Genealogy Trails

Jackson County, Illinois

Southern Illinois Herald
Carbondale, Illinois
Saturday, December 2, 1899

TRAGEDY AT MURPHYSBORO

At 8 o'clock this (Tuesday) morning the dead bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Coad, Sr. were found in the dining room of their residence at South Thirteenth and Rover Streets. The room in which they were found is between the sitting room and kitchen. On the south side just beneath the window is a sofa. Mrs. Coad was lying on her back with her head just beneath the north window, left arm extended horizontally and right arm beside the body, feet extending towards the stove. A large hole just above the right eye, around and in which was a quantity of congealed blood, told the cause of her death. A strip of loose carpet upon which she was lying was scuffed up some, which indicated there might have been a struggle before or after she fell. From the position of the furniture and the body it is assumed she was standing when the shot that killed her was fired. the tongue protruded and was apparently considerably swollen. She was dressed in a calico dress, the waist of which showed several rents, and upon her head was a black fascinator.

On the opposite side of the room, the table between them, lay Mr. Coad on his face, head to the east and feet toward the stove. Blood on the wall back and above the sofa and a large spot where the blood had soaked into the sofa were evidence that Mr. Coad had been sitting upon the sofa when the ball that ended his life was fired. He had fallen full length face down upon the floor, the pistol falling under his body, where it was found by the coroner's jury. He was dressed in his ordinary clothes.

Just when the tragedy occurred will probably never be known, but the general opinion is that it took place between the hours of 5 and 6 o'clock, before the lamps were lighted or Mrs. Coad had begun to prepare the evening meal. The door of the cooking stove was open and on the back of Mrs. Coad's hand was a patch of soot or smut, which leads to the belief that she had just been in the act of starting a fire. At about half past four she was talking to a neighbor at the gate, and, as far as we have been able to learn, about the same time Mr. Coad was seen in the back yard by his grandson, Harry Sanquin, and was not seen again outside the house.

The bodies were discovered at 8 'clock this morning by Mrs. E. B. Cox, who lives on South Street. At that hour she went to the side or dining room door with Mrs. Coad's little girl, Margaret May Bevans. The door is of glass, and after knocking, she looked in and made the horrible discovery. She gave the alarm and Sheriff Fox and Coroner Creath took charge of the premises.

For the past several months it has been no secret that Mr. and Mrs. Coad were not living peacefully, and time seemed to widen the breach until, some two weeks ago, Mr. Coad began to take meals with his daughter. Negotiations were under consideration for a separation, but the terms could not be agreed upon. The matter weighed heavily upon Mr. Coad's mind, and while he was not a man who talked about his family affairs, during the past few days he spoke of his troubles to some of his more intimate friends and by his conversation and conduct gave evidence of much mental anguish.

Dr. Ingram's examination before the coroner's jury developed the following facts regarding the wounds: Two bullet wounds were found on Mrs. Coad. the ball that produced death entered the left eye near the center of the upper lid; the second ball entered the left shoulder joint. An incised wound two inches long, to the skull was found on the top of the head, showing evidence of having been made with a sharp instrument. So far the instrument supposed to have made the wound on top of the head has not been discovered.

The ball that killed Mr. Coad entered the head just above the right ear, ranging to the front, crushing the skull at the forehead.

The inability of the parties to live amicably together may be primarily attributed to the great disparity in their ages. Mrs. Coad was a young woman, while Mr. Coad may be said to have passed the shady side of man's estate. Having decided they could not live together, the matter of separation was discussed, which carried with it the necessity of some agreement as to a divisionof property. Mr. Coad recently learned that a deed he had made for some property to one of his sons was invalid, which gave him great concern and weighed heavily upon his mind. It was hoped by their friends all would finally be arranged satisfactorily, but no one expected the matter to result in the deplorable tragedy that has occurred.

Samuel Coad was born in the old country and came to the United States when a small boy. He lived a while in the north and then went south, where he married. With his family he moved to this city in 1868. For a number of years he worked in the mines at Mt. Carbon; in 1878 he associated himself with C. O. Pellett in the grocery business, retiring from the firm in 1884.

Since that time he has not engaged in active business. For a number of years he held the position of township treasurer and at the time of his death represented the people of the 4th ward in the city council. In his business ventures he was successful and had accumulated considerable property. In February, 1897, his first wife died, and in April, 1898, he was married to Margaret Bevans, divorced wife of William Bevans. He was about 62 years old.

The funeral will be under the auspices of the Masonic fraternity, of which he was a member, and will take place from the late residence at 2 o'clock p.m. Thursday.

Mrs. Coad's maiden name was Margaret Arthur, though she was generally known as Margaret Jones. Her mother died when she was 18 mos. old and she was raised by Mrs. William Muir. In 1889 she was married to William Bevans and in 1898 obtained a divorce. On the 23rd day of April she was married to Mr. Coad. Her age was 31 years. She leaves a daughter, Margaret May Bevans, aged about 6 years.

Following is the verdict of the coroner's jury returned at 3 o'clock this afternoon: In the matter of the inquisition on the bodies of Mr. Samuel Coad, Sr., and Maggie Coad, his wife, deceased, held at Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois on this 28th day of November 1899, we, the undersigned jurors, sworn to inquire of the death of Samuel Coad, Sr. and Maggie Coad, his wife, on oath do find that they came to their death by pistol shot wounds inflicted by the hand of Samuel Coad, Sr. at or about the hour of from 5 to 7 o'clock on the evening of November 27 1899.

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