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Obituary ~ Jeanette "Jet" Coffey

Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
June 30, 1895

MISS JEANETTE COFFEY, of Weldon, a student at the Normal Institute, committed suicide at the residence of W.R. KLINE in this city Thursday night by taking a large quantity of morphine, chloroform and opium.

The deceased was an exceptionally bright girl, and would have been 16 years old next August. She graduated with honors from the Weldon High School last year, and was preparing herself to teach. Her case is an exceedingly sad one. She was the daughter of MRS. JOSEPH COFFEY and from what we learn, her whole life had been a sorrowful one, although through no fault of hers, and finally she became despondent and took her own life.

She came to Leon Monday and paid her board in advance to MRS. KLINE. All week she seemed in high spirits until Thursday when she came home from Normal and said she could not study, and wished she could go home. She ate no supper that evening assigning as a reason that she had been swinging in the hammock and it made her sick. She wrote three letters that afternoon, one to her brother, one to a lady in Des Moines, and the other to JAMES DELK who was at Melrose. What the contents of those letters are we do not know.

Just before retiring the girl went out on the porch to get a drink, and it is supposed she took the poison at the time. She slept with MISS ADA MURRY, who did not notice anything wrong when she went to sleep, but was awakened about half past one o'clock by her moaning. The household was at once aroused, and Drs. Brown and Layton summoned. But nothing could restore her to consciousness, and she died about three o'clock.

An effort has been made by some to couple the name of JAMES DELK with the girl in an unenviable light, and the daily papers of Saturday contained a dispatch from Leon, assigning as the reason for killing herself that she was infatuated with MR. DELK and had repeatedly asked him to marry her, and his refusal caused her to commit the rash act.

There is absolutely no truth in such statements. MR. DELK became acquainted with her only about a month ago. He had written her two letters and had received one from her. They were only friends and acquaintances, nothing more. MISS COFFEY received a letter from him the day she killed herself, but it has been read, and there is not a word in it that would indicate they were more than friends.

An inquest was held Friday by Coroner Layton and after hearing the testimony, and viewing the body, the jury composed of W.H. ALBAUGH, J.A. HAWKINS and T.S. ARNOLD, returned a verdict that the deceased came to her death from the effects of poison taken by herself with suicidal intent. The remains were taken to Weldon Friday evening, and the funeral conducted on Saturday by Rev. Hosier. We learn it was the largest funeral ever in Weldon.

Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
January 10, 2002

The Davis City Advance
Davis City, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, June 27, 1895

U.S. Lane, who went to Leon to prepare the body of JET COFFEY for removal to this place, brings the sad intelligence that her death is a clear case of suicide. It seems that she had purchased three different poisons at Ven Werden's drug store in the afternoon. She was as lively as ever during the evening and retired at her usual hour. Some time during the night she took the poison. She awakened her room mate by her groans, who inquired if she was sick. Not receiving an answer she arose and became convinced that she was sick and summoned some of the household. Physicians were soon at the place and did their utmost to ward off the poisonous effects but to no avail. She never spoke after her room mate arose and left no word or reason for her rash act. An empty bottle and tumbler were found in the yard where they were supposed to have been thrown by the deceased after she had swallowed the poison. What reason she had for committing the deed is not known. A few theories are given but none on which any credence can be placed. Despondency is the most credible, but she seemed to be in very high spirits and she did not act like one in trouble.

She was very bright and intelligent and a graduate of the high school at this place. She had worked hard to earn money to enable her to attend the Normal Institute, and it seems strange that she should make an end to her short life under such circumstances. She was 17 years of age and had the natural ability to make a good mark in the world. It is indeed a sad affair.


Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
September 3, 2003