Friday, October 14, 2011

Some Effects Of TheGreat Depression In The Delmar Area

When you think about the Great depression of the 1930's one thought that comes to mind is people on Wall Street jumping from office buildings to commit suicide. It didn't just happen on Wall Street. While researching a topic that occurred in 1932 I came across three men (two in Delmar) that committed suicide due to financial problems related to the great depression and that was just in one year. Below are the newspaper articles announcing their death.

Laurel “State Register” August 19th 1932

Two Delaware farmers, one of Delmar and one of Fairmount, committed suicide within 24 hours, of each other due, friends said in each case, to despondency over inability to make their farms pay.

The body of William E. Elliott, 57 years old, who was found Monday night in a gas-filled room at the home of his nephew, Harold L. Smith with whom he had been living there. Mr. Smith had been spending the day with his family at Oak orchard. When they returned at 6 o’clock they found the kitchen closed up and the cracks under the doors stopped . Gas was flowing from several jets and the body was lying on the floor. Near it was this note:

“Goodbye to all. I hope you will forgive me for the act. After my debts are paid, I want Marvin Smith to have what there is left of my property, if there is any.”

Marvin Smith is the young son of Harold L. Smith. Mr. Elliott had no relatives except his nephew. He had never married. Born in this section, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Elliott, he had spent his entire life farming in this vicinity. Although he had been living with his nephew for several years, he had operated his own farm near Delmar.

He was last seen alive about 5 p.m. Monday by William O’Neil, of this town who said he did not notice anything unusual in the man’s demeanor.

Worry over farming conditions also led to the suicide of Alfred W. McIlvaine, farmer of near Fairmount Sunday. He ended his life by shooting himself in the head, after he had carefully removed his false teeth and left them in the house. He went to a small building used as a workshop and sat down before firing the bullet into his brain.

The State Register February 1932

One of the saddiest happenings in this community for a long time, was the suicide of Alvin A. Elliott, 44 years old, Pennsylvania Railroad engineer which occurred in a chicken house in the rear of his home, his wife was aroused from her slumber, by the firing of a shot gun. Searching for the cause of the explosion she descended to the kitchen, where she found a note bidding them good by naming the depression as the cause, and indicating where he might be found. He had pressed the muzzle of a shot gun, against his head and touched the trigger with a stick. The character and reputation of the deceased were of the highest, and the community at large looked upon him as an esteemed and useful citizen, a conscientious Christian and a loving and affectionate husband and father. His act is one of the things which can never be understood. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Anna Elliott a son and a daughter, Alvin and Doris Lee, his mother, Mrs. Kate Elliott, two sisters, Mrs. Lulu parker and Mrs. Lillie Tingle, and two brothers, Frank and Michael. Funeral services were held from his late home on State street 2 p.m. Tuesday, Rev. G. W. Bounds of the M. E. Church officiating, assisted by Rev. J. T. Bailey and Rev. C. T. Hope.

1 comment:

frank b. calio said...

Interesting Howard. Quite intriqued by the wording of the stories compared to today's journalism.