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 Susanna L Smyth

Susanna L Smyth

Death 1882 (aged 55–56)
Frisco, Beaver County, Utah, USA
Burial Frisco, Beaver County, Utah, USA
Memorial ID 50806 · View Source
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The Salt Lake Daily Tribune
Sunday, May 28, 1882
page one

Patriculars of the Smyth Murder and Suicide near Milford
Heroic Act of the Daughter During the Terrible Scene

The Old Man Not Permitted to Die With His Boots On

Frisco, Utah May 26, 1882
Yesterday morning, while the citizens of our camp were standing around in groups discussing the celebration of the previous evening given in honor of Hon. A. G. Campbell, the startling news of the tragedy committed by Uncle John Smyth at his ranch, about twenty miles north of Milford, near the Utah Central railroad track, cast a gloom over every household and mind in town.
People rushed frantically around in search of full particulars, but none, save that a telegram had been received stating that Uncle John had shot his wife dead, could be obtained.
Relatives and friends of the family hastened to the scene as fast as horses could carry them, while the town lingered in suspense for details of the crime. The second vehicle that left camp, shortly returned with the intelligence that the young man employed by Mr. Smyth had been met near town and gave the information that Mrs. Smyth was not dead, but that Uncle John had killed himself by discharging the contents of a shotgun into his body. Again the people were thrown into a fresh fit of excitement, and all were curious to know the cause that led to

The particulars, as obtained at the inquest, held by F. Whiteside O'Connor, J.P., of Star Precinct, were as follows: The parties on the ranch, at the time of the tragedy, were the deceased - John Smyth, Mrs. Smyth, their youngest daughter, Ella, and a hired man. At the breakfast table some words of slight import occurred between the deceased and Mrs. Smyth. After breakfast Uncle John took a hammer and nail and drove the latter in a corner of an out-house, then took the shot-gun and loaded it with pistol bullets; during the time occupied in this preparation Mrs. Smyth had gone into the milk cellar, and while there she was notified by her husband, who confronted her with gun in hand, that he was going to kill her and himself, whereupon she ran out over the grass with which the house is surrounded, and cried murder. When she had reached a distance of not over thirty feet, John fired, the charge entering the right shoulder. Still Mrs. Smyth continued to run, and immediately the second barrel flashed its contents into her left hip, near the small of the back, and she fell. In the meantime her daughter came out and ran to the assistance of her mother, returned to the house and brought water to her wounded parent.

John had meanwhile reached his room, reloaded the gun and tied the ends of a string to each trigger. He then proceeded to the outhouse, in which he had previously driven the nail, over which he put the double of the string, and placing the muzzle of the gun to his breast, stepped backward and the string broke. He then placed one trigger over the (nail?) and repeated his backward step, holding the gun to his breast, when the fatal charge dashed into his body in the region of the heart, the gun rebounded backward and he fell

During the time occupied in the foregoing suicide, the daughter was assisting her wounded, bleeding mother, who raised upon her right elbow, and looking toward her demented husband, saw him fall from his own (?), never to rise again.
Thus ended the life of the highly respected Uncle John Smyth.
The hired man in the interval had gone to notify the section hands on the railroad of the tragedy, thus unavoidably leaving the daughter alone with perhaps a dying, murdered mother and a self-murdered father, lying about thirty feet apart. The proximity of the muzzle of the gun to Smyth's clothing set them on fire, and the daughter Ella procured water and extinguished it. It is said, too, that she pulled off her father's boots.
Who can imagine the horrors that pervaded the mind of this brave girl during the fearful moments that flashed death in such horrible detail. A few minutes before the family were united at the breakfast table, now, perhaps, mother dying, father dead. The situation is one to be deplored, and is calculated to make the (illegible) of hearts tremble. Mrs. Smyth was brought to this place on the train this forenoon, and was taken to the residence of her daugther, Mrs. Armstrong. She is placed under the medical care of Dr. Dougins (sp) The extent of her wounds are not yet known.
The body of the deceased will arrive here this afternoon, and will be interred in the Frisco cemetery, between (?) and 5 o'clock. Both the deceased and his wife are about 60 years of age. The tragedy is the result of a demented mind, as will be shown hereafter.

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  • Maintained by: Burt
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 50806
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Susanna L Smyth (1826–1882), Find A Grave Memorial no. 50806, citing Frisco Cemetery, Frisco, Beaver County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Burt (contributor 46867609) .