


She then placed the note on a table, along with her purse, a book, and a bunch of violets. She then opened the window of her room and jumped to her death. She landed on the pavement below and died instantly. Her body was soon discovered by a hotel employee and the police were notified.

The news of her suicide shocked and saddened the city, as well as her family and friends. Her father was devastated and rushed to the hotel to identify her body. He was unable to comprehend why his beloved daughter would take her own life, and what could have driven her to such a desperate act. He later told the press that he had no idea what could have caused her to do it, and that she had always seemed happy and cheerful. He said that she had no troubles or worries that he knew of, and that she had everything to live for.

The Aftermath: How Katharine Fell’s Suicide Affected Her Father and His Career

Katharine Fell’s suicide was a huge blow to Lewis Gratz Fell, who never recovered from the loss of his daughter. He became depressed and withdrawn, and lost interest in his work and social life. He also suffered from guilt and blamed himself for not being able to prevent her death. He tried to find some solace in religion and charity, but nothing could fill the void left by his daughter.

Lewis Gratz Fell’s career also suffered as a result of his daughter’s suicide. He was a prominent figure in the Republican Party and had served as the Attorney General of Pennsylvania from 1895 to 1899. He had also been a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1897, but had withdrawn from the race. He had hoped to run again in 1901, but his daughter’s death shattered his political ambitions. He lost his influence and popularity, and was unable to secure the nomination. He retired from public life and spent his remaining years in seclusion and grief.

Lewis Gratz Fell died in 1918, at the age of 72. He was buried next to his daughter in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. His wife and three other children survived him, but none of them achieved the fame or success that he had. His daughter’s suicide remained a mystery, and no one ever discovered the true reason behind it. Some speculated that she had been unhappy with her life, or that she had been involved in a love affair that had gone wrong. Others suggested that she had suffered from a mental illness, or that she had been influenced by the suicide of a friend. However, none of these theories were ever confirmed, and the truth died with her.