McQueen, Joshua P. – Obituary

Newman Man Takes Own Life With Poison. Mr. Joshua P. McQueen Committed Suicide Thursday Evening Of Last Week By Taking Concentrate Lye And Carbolic Acid-Funeral Held Saturday Afternoon.

The funeral rites took place at the late home on Kings Street, Saturday afternoon, at 3 o’clock, conducted by Rev. F. O Fannon, pastor of the Christian church, and were largely attended by relatives and friends. Music on the occasion was rendered by a quartet composed by Mrs. F. S. Lydick, Mrs. George Roller, Messrs. F. L. White and M. S. Smith; and at the request of the family Mr. Smith sang the solo, “Shadows.” Interment took place the Newman Cemetery.

The following obituary was read at the funeral: “Joshua P. McQueen, was the son of George P. and Harriett McQueen in Bartholomew County, Ind., Nov. 22, 1845. He was married to Belinda Catherine Cochran, March 10, 1868 [Malinda, March 12, 1870]. To this union were born two children, Mrs. S. J. Slaughter and Mrs. Hattie B. Davis, both residing in Newman. Mrs. McQueen departed this life after a brief illness in April, 1918.”

Story Follows–

Mr. Joshua P. McQueen committed suicide Thursday evening [August 14, 1919] of last week by taking a dose of Lewis Lye and carbolic acid, which he had mixed, in a cup. He took the poisoning about 6:45 o’clock p.m., and death relieved his suffering about 10:30 o’clock, and while he suffered intensely from the poisoning for a time his last moments were quiet. The deceased had been a great sufferer from rheumatism for years and at times his suffering was intense and almost unbearable, and it was during these times that he became despondent, and no doubt his final act, which he had said he would do was during one of these despondent times. A number of times prior to his death he had told relatives and friends that before he became entirely helpless and in the way of his family, he would take something to end his life.

His daughter, Mrs. Hattie B. Davis, made her home with him and had cared for him kindly and tenderly and was administering to his wants the best she possibly could. The members of the family were aware that he had made threats to take his life and had been watching him carefully. On Thursday evening, Mrs. Davis had walked out onto the front porch and was seated in a swing when he called to her to come into the house. She hurriedly went into the bedroom, thinking perhaps he had fallen, which he frequently did in his efforts to get about; but much to her surprise when she got into the room she found him sitting on the side of the bed and made the remark, “I have taken that medicine.” She asked him, “what medicine,’ and in reply got, ‘that poison medicine.” She saw the empty cup by the side of the bed and at once realized that he had taken something. She ran to the back door and called to her daughter, Mrs. Marie Drake, who lives the first house to the east of the McQueen property and told her to come quick that the grandfather had taken poison. Mrs. Davis then ran to the home of Mr. Andrew Hutchinson, a short distance away and phoned to Dr. Gillogly to come at once. The doctor responded and on his arrival at the home he found Mr. McQueen in great agony. In the meantime Mrs. Hutchinson who ran to the McQueen home had forced Mr. McQueen to drink a glass of vinegar. He admitted to the doctor that he had taken carbolic acid and Lewis Lye. Everything was done that was possible to do to alleviate his suffering by the doctor, but the lye and carbolic acid had gotten in their deadly work soon after being swallowed and nothing could be done, and death came about 10:30 o’clock.

Dr. Gillogly, county coroner, held an inquest on Saturday morning, summoning the following gentlemen; Carl S. Bargett, M. S. Smith, Frank Shell, J. H. Trinkle, J. E. Akers and J. W. Caldwell. After hearing the testimony of the witnesses which follows, the jury brought in the following verdict: “We, the undersigned jurors, sworn to inquire of the death of Joshua P. McQueen, on oath, do find that he came to his death as the result of carbolic acid and Lewis Lye poisoning administered by his own hand with suicidal intent.” Carl S. Burgett, Foreman; M. S. Smith, clerk; J. E. Akers; Frank Shell; J. H. Trinkle; J. W. Caldwell.

