Stark County, Ohio
Funeral services for Isaiah Oberlin, whose death was announced on Monday, took place at the Reformed church, at Stanwood, at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning. The pallbearers were Jacob Weisgarber, Theodore Culler, Levi Stoner, John Shilling, Philip Geis and Frederick Wetter. The services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Beck, of Mt. Eaton, and the Rev. N. E. Moffit. [The Massillon Independent (Massillon, Ohio) April 12, 1900 - Sub. by Ida Maack Recu]
William J. Oberlin
THROUGH THE HEART. -- Shocking Death of William J. Oberlin. -- Financial Trouble The Cause
Unfortunate in His Business Enterprises, He Declares His Inability to Longer Endure His Troubles, and Ends His Own Life in a Terrible Manner.
William J. Oberlin, one of the best known residents of this city, was found dead in his office at an early hour Tuesday morning. A pistol ball fired directly through the heart had ended his existence. The discovery was first made by Mr. Oberlin's son. When the former did not return home in the evening as usual, Mrs. Oberlin became worried, and at 1 o'clock sent the boy in search of his father. Going straight to the insurance office, at the corner of Main and Erie streets, the young man was horrified to find his father cold in death, lying upon the floor. Wild with grief the son summoned assistance, and Policeman McGuire was the first to respond.
Coroner McQuate was notified and arrived about 4 o'clock, when Mr. Oberlin's body was conveyed to the residence in East Main street. Several physicians were called and in their opinion the body when found had been lifeless for two hours. The shot, then, must have been fired between the hours of 11 and 12 o'clock, and strange to say it attracted no attention. When found Mr. Oberlin was lying upon his back. His coat had been removed and he had written a note to his wife, before taking his life. The revolver, a 32 caliber, was lying between his knees where it had fallen from his hand.
There could have been little or no premeditation on Mr. Oberlin's part. Before starting down town in the evening he asked his son about a picnic which the latter expected to attend today, and had provided him with money to defray his expenses. After going down town he purchased some bread to take home with him, and laid it carefully beside his hat, so that he could not forget it. These evidences tend to show that the desire to take his own life stole upon him very suddenly, and he acted upon the impulse of the moment. Nothing in his walk or conversation had ever suggested to any member of his family that he had ever thought of suicide.
Frank Shepley in speaking of Mr. Oberlin remarked this morning that he had frequently heard him say that he would not live to vote for McKinley this fall.
W. J. Oberlin was appointed guardian, a number of years ago, for Inez and Lulu M. Oberlin, relatives of his. Inez became of age several years later, and a settlement with her was made. Lulu Oberlin recently attained her majority and only last week her guardian filed his final account in the probate court of Stark county. By this account he was indebted to Lulu Oberlin in the sum of $4,000, and no settlement was reported. Mr. Oberlin was given a blank receipt and instructed to effect a settlement at once. None has been made since.
Mr. Oberlin's inability to settle upon Miss Oberlin the amount due her from the Christman estate need not have been made public or have worried him beyond endurance. He had made known the existence of the debt to members of his family who promptly offered their assistance and succeeded in adjusting matters. The exact amount due Lulu M. Oberlin was $4,300, Mr. Oberlin having offsetting to the extent of $1,800, thus making his total shortage in the estate but $2,500. He was also indebted to various persons in the city in sums aggregating nearly $1,000. After all had been amicably adjusted Mr. Oberlin concluded that he could not assume the interest and living expenses and succeed.
The letter addressed to Mrs. Oberlin was undated and showed careful preparation. It was typewritten and signed, and indicated that the purpose of the writer was not merely to escape from the weight of trouble pressing upon him, but to put his estate in a thoroughly solvent condition, and enable it to make good every outstanding obligation, and such will be the result. The language suggested the author's deep desire to leave no stain upon his memory, and gave proof of his honorable purposes. He bade farewell to his wife in touching terms, writing affectionately of her loyalty and worth, besought her to rear the children well, and teach them to forgive their father for his course. He included a statement of his affairs, and showed that after all his debts had been paid there would remain a home and a sum in cash for the benefit of the family. It is not improbable that Mr. Oberlin had brooded over his affairs for some time, and had prepared the letter considerably in advance of his death, holding it until prepared to fire the fatal shot. Whether or not he was insane upon the subject is an undeterminate question, many authorities believing that suicide is necessarily the result of a diseased mental condition.
Mr. Oberlin was the eldest son of the late Samuel Oberlin. He was 45 years of age and leaves two children, a son and daughter. They reside in a pleasant East Main street home. Mr. Oberlin himself seemed to have all the essentials to success - intelligence, energy, and fine personal qualities, but as his note indicated, he failed to get along in business as he liked, and finally succumbed to the strain. His home life was happy in every respect. He was a passionate lover of flowers, and his knowledge of them was very unusual. He had many friends, and they, and all the wide circle of of friends of the family, are filled with deep regret at the unspeakable bereavement that has come upon the wife, children and relatives. [The Massillon Independent (Massillon, Ohio) July 16, 1896 - sub by Ida Maack Recu]
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