Walter M. Ryals

The Cartersville Courant
Cartersville, Georgia
December 16, 1886, page 3
Transcribed by:  

Life’s Fitful Fever O’er.

Walter M. Ryals Takes an Overdose of Laudanum By Mistake, Putting an End to His Brilliant and Promising Life.

A detailed account of the Occurrence Written by His Room Mate and a Full Report of the Funeral Services in Macon.

[Long article, see Cartersville American December 15, 1886]


Walter M. Ryals
A Surpassingly Beautiful Tribute to His Memory by a Friend Who Knew Him Well.

[Long article written by John W. Akin, see Cartersville American December 15, 1886]


The Cartersville American
December 15, 1886, page 3

Walter M. Ryals Dead.
He Dies in Birmingham, From an Overdose of Laudanum.

The telegram received here last Saturday morning, from Birmingham, announcing the death of Walter Ryals, cast a gloom over the whole community.  Walter Ryals dead, could scarcely be realized by those who knew his bright, sparkling face, and had felt the warm sunshine of his generous heart.  A physique that was the embodiment of manly beauty, vigor and strength; a spirit ever buoyant and hopeful, suddenly stilled by the cold hand of death, naturally excited the curiosity of his many friends, and the question was often asked, what caused his death?  But it was not long before the intelligence was received that it was accidental and caused by an overdose of laudanum.  It seems, that about a week ago he had suffered from an attack of diarrhea; recovering, insomnia set in, and to be relieved, he took the opiate.

The career of Walter Ryals, for one so young, was of unusual brilliance.  Graduating from Mercer University in 1882, he afterwards graduated at Lumpkin law school, at Athens.  Coming home, in the fall of 1883, he formed a partnership with Maj. A. M. Foute, but having a fondness for journalism, in January, 1884, he connected himself with the American; in 1885, he took the position of city editor of the Courant, which place he held until he assumed editorial control of the Anniston Ala., Hot Blast.  He soon stepped to the front as a forcible, clear, pungent writer.  In this profession he won high encomiums, and had he lived, and continued in it, his graceful, fluent, logical style would have placed him in the front rank as a journalist.  Early in the fall he gave up his position on the Hot Blast, and went to Birmingham, to engage in the practice of law.  Had he lived, his genius and splendid native powers would soon have placed him high on the hill of fame in this noble profession.

His remains were interred at the cemetery in Macon. The funeral ceremonies were imposing and impressive.  The Macon Telegraph gives a full account of the last sad rites of this noble-hearted young man.

The Birmingham Age, in speaking of the death in that city, says: “The simple announcement of the death of Walter Ryals will bring sorrow to hundreds of friends who knew him in life.  His warm heart, that cherished friendship for all and malice for none, is stilled in death.  A young man of noble and generous impulses and possessing a brilliant mind, he has been cut down when just across the threshold of manhood.”


December 22, 1886
Page 3

Passed by the Ciceronian Society of Mercer University.

Once more by the death of Mr. Walter M. Ryals we are reminds that “This incorruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.”  By the death of our noble brother the Ciceronian Society has lost a diamond from her crown that shone with surpassing brilliancy.  Therefore be it resolved:

  1. That believing our kind Heavenly Father doeth all things for the best we will endure this great affliction as best we can, invoking divine aid to comfort and strengthen our grief-stricken hearts.
  2. That in the death of Walter M. Ryals our society has lost an alumnus who cannot be replaced. Like the eagle he was soaring to that lofty eminence of fame which neither time nor eternity could obliterate.  Possessed of magnificent intellect, he was feared by his opponents and admired by his friends. Being open hearted and magnanimous and charming in nature he made hosts of friends and admirers who, with us sincerely mourn his untimely decease.
  3. That with tender sympathy we remember his sorrowing father and mother, the distressed sister and heart-broken brothers, beseeching God in his infinite love and mercy to console and cheer them in their profound grief.  It is comforting to know that after a short useful life he only left for a brighter world where sorrow is unknown.  With the happy immortals, he breathes praises to the adorable Father, and will spend an eternity of unknown joy.
  4. That we drop a pearl in memory’s casket for our deceased brother, and to apprise future members of our society of our distinguished, but short lived alumnus, we devote a page of the record book to his memory.
  5. That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to the mourning family with sincere condolence, and copies be sent to the Christian Index, Birmingham Age, Cartersville American and Daily News with the request for publication.

F. C. McConnell
C. W. Steed
J. W. Smith
E. J. Green, Jr.
H. R. Harper


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