25 August 2014

Dr. Holtzclaw Suicides (This Time It's Personal)

When conducting any kind of historical research, coming across a suicide always gives me pause. Even though it's not always a conscious act, I know I'm taking a brief moment to mourn the loss. A loss I don't pretend to understand. With the recent passing of Robin Williams, I'm reminded that those who seem to "have it all" sometimes are wrestling with demons unseen.

© 2008 S. Lincecum
In 1922, two days after his 63rd birthday, Dr. Henry Macon Holtzclaw, Jr. took his own life. Why? Heaven only knows. Following from 22 January 1922 edition, Macon Daily Telegraph (Georgia) -- via GenealogyBank:

Prominent Physician Shoots Self in Head With Pistol.


Found in Bed Dying By Brother; Funeral Will Be Held Today.

PERRY, Ga., Jan. 21. -- Dr. Henry M. Holtzclaw, 63, prominent citizen of Houston county, died tonight at 8:30 o'clock from a bullet wound in the right temple, it being self inflicted between the hours of 9:30 o'clock this morning and noon. The motive for the suicide is unknown.

Dr. Holtzclaw, who had operated a drug store here for the last twenty-five years and was also a practicing physician, arrived at his home at 9:30 o'clock this morning, and announced to his daughter, Miss Clifford Holtzclaw, he would go to his room and take a nap. Miss Holtzclaw left shortly afterward for a few minutes.

John Holtzclaw, his brother, arrived at the home shortly before noon for lunch. He was informed that the doctor was in his room asleep. Mr. Holtzclaw went to the room and found Dr. Holtzclaw in a dying condition. He was unconscious until the end. A large calibre pistol was found under his body.

No Motive for Deed.
The family can advance no motive for the deed. It was stated by Miss Clifford Holtzclaw that her father came home in cheerful spirit, talked a few minutes before retiring to his room and showed no signs of being despondent.

It was stated that the bullet entered behind the right ear and penetrated the brain. Dr. W. J. Little, of Macon, and local physicians were summoned, but no hope was ever entertained for his recovery.

It was announced at the family residence that the funeral services will take place from the residence Sunday afternoon.

He was a brother of Maj. R. M. [sic] Holtzclaw, who passed away recently. He is survived by two brothers, John G. and B. C. Holtzclaw; two daughters, Misses Katherine and Clifford; a sister, Mrs. L. D. Roberson, of Marietta, and his mother, Mrs. M. C. Holtzclaw, of Marietta.
The brother lost prior to Henry was Robert, and he died only eighteen days earlier. Their mother, Mary Etta Clark Holtzlcaw, buried two sons in less than three weeks. All rest in Evergreen Cemetery at Perry, Houston County, Georgia. Henry lies next to his wife Kate.

What's my connection? A nephew of Henry Macon Holtzclaw, Jr. was Robert Clifford Holtzclaw. He married my 2nd cousin, 2x removed -- Claribel Peavy.

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