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Sarah Maher 1873-1893

MAHER, DONAHUE

Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 11/24/2011 at 00:51:52

Suicide of Sarah Maher
Sunday morning the citizens here were considerably shocked to learn of the death, by suicide, of Miss Sarah Maher, at the home of her aunt, Mrs. E. Donahue who lives in the north east part of town. She killed herself by blowing her brains out with a shot gun after retiring. The horrible deed was committed sometime during the night but was not discovered until morning, when she was found in bed with the top of her head literally shot to pieces and the blood, brains, flesh and bones scattered over the wall, presenting a most ghastly and revolting spectacle. A shot gun was by her side and her right hand hold of the muzzle. There was one end of a handkerchief tied to the trigger of the gun and the other to the foot of the bedstead. The supposition is that she sat up in bed and placed the muzzle of the gun against her forehead and as she leaned backwards and pulled on the gun the handkerchief pulled the trigger. Coroner Myrick impanelled M.G. Wilson, N.B. Egbert and E.L. Brown as a jury for the inquest. The verdict was death by suicide, in accordance with the evidence.

For the past two weeks the deceased had not been well; she had complained considerably of her head and at times seemed quite despondent and had frequent crying spells. She asked Mrs. W.C. Ayers, with whom she was stopping a few days previous to her tragic death, “If laudanum would put any one to sleep – that she wanted to go to sleep and not awake” and also at another time “your (meaning Mrs. Ayers) reward will be in Heaven but I will have none.” Saturday evening before retiring she seemed cheerful and played some on the organ. The shot gun was at the foot of the stairs and the supposition is that she took it with her on going to bed and committed the dreadful act before the rest had retired as no one heard the report of the un, there being a room and two closed doors between her room upstairs and the parlor downstairs where the rest of the household were.

The deceased was about twenty-three years of age [1873] and was the daughter of Tom Maher, of Jack Creek township, - her mother having died last year – and has a sister in Estherville. The past summer she had been employed by Miss Drizhal in the millinery business and two weeks previous to her death had been in the same business at Ellsworth, Minnesota for a short time. She was of an amiable and pleasing disposition and had many friends endeared to her by her true womanly graces, who deeply mourn her untimely death. The funeral was held Monday and remains laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery. (Emmet County Republican, Estherville, IA, November 2, 1893)

Another Tragic Death
Sunday morning this community was startled by the intelligence of the death of Miss Sarah Maher at the home of Mrs. Donahue in Lough’s addition. The desperate young lady, about eighteen years of age, procured Eddie Donahue’s shot gun, undressed herself preparatory to retiring for the night, and after loading one barrel of the gun with a cartridge, tied one end of a handkerchief to the trigger and the other end to the bed post. Then sitting upright in bed she held the muzzle of the murderous weapon to her forehead, and pulling backwards the gun was discharged and the entire upper part of her head was blown off, killing her instantly. Strange to say none of the other inmates of the house heard the explosion and knew nothing of the terrible affair until the next morning when she failed to arise as usual and was sought for and discovered by Eddie Donahue.

The coroner, Dr. Myrick, held an inquest. The jurors were Nels Egbert, G.L. Brown and M.G. Wilson. Their findings were in accordance with the above facts. (Northern Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, November 2, 1893)


 

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