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Posted By: CHERYL MOONEN (email)
Date: 3/24/2022 at 19:52:08

The people of Lamoni were greatly surprised and shocked on Tuesday afternoon when they heard that J. W. Smith, a former well-known businessman of Lamoni, had committed suicide in the Farmers State Bank.

Mr. Smith was a son of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Smith of this place and was well known throughout this part of the country.

For several years he was extensively engaged in the grain business, having an elevator in Lamoni and buying grain at a number of stations along the Burlington Railroad.

During the past year or two he had met with some heavy losses and of late had worried a great deal over his financial difficulties. Last winter he moved to Kansas City, Mo., where he was engaged in the automobile business. He was disappointed in this venture and a few weeks ago he moved back to this place.

From the best information we are able to obtain, his business affairs were in fair condition, but it seems that he felt that the outlook was very discouraging for him and he brooded a great deal of late over these matters, and he told members of his family that he feared at times that these troubles might result in his becoming insane or that he would possibly commit suicide.

During the past few weeks, he had been very ill and despondent, and his relatives had kept a very close watch on him and had done all they could to encourage him to be more cheerful and not to worry over his troubles.

On Tuesday afternoon he felt quite well, and, as he had some business at the bank, he started downtown. His wife and daughter accompanied him as far as his parents' home, where they all stopped. After a few minutes' visit there he left for the bank saying that he would be back in a few minutes.

He entered the bank a little after one o'clock and went into the vault where he kept a box in which were some of his papers. He came out of the vault with his box and set it down on the counter; as he did so he saw a revolver on a shelf under the counter. He at once picked it up, placed it against his right temple, and fired. Death resulted instantly.

There were present in the bank at the time of the shooting: Orra Teale, cashier; T.B. Nicholson and Ralph Tilton, assistants, who were all near Mr. Smith engaged with their work and they didn't notice what Mr. Smith was doing but supposed he was looking over some of his papers.

O. M. Rew and J. W. Wiley, customers, were also in the bank at the time and Mr. Rew saw Mr. Smith take the revolver and tried to stop him from shooting but could not reach him.

The news of the shooting spread very rapidly over town and nearly all expressed great surprise that Mr. Smith should have committed such a terrible act, but it was no doubt done as a fit of temporary insanity.

John William Smith, third son of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Smith, was born February 22, 1869, near Lamoni, Iowa, where he has lived the greater part of his life. He was united in marriage on November 26, 1890, to Allie Evelyn Graham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Graham of this place. To this union one child was born, Kathryn Charlotte, now three years old.

Death occurred April 19, 1910, at the age of 41 years, 1 month, and 28 days.

The funeral was held yesterday at the residence at 3 p.m. Rev. R.M. Shipman of the M. E. church officiating. Burial in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Mr. Smith leaves his wife and daughter, his parents, four brothers, E.H., C.F., T.J., and A.H. Smith, three sisters, Mrs. D.F. Keller, Mrs. Bert Teale, and Mrs. A. Otis White, and a host of relatives and friends to mourn his death.

The Smith family is one of the oldest and most highly respected in this part of the country, and the entire community sympathizes with them in this their great sorrow.

The pallbearers were his four brothers and two cousins, namely E.H., C.F., T.J., A.H. Smith, and Bert and Orra Teale. The members of the K. P. Lodge acted as honorary pallbearers.

Source: Lamoni Chronicle, Lamoni, IA, Thurs, 4/21/1910, p.1


Decatur Obituaries maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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