Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pittsfield Farmer Found with Head Blown Off

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Wednesday, July 28, 1909.

Ann Arbor, Mich., July 28—Godfrey S. Paul, forty-two years old, a prominent farmer of Pittsfield Township, Washtenaw county, has killed himself in his home, seven miles southeast of Ann Arbor.

His body was found standing erect, with the head almost entirely shot off, in his bedroom by his housekeeper at 3 o’clock. From appearances, he had placed the muzzle of a single barreled shotgun against his mouth and pressed the trigger with his foot.

Brooding over the death of his wife, who passed away six years ago, and pains from a nail scratch four weeks ago that, it is believed, affected his mind, are attributed as the cause.

Monday afternoon he was at the farm of his brother, Henry, helped him work and left for home, saying that he felt badly, but would held him again the next day. Tuesday morning he telephoned Henry he was going to Ann Arbor, and the two brothers planned to make the trip together.

Shortly before 3 0’clock Frank drove into his brother’s yard and asked the housekeeper to call him. She called several times, received no reply and started an investigation.

Coroner Johnson, who is a relative by marriage of the man, impaneled a jury. Four children ranging in age from seven to fifteen years are left.

During the morning Godfrey was about the house, though he complained of a severe headache. About half after two he said to his housekeeper “I am going to lie down till Henry comes, be sure and call me as soon as he gets here.”

Then Godfrey went to his room and about a quarter to three Henry came. After talking with the housekeeper who was in the yard for a minutes, it was proposed that she call Godfrey so that they might get an early start. After calling three or four times, without getting any response, she called Henry, and they went to the door. Opening it, they looked in upon an awful sight.

Six years ago Mr. Paul’s wife died and hardly had he recovered from that shock of that, when he scratched his hand on a wire nail and shortly afterward blood poisoning set in. This illness nearly cost him his life, in fact so ill was he that the doctors held out no hope for his recovery and several times it was reported that the was dead. But he recovered, except that frequently he suffered severe pains in his head that drove him almost frantic with the agony. It is thought they grew more and more severe and tha tat last they drove the man to the step he took yesterday.

Mr. Paul was one of the most prominent farmers in this section. He lived seven miles from Ann Arbor in Pittsfield township. He was related to many of the oldest German families in this county.

Four children, whose ages range from seven to fifteen, his immediate family survive him.

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