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.

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