Friday, October 2, 2015

Suicide of Rhoda Anderson

Earlier this year, our researcher, D Foote, of the Robinson Constitution had found a mention of the suicide of a Miss Anderson in 1882.  We had also found the actual Coroner’s Inquest at the courthouse.  Now here is the rest of the story…

Rhoda Anderson
Sumner Press
July 27, 1882


About seven o'clock Monday evening a report was circulated on the streets that a young lady had committed suicide at the residence of Peter Perkins, of this place. On investigating the rumor it was found to be true, that Miss Rhoda Anderson, who resides with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. B. (Charles and Elizabeth) Anderson, on the state road 1 mile North of Sumner, was the unfortunate victim.

Coroner Leech was notified and arrived about eleven o'clock; a coroner's jury was impaneled, and an inquest held at which the following facts were brought out: deceased was eighteen years old; had been keeping company with a young man named Wiley Dickirson, who heartlessly deserted her after gaining her affections. On this account she made two attempts to take her life, the first one about a week ago, at or near the residence of young Dickirson's mother.

On that occasion she took, according to evidence, "fifteen cents worth of oil of tansy and thirty cents worth of morphine," but this, being an overdose, produced nausea and vomiting, on account of which the drug did not take effect. On that occasion she was brought to the residence of Mr. Perkins (whose wife is a sister of Dickirson) very sick, and remained so during the greater part of the night, during which she told Mrs. Perkins the cause of her sickness and she took the drugs "because Wiley Dickerson had gone back on her."

The last attempt which proved successful, was made with three grains of strychnine, purchased at Shepherds Drug Store, she giving a reason that she wanted to kill rats with it. After taking the poison she went to Perkins' residence and sat talking with several persons until seized with convulsions, when it was first discovered that she had taken strychnine. Drs’ French and Baird were called, but found the deadly drug had been absorbed by the system and death ensued within a few minutes after administering the antidote. Before she became unconscious she told one of the physicians that she had taken it and gave as a reason, that she was tired of life. Thus ends one more chapter of woman's trust and man's perfidy, a story that has neither beginning nor end in the course of human events.

Ed Note:  Interestingly enough….oil of tansy was sometime taken to cause an abortion. Perhaps there was still more to this story…)