From Pittsburgh Streets

"Death claimed S. T. Paisley: His demise occurred yesterday afternoon at Newport News: Telegram came last night: Remains will be brought to this city for interment: An officer had traced him." Pittsburg Press, July 6, 1900, p. 9. 141354082.

His Demise Occurred Yesterday Afternoon at Newport News.

The search for the missing former superintendent of highways and sewers has ended. Samuel T. Paisley succumbed to disease yesterday at Newport News, to which place he went when he left the city. His place of concealment was known to the detectives, but they did not divulge it. Supt. O'Mara received a telegram from Newport News last night station [sic] that Paisley had died at that place at 4 p. m. yesterday. Earlier in the day, Samuel T. Paisley, Jr., son of the ex-superintendent, had been advised that his father was dying, and upon learning of his death from Supt. O'Mara, left for the east to meet the body at Baltimore and bring it back to this city. Mrs. Paisley was with her husband. Chronic diarrhea and hemorrhages, following pneumonia, caused death.

The death of Mr. Paisley closes a portion of the most sensational municipal scandal of late years. On March 6 last Director Bigelow sent to Controller Lewis a statement making known irregularities in Paisley's department. The director asked for an investigation, and at the same time removed four under officials held culpable. Councils at their meeting the following Monday appointed a sub-committee from the finance committee, to investigate. The first estimate of Paisley's defalcations, through the padding of payrolls, was not quite $9,000. His resignation, demanded by Mr. Bigelow upon discovery of his fraud, was given at once. Paisley was ill at the time with pneumonia.

After two months' investigation, the sub-committee reported that the defalcations amounted to $52,000, partly through padded payrolls and partly through the drawing of warrants for material supposed to be furnished by contractors. In the meantime, Paisley had sold a piece of property in the Twelfth ward for $4,700, which amount he turned over to the city to offset his shortage. On May 26, while the committee was still probing, Paisley left town quietly for Virginia Beach, Va.

The committee's report devoted more attention to Director Bigelow than to Paisley. It held the director was guilty of negligence in not discovering Paisley's defalcations before, and as Paisley was under $10,000 bond to the department and Bigelow under $100,000 bond to the city, recommended that Bigelow be held accountable.

Four weeks ago this report was sent to councils and in response to orders, Director Bigelow was removed from office and George W. Wilson promoted to his place. Meanwhile Paisley had escaped. City Attorney Burleigh, after receiving the report, at once ordered the prosecution of the missing superintendent, and information was made by George W. Miller, of the bureau of detectives, charging him with grand larceny. Detective Thomas A. McQuaide was put on the case and traced Paisley to Virginia Beach, but he had left there four days before the detective arrived, and McQuaide returned without him.

After Bigelow's removal, arrangements were made to pay Paisley's shortage, and Attorney Burleigh postponed prosecution pending settlement. An expert accountant is now auditing Paisley's books for that purpose.

Samuel Theodore Paisley was born in the Fifteenth ward, Pittsburg, in May, 1846. He attended the city schools and graduated from the Central High school, after which he attended Harvard university. He left Harvard at the age of 17. In 1863 he entered the service of the war department as chief telegraph operator, serving two years under Sherman, Burnside and Rosecrans. He was with Sherman in the famous march.

Returning in 1865, he became chief operator for the Pennsylvania railroad, and had control of all the lines and operators between Pittsburg and Altoona. He left the company to become superintendent of the fire alarm and police telegraph. It was under his supervision that the Gamewll system was introduced. After seven years' service, Mr. Paisley went east, but returned to Pittsburg three years later to be re-appointed superintendent of the fire alarm, which he held for three years, resigning to become assistant superintendent of the bureau of highways and sewers, in charge of the East End district. In 1892, when Supt. J. P. Andrews, of the bureau, died, Mr. Paisley was appointed his successor, and he continued in that position until the discoveries regarding the pay rolls in his bureau. He held the office of school director in the Twentieth ward for six years. He was high up in the Masonic fraternity, and belonged to other secret societies.

Mr. Paisley was twice married. His first wife died a number of years ago, and about five years ago he married Emma Dean, who gave him her constant care from the day he first became ill. He inherited a considerable sum of money in 1884, and lived expensively at his home on Walnut street.

The death of Paisley will end the criminal prosecutions which had been instituted, but will not affect the civil suits which may be entered to recover the amount of the shortage from the bondsmen. It is understood that the entire amount will finally be covered into the city treasury.