Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chamberlain Mantooth

From the San Francisco Chronicle, 14 October 1906, page 46:


KNOXVILLE (Tenn.), October 13. – Chalburn Mintooth, age 50 year, one of the most prominent farmers of Cocke county, to-day murdered his wife and four children, fatally injured two other children, and then committed suicide by cutting his own throat. The tragedy was enacted at the Mintooth home, near Newport, Tenn. It is believed Mintooth became suddenly insane. An ax was the weapon, the wife and children being brained. The two children who were still alive at 10 o’clock this morning cannot recover.

Carolyn Whitaker, online and through email, provided me the rest of the story and a correction or two. Some of her information references Larilee Naismith and Leota Sisk, an unmarried aunt who raised the youngest daughter.

Chamberlain Mantooth, nearly 42 was informed by a Dr. Carter that his wife, Pharrie (Sisk), 38, would probably not survive childbirth. He lost his mind and took an ax to his wife and his six children. Contrary to the article, one of the six, Betsy, 17, escaped; she later went on to marry Robert Lee Clevenger. Leota, 18, Gypsy, 12, Clay, 6, and Hollis, 2, apparently died that day, with Eura, 10, hanging on to die a day later.

Chamberlain's wife, Pharrie, also hung on one more day before she perished, living long enough to give birth to the couple's seventh child, Ima Fairy, who later married John Edward Lewis.

The entire family, including Betsy and Ima Fairy, are buried in the Sisk-Mantooth Cemetery in the Edwina area of Cocke County. I have not confirmed the location personally, but I believe the cemetery is located as indicated on the map.

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