J. W. Smith

The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
September 22, 1886, page 3
Transcribed by:  

Dead In a Pond.
A Sad Case of Suicide Near Pine Log.
Mr. J. W. Smith is Found Dead in a Mill Pond With His Throat Cut – Insanity Supposed to Have Been the Cause, Etc.

On last Thursday morning, Mr. J. W. Smith, who lived near Pine Log, in this county, left his home, and in company with his wife and Mr. Joe Goode, started to town to attend the trial of a case which he and his wife had brought against Mr. Stevens, in the city court.  To accommodate the parties and the great number of witnesses who had been summoned, both for the plaintiffs and defendant, Judge Neel had fixed the time of the trial by special order at ten o’clock.

When Mr. Smith arrived at the edge of town he jumped from the wagon in which he was riding and ran back up the road, and when caught he could not be persuaded to get back in the wagon and come on to the trial as he had started; but he protested that he had no friends in town, and wanted to go home.

He escaped from Mr. Goode and ran towards home.  This was the last Mr. Goode saw of him.  Mr. Ed Adcock and two or three other witnesses whom Mr. Smith had had subpoenaed to attend his trial met him several miles up the road towards Pine Log and they asked him where he was going.  He replied that he was going back to his children.  And on being pressed as to where his children were, he did not know.  He didn’t know whether he had left them at home or not.  Mr. Smith being a man naturally of a very weak mind, and in fact an imbecile, this did not particularly attract Mr. Adcock’s attention, who was acquainted with him.  Mr. Adcock went on to town, and Mr. Smith continued his course towards Pine Log.  When Mrs. Smith returned to her home Thursday evening she found that Mr. Smith had not arrived.  A search was instituted for him and kept up Thursday night and all day Friday and Friday night, and early Saturday morning his coat was found hanging on a bush near the mill pond on little Pine Log creek, and upon it were traces of blood.  Close investigation disclosed that some one had proceeded from where the coat was hanging on the bush in the direction of the pond.  At the place where the tracks came to the pond, it appeared as though some one had gone in.  The pond was dragged, and Mr. Smith was found on the bottom with his throat cut, the wind pipe being partially severed, and a handkerchief bound tightly around his neck, his knife in his pocket with blood on it, and his hands clasped at the back of his head.  As before stated, Mr. Smith was a very weak minded, inoffensive man, against whom no one entertained malice, but with whom everyone sympathized.  No explanation could be given to the sad occurrence, but that of suicide.  In addition to the above facts we learn that Mr. Smith has not appeared quite himself lately.  He has been to the court house, and in great distress, consulted with his lawyer and other officers of court about his case, and appeared to be laboring under great mental excitement. The suit arose upon an implied warranty of a jack.  Mr. Stevens sold him a jack for $250, took a yoke of oxen, a wagon and some things at $100, and took Smith’s note for $150, and to secure payment, a mortgage on his place.  The jack proved utterly worthless, hence the suit.  Mr. Smith having everything he had on earth at stake in the suit, and seeing nothing but ruin staring him in the face, in the event the suit went against him, it is supposed that the excitement was too much for him, and he lost his mental balance, and the sad catastrophe followed.  The deceased leaves a wife and several children, in abject poverty to mourn his loss.



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