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30 January 2014

DUNHAM who traveled from Wisconsin to Georgia commits suicide (1874)

 My Dunham family research in Wisconsin produced this interesting news article. It is posted on the Oconto County WiGenWeb Project by Rita as News FLASH from the Past. My WI Dunham connection is Lindsey William Dunham (1820-1899).

An Ocontoite Commits Suicide down in Georgia

Camp Sycamore Grove, Great Southern R. R. near Jeffersonton, Camden Co., Georgia

Monday, July 21st, 1874
 Mr. Editor; With the sounding of the Church Bell for the early morning prayers, this quiet Sabbath morn, came the announcement that there was a “death in Israel.” A stranger who had came to the village the day before had committed suicide, curiosity was on tip toe to know who it was that had disturbed the quietude of this peaceful hamlet, and the whisper ran from one to another of the villagers with eyes askance and a thousand inquiries as to who the stranger could be, who it was that was weary of life’s burdens, and would seek this secluded corner away from all strife, stir commotion and jostling of a crowded world, who it was that tired of treading the paths of life alone perhaps, would shorten his road and seek the company and companionship of these gone before, who it was that would “Lay him down to sleep, And pray the Lord his soul to keep.”

Following the guide we are ushered into a lonely grove of evergreens, magnolias, live oaks, Sweet bays, and scattered here and there the familiar old sycamore, a crowd of southerners holding an inquest over the stranger the Foreman Col. Duncan L. Clinch, of confederate fame.

From examination it was ascertained that the suicide was Samuel Dunham, of Oconto, Wisconsin, that he had gone to the village store and bought the day before two one ounce bottles of laudanum, and drunk the contents of both. An empty chloroform bottle was found near; it is supposed that he had inhaled it to make smooth the path of death, as the body lay in perfect composure with arms fold across the breast seemingly to have died without a struggle.

I was told that he was perfectly rational to all knowledge of those with whom he conversed, and spoke not a word of his intentions when buying the laudanum other to say he was getting it for another, and inquired what quantity one should take for a dose, and if a certain quantity would kill a person, was polite and genteel in his deportment and conversation and talked intelligently on several topics, machinery saw mills & c., he seemed to be without money as none was found upon his person, he had a pocketbook and some papers that identified him. So secluded was the place where he choose to die that non disturbed him until the coroner’s jury examined him, after they had got through a good coffin was made, he placed in it and carried forth through shade and sun, followed to the grave by the villagers sad, and wondering at the vicissitudes of life, that a stranger would have left his home, the home of his friends, and go to a land of strangers and die.

Lowered into the bossom of the warm South, the prayers of strangers went up to God to graciously remember this man of his own image and forgave his waywardness and make him one of the fold of the happy, in that promised land where the weary cease from trouble. After the burial service were gotten, through with, not the cold clods rolled in upon the coffin, but the warm earth of a Southern soil, and the sympathetic tear of strangers watered his grave, and now under the genial rays of a warm southern people the stranger rests from earthly ills. Death unto all is given so cheap. There is nothing to pay for falling to sleep. Save closing the eyes and ceasing to weep. I. I. Thompson

If Samuel Dunham has any friends they can correspond with Col. Clinch, post office Waynesville, Georgia, who has his pocket book and papers.


The Oconto Lumberman
July 4, 1874
Passing Away
An Ocontoite Commits Suicide down in Georgia
Camp Sycamore Grove, Great Southern R. R. near Jeffersonton, Camden Co., Georgia: Another soul has passed into the spirit land, that of Samuel Dunham, who was well known by many of our citizens. He died by his own hand, in a strange Clime. That his remains have been respectably taken care of there is little doubt.

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