Burden (Bert) Brownell (d. 1898)
Posted By: Dorothy Gosse (email)
Date: 11/23/2002 at 19:19:12
A Shattered Home
Between eight and nine o'clock Tuesday evening our city was thrown into a fever of excitement over a rumor that a man had murdered his wife and then committed suicide. An investigation showed the facts to be not quite as bad, but bad enough. In the residence of J. M. Winders, on South Frederick Street, resided Bert Brownell, a Chicago Great Western fireman, wife and two young children. The husband had not been in good health for some little time, being unable to go out on his run only part of the time. Tuesday he was at home, and earlier in the evening his wife had asked him to go out for a walk but he declined on the plea of feeling so unwell. She went out for a little walk with Mrs. Parker, and on her return found him in the bedroom off the kitchen, and he said he thought he would sleep there although he had been sleeping in another part of the house. She said all right. After a few words of conversation, in which he said he was tired of living the way things had been going, referring to his poor health and some troubles he had been having regarding the new residence he was building. His wife said that she would have to go and see about putting the children to bed, and turned to leave the room. As she did she noticed that he had a revolver part way out of his pocket. A suspicion flashed through her mind, and she asked him to give her the revolver. He refused, saying he wanted to use it. She then went up to him and reached out hand, and taking hold of the weapon said, "please Bert, give it to me; you have no use for it." But he held on to the revolver and said "I love you better than anything, Tina, but I may as well get rid of my troubles." He pushed her from him, with her head toward the floor, and placing the muzzle of the revolver close against her head, pulled the trigger. The ball struck the bone on the back of her head, and flattened out, buried itself in the skin, and was extracted by the physicians who were summonded. She said to the girl who was with her, "oh, he has shot me" and as she staggered as if about to fall, the girl caught the baby from her arms. The wounded woman, thinking not of herself, but of her husband, started for Ed O'Brien's only a few feet away, for assistance, but before she reached there she heard another revolver shot, and screamed out "he has shot himself", which was the first intimation that the neighbors had that anything was wrong. Marshall Culver was at once notified and going to the house he found everything dark. Going in and procuring a light, he found the door of the bedroom shut. Pushing it open and entering he found Brownell lying on the floor unconscious and a revolver and bottle of strychaine by his side. There was a large hole in his head just back of the right ear, where the ball had evidently entered, although the physicians were unable to find it by probing. The ball had ranged upward and entered the brain as was shown by the oozings from the wound. The family were former residents of Dubuque, but have resided in this city over a year. The family relations have always been pleasant, and there seems to have been no reason for the rash act except despondency and those noted in the beginning. Mrs. Brownell will soon recover unless something unforseen occurs. Brownell however never regained consciousness but lingered until five minutes to 5 this morning, when he passed quietly away never having spoken a word after the tragedy occurred. He was a brother of Mrs. Tom Denson and a cousin of the other Brownell families. A broken hearted wife, two fatherless children and a shattered fireside are what the morning light brought to this home.
Oelwein Register - June 22, 1898
The funeral service of Bert Brownell were held in the M. E. Church Friday forenoon, and the remains were sent to Dubuque for interrment. A number of Forresters from here went down, he having been a member of that Order.
Oelwein Register - June 29, 1898
Fayette Obituaries maintained by Constance Diamond.
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