Sad Death of a German Pastor



At Charters Towers.

Poisoned by Mercury.

Preserving Butterflies.

Many persons in the town and suburbs (says the Charters Towers’ “Standard” of the 14th inst.), who had not heard of the sad and sudden end of the reverend Pastor Siegfried Krieg, of the German Lutheran Church here, were surprised as shortly after daylight this morning the solemn tolling of the bells from the church belfry notified the death of a member of the congregation.  To many it had been known that for some time past the reverend gentleman was seriously ill, but to those who knew him, and to the community at large the news of his death came with that suddenness which usually causes a shock.

The reverend gentleman was a young man in the prime of life; an ardent student of nature, a model pastor labouring among a congregation who delights in honoring a conscientious and diligent minister.  He came to Charters Towers from Berlin in the end of 1894, having taken Theology and other degrees with credit in the University of that city.  An indefatigable worker he did not spare himself in the discharge of his clerical duties.  He soon established himself as a warm favourite amongst the members of his congregation, and was idolized by the children, amongst whom he had formed classes for their instruction in the German language, as well as in other branches of learning.

It appears that the reverend gentleman became ill about a week ago and Dr Forrest was called in.  The medical gentleman noted symptoms of mercurial poisoning, but as the deceased stated, he had not taken mercury in any form.

It now transpires that for many weeks past the boys of Charters Towers have been busily engaged collecting butterflies for the deceased gentleman, and on yesterday Dr Forrest, who was visited by the deceased, discovered that the symptoms of mercurial had increased to an alarming extent.  Inquiry into the matter revealed the fact that the deceased had been using a concoction of mercury for the purpose of preserving his butterflies, and that the fumes, together with the apparent communication to the system, from the handling of the terribly destructive drug caused the symptoms of poisoning by mercury.  Unfortunately, it appears, at this stage the fatal effects had taken a firm hold, Dr Forrest ordered the reverend gentleman to the hospital at once.  Everything that skill, care and attention could do was done by the resident medical officer and his assistants; Dr Forrest was also incessant in his attentions, but the last and most fatal consequences supervened; hemorrhage on the brain set in, and a promising young life passed away last evening, apparently in a painless manner.

The funeral of the deceased, which passed to the cemetery this afternoon, was largely attended by all classes and creeds, and as the “Passing Bell” tolled out when the last mortal remains of a genuine young Pastor were being removed to their last resting place, there were few dry eyes among the members of the Congregation of the German Lutheran Church.

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