Suicide by Drowning

Ouachita Telegraph
September 7, 1877

Neecy Hardin, a poor young white woman, came to this city, something over a year ago from Union parish. She sought and obtained employment as a house servant. During the time, it is said, she went astray, assumed the alias of Ethel Hunt, and finally abandoned work. Her fall went on rapidly, until her life ended by drowning in the river Saturday night. Her remains were discovered at the wharf boat, Monday morning, by Mr. Head of the wharf boat. On the feet were a pair of very small gaiters tightly laced, the hair had been carefully combed and confined with a large band-comb, and a pair of merino gloves were on the hands. The other apparel was the best that Ethel’s wardrobe could furnish.

Coronor Surghnor held an inquest on the body, and it was fully established that it was the body of Ethel Hunt. The Jury decided, after investigation, that death was not the result of violence but of voluntarily drowning. We have examined the testimony, much of which is irrelevant and some of which not admissible in our columns, and find that the verdict is in accordance with the facts sworn to.

Ethel was living with Mr. R. Miller, assisting his wife who was sick. Late Saturday evening she dressed herself neatly and went out in town. About 8 o’clock Mr. Hoggard,
the ferryman, heard hallowing at the ferry landing on this side, and very soon heard
some screams. It was thought that a policeman was making an arrest, and the cries were not responded to. At the point whence the cries proceeded the river is not more than four feet deep some 15 feet from the water’s edge. There was no boat, raft or log to jump from, and the “poor unfortunate,” deliberately importunate, must have waded into the stream and ended her sad existence in this way. She has relatives, we understand, in Union parish. Her remains were interred in the Monroe Cemetery.

The way of the transgressor, it is said, is hard, but with none harder than with dissolute females. Three deaths of such characters by suicide we have recorded in a little over a year. The listen; hesitate, are lost, and then Death, too tardy in his natural pace, is wooed and wed with a pistol, morphine or some other agency of violence, and the two, spectacles for the gaze of the curious and the vulgar, go to the potter’s field for a permanent home. The blame is not all theirs, but alas! The punishment usually is.

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