The Ringgold Record, 1894
Mack WEST of Benton Township
Accidently Shoots Himself
with His Own Gun
And Dies from Hemorrhage, Shock and Exposure,
at 7:30 O'clock the Same Evening
One of the most shocking accidents that has occurred in Benton township for some years took place
last Friday afternoon about two o'clock. It was equalled only in sadness by the tragic death of
Miss [Hattie] BARCHUS a few years ago who was accidentally shot and killed by her brother and the facts in regard
to which are probably still fresh in the minds of the majority of our readers.
On last Friday
after dinner, Mack WEST who lives about three miles northwest of Benton, hitched up to his sleigh,
took his gun, a double-barreled one, and started out to hunt quails. He had driver over into the
DILLE field where he spied a flock of quails, and proceeded to empty one barrel of his gun in the
midst of them while in his sleigh, killing many and wounding some. He got out of the sleigh to kill some
of the wounded birds by knocking them down with his gun. To do so he grasped the gun by the muzzle,
apparently forgetting this it was a double barreled one, with one load still in, and made a sweep at
a bird with the butt. Just as the muzzle of the gun was in front of him, the trigger caught on a twig
or weed and the entire contents of the gun lodged in the front part of the left thigh, three inches
below the groin, severing the large blood vessels and nerves in that region. All the tissues in the course
of the shot were horribly lacerated, the hemorrhage being profuse and loss of blood great.
It was a about two o'clock when he shot himself, and he lay there reeking in his own blood and suffering
from the pain of the wound and the severe cold, until he was found by Messrs. D. L. GLEASON and Chas.
DILLE a few moments before 4 o'clock. Mr. GLEASON had heard a person hallewing of some time, but
supposed it was some one calling or driving cattle; but when Mr. DILLE came up they decided to
investigate matters and did so with the above shocking result.
Just what thoughts must have
passed through his mind as he lay there on the snow with the life blood flowing from the gaping
wound is hard to determine. But as a drowning man's whole past life passes in review before him,
so Mack must have seen his past life as only God and himself could know. The fruitless efforts to
raise himself and the apparently hopless task of attracting help must have indeed chilled the stoutest
heart and driven it back to its Maker. We can scarcely conceive of a more hopless case than the above
nor one more calculated to call forth all the sympathy in the human heart towards him. Luckily for
him there was aid in hearing distance which finally came as mentioned.
These gentlemen took him
to his home in his own sleigh and on the way he told them how the accident happened and all the
attendant circumstances. He was rational then and continued so until the last an recognized the
doctors when they arrived.
As soon as they arrived at Mr. WEST's home, Chas. DILLE came to Mt.
Ayr as fast as he could possibly travel, after Drs. BAILEY and HORNE. Fortunately these gentlemen
were intheir offices and went out to Mr. WEST's together, arriving there at 6:20 and found him in
a collapsed condition. He was pulseless and very restless. The surgeons made a hasty examination
of the wound to determine his condition, but before a complete examination could be made he commenced
to sink and in a short time passed away. The reaction from the would never set in and his death
occurred at 7:30 from hemorrhage and shock.
His death came suddenly although expected from the
nature of the wound which was in a round shape similar to the gun barrel only in outer size narly
the circumference of a silver dollar, and clear cut. But then anyone who has ever seen a gun shot
would, and especially one made by a shot gun at close range can picture to themselves the rest.
Mr. WEST was a young married man about 27 years and leaves a wife and two children aged 4 and 2 years
respectively to whom this awful calamity comes with crushing weight. All the relatives and friends
who resided in the vicinity were present to soothe the dying pillow, but he was beyond medical skill
when the doctors arrived.
The funeral occurred Monday in the new Methodist church at Benton,
being conducted by Rev. B. D. HIMEBAUGH, assisted by Rev. THARP and Mrs. ZIKE. The interment
was the first in the new cemetery at Benton.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, 2008
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