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Monday, January 16, 2006

Death of Jonathan Bean of Bethel

Source: Newburyport (Mass.) Herald, issue of Sept. 27, 1799
A very melancholy event took place in the town of Bethel, on Andrescoggen river, in the county of York, on the night of the 5th inst. A Mr Jonathan Bean of that place was found dead on the morning of the 6th, in his own house, hanging by his neck with a piece of a rope, which he had cut from the bed cord, with a knife which he left on a table near where he was hanging. His feet stood firm on the floor, and supported a great part of his body, which stood upright. A chair on which it was supposed he stood, when he fastened the rope to the string-pieces, which supported the chamber floor, was found lying against him a little above his knees, and the fore part of it was almost level with the floor of the house. He was alone in the house that night; his wife being gone to make a visit to one of her daughters, and no one went into the house till the next morning, when he was found dead. He had been for several years in a strange situation, and appeared to be deranged in his mind; and had not for some time been from home, and scarcely out of his house. He had frequently told his wife that he intended to make way with himself; but as he had frequently been left at home alone, till this fatal moment, none supposed him to be in earnest, and paid little attention to what he had said, relative to destroying his life; nor thought it necessary to watch him, to prevent the awful deed. For some time previous to this destruction, he had been more sociable than he had been for many years, and appeared quite rational in his mind. He was entered up the 81st year of his age. A coroners inquest was called upon the body, and the jurors's verdict was, "That he voluntarily and feloniously did kill and murder himself, by hanging himself with a rope, which he provided for that purpose."

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