A.W. Waldo, about 80 years of age, an inmate of the County Home southeast of Leon, shot himself Monday afternoon shortly before 4 o'clock. He was dead when found, death having resulted instantly.
Mr. Waldo had been in poor health for years and of late his suffering had been great. This is given in a note left by him as the cause of his self destruction. Superintendent E.L. Shira was at work on some curbing in front of the building and workmen were also busy finishing up the new addition that is being constructed when the shot was fired. The shot was not noticed by them owing to the noise being made about the new portion of the home. J.W. Sell, of Leon who was working on the new building said later, he had heard a report that was without doubt the shot fired by Mr. Waldo, but he did not think of it being anything of that nature at that time owing to the frequent crash of building materials about the structure. The body of Mr. Waldo was discovered by George Nash, another inmate, who hurried to Mr. Shira stating that he believed Mr. Waldo was dead. Mr. Shira ran to the room occupied by Mr. Waldo and found him lying on the bed. He rolled him over and as he did so the revolver dropped from the dead man's hand and he discovered a bullet hole just over the right ear. Mr. Shira summoned Dr. H.R. Layton, of Leon, the County Coroner, who made an investigation, and decided that an inquest was not necessary.
Mr. Shira was not aware that a fire arm of any kind was in the possession of any of the inmates so he started an immediate investigation and found that George Nash, a year or so before, had a revolver in his possession, unknown to the superintendent and that he had traded it to Mr. Waldo for a watch. Mr. Waldo had immediately placed the weapon in his trunk where it had since remained. On the afternoon of the suicide, Mr. Nash said that he helped Mr. Waldo enter his room and had then gone away. A short time later he had gone to the room and found Mr. Waldo lying dead. The dead man had written a note stating that his suffering was greater then he could bear. The note read as follows:
To Whom It May Concern:
I do this deed to get rid of my great suffering. It is too much for me to bear. For the past six months I have been growing worse. God will not hold me guilty. A. W. Waldo.
Relatives in Des Moines were notified of the death by Mr. Shira, but they stated they were not able to take charge of the funeral. Reverend C.W. Reeder, of Leon, was notified and he took the matter up with the members of the Baptist Church, of which organization Mr. Waldo was a member, and enough money was furnished to pay the expense of burial in the Leon Cemetery. The remains were accordingly placed in the Leon Cemetery by the side of his wife. The funeral services being conducted by Reverend C.W. Reeder.
Mr. Waldo had become an inmate of the county home about eight years ago following the death of his wife and had since remained there. Mr. and Mrs. Waldo resided for some time in the small house that stood just a short distance east of the ice house at the Caster Lake.
Decatur County Journal-Iowa
October 22, 1914
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