A Sad Ending to a Native of Williams County, OH - Susan Markel Lindsey, 1910
By Pamela Pattison Lash
Old newspaper accounts from different papers can have both common details, information found in one source and not the other, or missing data. In this case two different newspapers accounts add detail to the tragic ending of a life in Williams County, OH. Let's examine the accounts as to genealogical details and information on the death.
Bryan Democrat (Bryan, OH), October 4 and 7, 1901, p1 and p8
Lead to Mrs. Lindsey Taking Her Life Sunday Morning with Acid
Mrs. Sue Lindsey died early Sunday morning from the effects of carbolic acid poisoning. She was an old lady and had been in poor health for a time and worry had affected her mind so it is thought that it was in a moment of temporary insanity that she took poison.
Mrs. Lindsey lived with her son, Clarence, and family on her own farm about five miles north-east of Bryan. She purchased the acid from a local druggist Saturday and kept it concealed in her room. She was up early Sunday morning and down stairs. About six o’clock while the rest of the household happened to be outside for a moment she went to her room and drank the acid, pouring it first from the bottle into a glass. When the others returned to the house Mrs. Lindsey was found on the bed and unconscious, but still alive. Doctors hurried out from town, but before they reached the house she was dead.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Reformed church at Pulaski, Rev. Money of West Unity, officiating.
Susan Markel Lindsey was born August 20, 1840; she departed this life October 2, 1910 at the age of 70 years 1 month and 12 days. She was the eldest of a family of seven children, all of whom have preceded her in death except two sisters, Mrs. G W Benner of Bryan and Mrs. GB Lindsey of Pulaski. Her husband Samuel Lindsey departed this life April 1, 1888 since which times she has continued to live on this farm which she and her husband had by frugality and hard work transformed from a dense forest into a beautiful and comfortable home.
She leaves to mourn her loss as a kind and indulgent mother, three children, WN Lindsey of Bryan, Mrs. James Snow of St Johns, Michigan, and CW Lindsey of Pulaski, one child Amos Eugene having died at the age of two years. She is also survived by two grandchildren, Clela Lindsey Schartzer and Hugh Ames Lindsey, and one great granddaughter, Helen Arlene Schartzer.
At the age of three years Mrs. Lindsey came with her parents Amos and Diana Markel from Pickaway County to Williams County where she has since resided. Early in life she united with the German Reformed church and has always taken an active part in the Lord’s work. During the latter part of her life she has been severely afflicted by disease which has enfeebled both her body and mind taking away her active life; however, she was always kind and generous to the afflicted and needy and endeared her to a wide circle of friends who mourn her loss.
Cards of Thanks……….W N Lindsey, Clemmie Snow, C W Lindsey
Bryan Press (Bryan, OH), 6 October 1910
Aged Woman Is Suicide; Poison
Taken By Mrs. Sue Lindsey of Near Bryan Proved Fatal; Had Been in Poor Health
Mrs. Sue Lindsey died at the home of her son Clarence Lindsey early Sunday, death being due to carbolic acid poisoning. Mrs. Lindsey had been in feeble condition for the past year and had been making her home with her son and family near Pulaski.
Saturday she was seemingly feeling quite well and came to Bryan where she purchased six ounces of carbolic acid from one of the local druggists. She went to bed Saturday night as usual and arose early Sunday morning and came downstairs. Her daughter-in-law hearing her go back up the stairs got up and went to the stair door where she detected the odor of acid. Upon going upstairs to her room she found Mrs. Lindsey lying on the bed. She had taken nearly all of the acid but was still alive. A physician was summoned at once but she died before help could be obtained.
Mrs. Lindsey was about 72 years of age at the time of her death. She leaves three children, Wilson, Clarence, and one daughter, Mrs. James Snow of St. Johns, Michigan, besides a host of friends to mourn her untimely death.
Funeral services will be conducted from the Reform church at Pulaski Tuesday afternoon at 1 o’clock. Interment will be made in the Shuffler cemetery.
Let’s analyze the two articles in terms of genealogical material.
*Both stories share Susan’s age at death (do the math for birthdate from The Bryan Press) and the names of her three living children; however, The Bryan Democrat, reported the name and age of her fourth child, and issued a better family data statement on her actual birth and death dates plus the places of these events. Her parent’s names were given as well as their place of residence before settling in Williams County. If you also do the math on her age you will have a general idea when the family came here. Her living siblings were identified along with her husband’s name and when he passed away, plus two additional generations of direct descendants were listed.
*Both articles made reference to her personality traits, including her religious affiliation.
*The Bryan Press described her funeral details and where she was to be buried.
Next let’s look at the suicide events.
There appear to be a few conflicts concerning these accounts.
*Both accounts agree as to the who, when, where, why, and how.
*It stated from the Bryan Democrat that multiple doctors were called to the scene while the Bryan Press only mentioned one.
*The Bryan Democrat gave a more detailed account of her supposed movements before, during, and after taking the poison, but the Bryan Press specifically mentioned an unnamed daughter-in-law’s involvement.
I researched carbolic poisoning and found that just a half an ounce can cause death so Susan’s six ounce purchase (mentioned as that quantity in the Bryan Press) would definitely do the job. She may have mixed the acid with water but neither account suggested that. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding, and diarrhea were common symptoms after ingestion. I also wonder what story Susan gave to the druggist in order to obtain the carbolic, but it appears that purchasing this was not unusual for that time period. Many housewives made soap from a mixture of carbolic acid.
My conclusion is that to obtain a full picture of her relatives, final resting place, and details of her suicide one needs to examine both newspapers carefully.