This Day in Holyoke History: May 13

by Laurel | May 13th, 2009

May 13, 1886
A Possible Suicide

Thomas F. Sweeney, an ex-saloon keeper, is supposed to have committed suicide late Tuesday night by jumping into the river opposite Prospect Park. Park Keeper Coombs when he began work yesterday morning saw some clothing lying on the river bank a few feet from the end of the water-power company’s fence above the dam. The clothes was a dark sack-coat and beside it was a dilapidated hat containing a note signed by Thomas Sweeney. It stated that the writer was in trouble and did not care to live any longer, and bade his wife and friends good-by, stating that he was about to resort to suicide. The clothing was taken to the police headquarters and Mrs. Sweeney was summoned, who identified the coat and hat as her husband’s. She said that Tuesday night about 10 o’clock. Sweeney was at home with her and two friends when he suddenly called for his line and said that he was going fishing. She tried to dissuade him, telling him it was too late to fish. He persisted and asked her to shake hands with him, but she refused, thinking that he was joking; he then tried to shake hands with his friend, but they laughed at him. As he left the room he bade his wife good-by, telling her that she would be sorry that she refused to shake hands with him. That was the last his friends saw of him. Sweeney formerly kept a saloon on Fountain street and on January 20 was arrested for entertaining on the Lord’s day; he was convicted, fined $56 dollars and appealed. The case was to have been tried in the superior court this week and Sweeney has been trying unsuccessfully to settle it. His wife says that he has been greatly troubled about the matter and has told her that he would commit suicide sooner than go to jail. Sweeney was about 30 years old, five feet nine inches in height, weighed 150 pounds and his hair and moustache were of a reddish-brown shade. The police do not believe that he has taken his life and some of his friends think that he will make his appearance again after the court session. A boy who knows Sweeney well says very positively that he saw him yesterday morning with a new suit of clothes on.

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