Accidents And Crimes in Washington Missouri

Two suicides have taken place in this township and both in the same year. It is not the right way to meet the troubles and trials of this life, but as the world is made up of all manner of people, it is to be expected that different views of this life and the life to come will be manifested. It is hard for some to live when all hope has fled, when not a ray of sunshine is to cross their paths, and the question arises with portentous force, why live ? Just so, even those who see only the bright side of life might well ask the same question, when they look at their fellowman, and know from this life, that hope to him is dead. People sometimes cannot understand that cause and effect sometimes move within the same circle, and when the cause is felt, the effect is certain. It is not always cowardice. There has been many a brave heart taken the fatal plunge, and it is not for the living to judge the dead, or even a suicide, from the standpoint of their own understanding. Better by far to pity the suicide whose life has become too bitter to be borne, and who will say that he or she -who have thus cast themselves upon the Father of all mercies, may not have done a wiser act than suffering and waiting while blank despair and untold sorrow has their only present and future destiny? History will be found full of the incidents that have come before and after a suicide’s death, but it is a bold writer with a heart devoid of all sympathy, who can look at the despair, or write coldly of a suicide’s fate.


Peter C. Dowell, who lived in the northeast corner of the township on section thirty-five committed suicide by hanging, March 18, 1878. He hung himself, in the stable, tying a rope to a joist and jumping off. He was in bad health and that may have been the cause of what seems to have been a rash act.

Mrs. Lydia Snyder, who lived in the north part of the township, also committed suicide by hanging herself, using a skein of yarn and a handkerchief to affect her purpose. Her husband had left her some two years before, and she had never heard of him. She had nursed her sorrow until it was too heavy to be borne, and then committed the act. This was in June, 1878. She was about fifty years of age. Both were buried in Union Grove Cemetery.


A very singular accident, resulting fatally, was the death of young Albert Smith. To this day his death has been the cause of much comment by the query how could he have been placed in the position he was? The young man was about twenty-one years of age, and of sprightly habits. In February of the year 1876, he went into the woods to cut wood. At noon he had been to the house of Alfred Prindle, and that was the last seen of him alive. He left to go to his work, and not coming home that night, it was thought probably be had gone to a neighbor’s, but not returning next day, a search was made for him and he was found dead under a tree, about twelve feet from the butt. The tree fell across him near the middle of the back, and must have killed him instantly. Help was secured and the tree cut and removed, but the mystery was how he could possibly have got in the position he was found in. No two present could arrive at the same conclusion. It was a strange accident and a deep mystery, for no one thought he would commit suicide. Never in even the remotest manner had he ever hinted or talked of any such thing. But it will ever be a mystery to those who found him. This sad accident happened in section seven.


The only murder to record in this township was that of James Marrifield, who was stabbed by a dirk-knife in the hand of Augustus Killough, from which he died the ninth day after the cutting. The affair happened at the house of Joseph Landers, where a neighborly dance was going on. There had been some ill-feeling between the young men. The night of the dance Killough, who had been drinking, began to act so outrageously that he was ordered to leave; this he declined to do, and Marrifield, who was present, said he should and attempted to put him out. In the struggle Killough drew a dirk with a blade nearly six inches long and cut at Marrifield viciously, and before Marrifield got out of his reach, he had received his death wound.

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1 thought on “Accidents And Crimes in Washington Missouri”

  1. Hello, I am looking for any history whatsoever at the address
    613 washington Ave, washington, MO
    The house was built in 1935.

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