Jackson Argus - Week of
January 28, 1897
Mrs. Melvina Couch - FOUND DEAD
Mice Had Begun To Devour The Body
At four o'clock yesterday afternoon the dead body of Mrs. Melvina
Couch was found in her bed in her residence on Solomon Street,
the discovery being made by W. K. Howard. From the position
of the body and the condition of it, and the testimony of the
examining physician, she had been dead for some time - possibly
since Monday night, and must have died while in a paroxysm of some
sort - perhaps a coughing spell. The body was lying on its back with
the right arm outside, the lower extended, and the left arm bent,
with the hand raised. The mouth was slightly open; on her lower lip
rats or mice had begun to eat into the face, but the disfigurement
Mrs. Couch had lived
alone in the cottage since the death of her husband, within the
sound of the bustle on Hill Street, and where hundreds passed daily.
She was last seen alive by Mrs. J. Q. Boynton on Monday
afternoon. It was rumored that some one saw her Tuesday morning, but
the rumor could not be substantiated.
Coroner Williams empanelled a jury about 6 o'clock and
examined a few witnesses only. W. K. Howard testified that he
was passing and his attention was called to the house by someone who
had been knocking at the door. He knocked several times and
receiving no response, he went to a window and managed to see the
bed and one hand and still failing to attract her attention, he
broke open a door and found her dead as described above.
Mrs. J. Q. Boynton testified to seeing her at home Monday
afternoon and reading the Bible with her. She seemed in her usual
spirits, indicated the chapter she wished read at her funeral, and
the dress she was to be buried in.
Dr. T. E. Drewry testified that she had been dead more than
twenty four hours - possibly since Monday night - and must have died
in a paroxysm of some sort - possibly a coughing spell. That to his
knowledge she had been suffering from the grip for the past ten days
and that she told his father, Dr. N. B. Drewry, that she had
a spell not long since at night, that prevented her from moving or
calling for help.
In accordance with the testimony the jury brought in a verdict of
"Death from natural causes."
A little daughter of Mrs. Boynton had a letter for Mrs.
Couch on Tuesday. She knocked on the door repeatedly and finally
put the letter under the door, where it was found yesterday. The
little girl was sent back yesterday and her repeated efforts to make
herself heard attracted the attention of neighbors, and Mr.
Howard was called with the above results.
Mrs. Couch was about seventy two years of age. She had been married
twice, the first time to a Mr. Crawford; the second time to
Dr. Couch, who has been dead many years. She had been a
resident of Griffin for perhaps forty years and was well known to
nearly everybody. She had one son, the late James J. Couch,
killed about ten years ago by J. E. Glenn on the sidewalk
near the Odd Fellows building. Wrapped up, in her son, her darling
boy whom she idolized, she never recovered from the shock of his
death and constantly referred to him in conversation and a large
picture of him hung near her bedside. She was supposed to be
eccentric, perhaps she was to an extent but those who knew her best
loved and honored her for her good traits of character. She was a
member of the Methodist church and had been for years.
Some days ago she went to an undertaking establishment and selected
the casket she wished to be buried in, and today she will be placed
in it according to her wish.