Mrs. Hattie B. Davis, being duly sworn said: “My name is Hattie B. Davis, and I reside at Newman, Ill. Am daughter of the deceased. Have lived in residence twenty odd years; saw the deceased in ordinary health before he took carbolic acid and Lewis Lye, about ten minutes or about 6:45 o’clock p.m. On August 14th, 1919. Didn’t notice anything unusual about his actions during the day but it seemed hard for him to understand things the last few days. Said he would take something to end his life before he would become helpless in a conversation sometime ago. He called to me as I was sitting in the swing on the front porch. I supposed he had fallen and ran into the bedroom near his bed and he said he had taken his medicine and I asked him what medicine and he answered that poison medicine. Didn’t tell me what kind of poison medicine he had taken. Don’t know where he got the carbolic acid. Had had some in the house last winter when I had the flu. The cup that he had taken poison from was sitting on the floor near his bed. There was a stick in the cup that he had used to stir the poison. Don’t remember whether I took cup out or not. Mrs. Hutchinson was there and gave assistance. He had despondent spells when he lost use of himself. I ran to the back door when I discovered what he had done and called Mrs. Marie Drake; then ran to Mrs. Hutchinson’s and telephoned the doctor. Have no medicine chest in house but kept carbolic acid on cabinet last winter when I had the flu. There was no bottle beside the cup. Saw no signs of bottle. He had asked me a number of times the past day or so whether or not I was going down town but gave no reason for asking the question. He ate a great deal of candy and I thought perhaps he wanted some candy, but he had a bountiful supply so knew he needed no candy, but never thought strange of his asking the question. He claimed to have been light headed Thursday. Could hardly go the last few days and complained a great deal of soreness. He ate very little the last few days. He had been in the habit of lying in bed until 10 or 11 o’clock of mornings here lately. He told Mrs. Hutchinson that he had taken carbolic acid and Lewis Lye. I found no bottle that had contained carbolic acid. I found a paper some two or three weeks ago that had had Lewis Lye in it and asked him what it had contained and he said Lewis Lye. He also stated when questioned about it that he had put it under the dresser with the intention of taking it in case his physical condition became such that he would become helpless.”

Rev. Fannon, pastor of the Christian Church, being sworn said: “Am resident of Newman, Ill., was acquainted with the deceased. Saw him last in his usual health on seat in front of house some days ago. Had visited with him often the last few months. Had never shown any despondency and had never complained as to hi physical condition. Saw him on Thursday evening, Aug. 14, 1919, about 7:20 o’clock. Was on his bed in bedroom; was conscious. Had quite a conversation with him and tried to relive his suffering as much as possible. Got hold of my wrist once when in great agony and squeezed it tightly. He told me he took a spoonful of carbolic and two teaspoonfuls of Lewis Lye. Noticed odor of carbolic acid in room. Found mark of the cup on top of dressing cabinet afterward, and found paper on top of which the poisonous mixture had evidently been hidden. He told Doctor Gillogly to give him something to let him down easier. He complained of pain in his hips. He passed away about 10:30 o’clock p.m. He had been in great agony but died rather peacefully. The lye had been used about the household evidently for laundry purposes. His daughter had noticed the dampness of of the lye a day or two before. He expressed no regret at what he had done; just asked that the doctor relieve his pain in his hips.”

Mr. Mary Hutchinson swore: Am resident of Newman, Ill., and well acquainted with the deceased, knowing him for 35 years. Saw the deceased on the morning of the 14th of August, 1919, and saw nothing unusual about his condition. He was weak and had been poorly. Saw him next on the bed shortly after 7 o’clock in the evening of the same day in response to call of Mrs. Davis, who came to my house and told me her father had taken poison. Saw him sitting on side of bed when I entered the room, when I said: “Oh, my God, Josh, what have you done?” He made no answer I said, ‘how much did you take’ and he said three teaspoonfuls of Lewis Lye and two of carbolic acid. Then I asked him where the bottle was and he said he didn’t know. He didn’t say why he took it. Was suffering great pain. Made him drink vinegar. Could smell carbolic acid in the room strongly. He had told me previously that he was not going to get down helpless; that he was going to end it all. I talked to him and told him he ought not to do it; but he said he would. I asked him to drink vinegar and he said he couldn’t take it, but I forced him to take almost a glass full. Didn’t want to drink it. He suffered a great deal. He didn’t want to tell where bottle that contained acid was. Evidently had dissolved the lye at some previous time with water.”

Mrs. Marie Drake testified; ‘Reside at Newman, Ill. Am granddaughter to the deceased, Joshua P. McQueen. Saw the deceased yesterday morning, August 14, 1919; appeared in his usual mental condition. Had been suffering from rheumatism pains the last few days. He was despondent at times. Had had conversations with him when he made threats about taking his life. On one occasion when attempting to get up from the dinner table, he remarked that he would not always be helpless that he would take something to end his life. Last few weeks he had been more helpless; suffering a great deal. Saw him last about 6:46 p.m., August 14, 1919, when I found him sitting on his bed. When I came into the room he said for me to get him some water. Instead I got vinegar to give him being asked to do s by Mrs. Hutchinson, who came in the room. I had not seen any bottle containing carbolic acid on my visit to the home. Did not see the cup he had mixed poison in.”
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman


Collection: United States Obituaries.

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