Friday, June 26, 2009

Forgery in Chicago

Atlanta Constitution, July 17, 1910, page 10:


For Two Weeks His Whereabouts Unknown.

Man Who Attempted to Pass Carolina Bank Checks in Chicago Son of a Prominent Family and Well Connected.

Newport, Tenn., July 16. – The first intimation that the family of W.S. Clark, of Newport, had that he was in Chicago, and in trouble, was received today. For two weeks his whereabouts have been unknown, and his relatives were becoming much concerned. He is the son of a prominent family, and is well connected.

This morning D.G. Allen, of the Newport Produce Company, received the following letter from Ware & Leland, of the Chicago Stock Exchange, dated July 15:

Had Letter of Introduction.

“We were presented today with a letter of introduction signed by the Newport Produce Company, per yourself, introducing Mr. A.R. Swann. Mr. Swann has been in our office several times today, and it rather occurred to the writer this his intended actions on the market were somewhat more liberal than usual. We, therefore, took the matter up with you over the long-distance telephone, and late this afternoon we had a wire from Newport stating that Mr. Swann is entirely reliable, but, at present at home.”

Letter a Forgery.

Mr. Allen wired Ware & Leland, in response to the letter, to arrest the man presenting the letter, as it was a forgery. He had no idea at the time as to the identity of the said Clark. It was learned today that Shell Clark, as he was known at Newport, had been in bad health for seven or eight years, and it is believed that he is mentally unbalanced. His wife left him two months ago, taking her 7-year-old son.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Suicide Epidemic

The suicide rate at the close of the 19th century was about the same as today's rate, but the understanding of mental illness was primitive at best in 1899.

In March of that year, the Newport area apparently experienced at least three suicides in 3 days, but only one was reported in detail in the Atlanta paper. No details are currently known of the other two suicides mentioned below.

Atlanta Constitution, March 14, 1899, page 3:


His Children Find Him Hanging In His Bedroom.

Knoxville, Tenn., March 13. – (Special.) – James M. Clark, a wealthy and leading farmer of Cocke county, today committed suicide by hanging himself. Clark has of late suffered a mental aberration. This, together with the fact that his wife is reported to have deserted him a few days ago, is considered the cause of the suicide. He was found dangling from a rope, in his own bedroom, by his five children upon their return from school. This is the third suicide in three days in this locality.