FAIRMONT HISTORY

Sam Short - He Died for Love

Having researched Fairmont's history for five years now, I have read some really interesting stories of love, life and death. Perhaps the strangest is the story of Sam Short, a retired lawyer from Columbia, SC.

Short's body was found in his automobile parked on the Fairmont High School campus. The motor was running and a water hose was extended from the car's exhaust into a back window. Blankets had been stuffed around the hose to keep the fresh air from entering the car. The vehicle was still running. Coroner Dennis Biggs declared the death to be suicide by asphyxiation.

Before his death, Short had mailed mimeographed copies of the "true story" of his romance with a local unidentified woman to prominent citizens and to the local newspapers. The letters were postmarked from Florence, SC and dated 3:30 p.m., March 5.

From the March 6, 1941 Robesonian:

In a carbon copy of a letter addressed to the woman (not dated) and mailed to The Robesonian along with the mimeographed "story," Short allegedly wrote:

"If my body has not been found before you get this letter, you should start a search for it immediately. Depending on what occurs between the time of writing this letter and the time of the act, will determine where the act will be committed. Am going to make a final appeal to you to become my wife, after writing this letter. May be by telephone, may be by letter, maybe in person, depending on circumstances and the opportunity granted me. Have written you and telephones you that I wanted to see you once more, but, to the time of this writing have had no affirmative answer.

"I just can't live without you. You made love to me in such a way that you won my heart and very soul. Your sweet letters -- your words -- your very acts, employed for the purpose of winning me; had the desired effect. But now, that you know you can get me, you throw my heart in the ash can and repudiate all your sacred promises of marriage.

"You played with a tender heart that was hungry for love, won it, then broke all your sacred promises of marriage, just because you want to see me suffer. _____ I shall suffer no more. Can't endure it longer. Death is better than to attempt to live without you. I know I would not have another contented moment during my life, without you, so prefer death, to life without you.

"_______ You once write me, and often told me, that someday we would lay side by side in death as we had spent our remaining days in life. So, my last request is, that you see that I am buried as near you as possible, that my body may rest where my heart is."

Short's "true story," addressed to the citizens of Fairmont, was five pages mimeographed and contained his story of the "romance" and excerpts of letters he alleged were written him by the woman. The "story" was closed with these words: Thus ends the romance of ________ and Sam Short. Finis.

The funeral was conducted by Rev. Carey P. Herring and internment was in the Andrews Memorial cemetery one mile north of Fairmont. Short's tombstone is inscribed "Sam Short -- He died for love."

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