Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani: A Stranger in The Sherman House August 3rd, 1913

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

On Saturday August 2nd , 1913 an older man fainted in the streets of downtown Flint. He was taken to the police station under the assumption that he was intoxicated.

When he came to, he told an officer his name was A.L. Johnson and that he came to Flint from Chicago to visit his friends Samuel, John, and George Kline in Lapeer.

After the man left, the officer called the Kline residence in Lapeer only to find out that all three of the Kline men had been dead for years.

Later that afternoon, the mysterious man checked into the Sherman house under the name of Clark Abrams. He told the manager of the house the story of his fainting and being taken to the jail. He explained that he had no money but was going to have some wired in the morning. The manager had him sign a promissory note and allowed him to stay the night.

On Sunday August 3rd the chambermaid knocked on the door so she could clean the room. She got no response. She had heard about his fainting incident the day before so she peeked through the transom to make sure he was all right. She saw a chair knocked over. She worriedly burst into the room and found him hanging from the gas jets.

The man was fully dressed and the bed was not slept in. The police determined that he had been dead for several hours.

On the nightstand was a note addressed to the police.

The note read:

“Every word and statement I made to you yesterday is strictly true. But this shock to me is too much for my condition and true character does not stand the shock. Every word I said to you yesterday is facts. Sorry to disgrace the Sherman House in any way. You or the landlady can see there are several articles in my grip which besides my trousers alone or a new pair of shoes and my eyeglasses any one of which are worth more than three nights lodging and as neither will want to cast eyes on them again as a reminder of my disgrace so I will hereby will them to you captain for or towards your trouble in this matter coming so kindly yesterday. So please attend to any arraignments necessary in the matter and not cause any further sensation and my last statement before God and man I swear this is true and I swear this is my name herewith signed.
A.L. Abrams

Another note was found asking that nothing be published or written about him. The officer notified the Kline’s and they had no idea who the man was.

They also contacted the Chicago police to see if he had family there. There was no record of a man with any of the three names in Chicago.  

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

Flint Photo Credit: David C. Lucas- DS Photo

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