John B. Harmon
John B. HARMON, manual training teacher in the four city schools committed
suicide early this morning by hanging himself in the barn loft at his home
in Hewittville, using a double strand of baling wire.
No note giving any reason for his act has been found by his family and they
are at a loss to assign any cause unless it was his worry over being re-employed
by the board of education for next year.
Joe Henson, member of the board, in a statement today, said that there was not
the slightest reason for worry by Mr. HARMON, for there has never at any time been
the least complaint made about his work.
He was awakened by an alarm clock at four o’clock this morning, as usual, and got
up after throwing a small flashlight on the clock to see what time it was.
As he did so, Mrs. HARMON asked what time it was and he told her four o’clock. He
got up immediately and went out to the barn to do the chores and when he did not
return in half an hour as usual, to build the fire in the kitchen stove, his wife
Five o’clock came and still he had not returned in the house. Twenty minutes more
and Mrs. HARMON called in their next to the youngest son, Joy, aged 14 years, and
told him to go out and see if anything had happened to his father.
The boy dressed hurriedly and, going to the barn, noticed that the horse had been fed,
but his father was no where in sight. Climbing the loft ladder, he made the grewsome
discovery. The body was hanging from a rafter in the middle of the barn near a pile
of four bales of hay, which had apparently been piled there by the dead man.
Judging from the position of the bales, he evidently climbed upon the hay, fastened
the wire around his neck and jumped off. Strange as it seems, his neck was not cut
by the wire. Displaying a remarkable nerve, the fourteen year old son climbed into the
loft and, unaided, took the body down. Finding no signs of life, he ran into the house
with the terrible news. A doctor was summoned but announced that the man had been dead
for an hour when he arrived a short time later.
Mr. HARMON was a deacon in the Christian church, assistant superintendent in the Sunday
School and only recently resigned as superintendent of the Hewittville Sunday School after
a service of several years.
John B. HARMON was born in Jefferson County near Dix, December 20, 1862. He was the
youngest of nine children born to Joseph HARMON and Nancy BROWN. His father was a
native of the Carolinas and his mother was born in Tennessee.
Joseph Harmon settled in Jefferson County in 1839 and lived there until he died in
1909. Mrs. Harmon, mother of the local teacher, died in 1905.
Mr. Harmon began teaching school when he was but 16 years of age, and taught practically
all of the time since. Last July he filled out an application and qualified for a teacher’s
pension of $400, but he had not been receiving this money as it is, according to law, paid
only to retired teachers.
He began teaching near Dix and for four years remained in that vicinity. He then moved
to Sangamon County, where he taught in several country schools. He was married to Miss
Mary E. PIPPIN in Sangamon County, August 26, 1891. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. HARMON
moved again to Jefferson County where most of their nine children were born, and two died
and were buried there. It was in Dix that Mr. HARMON became a member of the Masonic Lodge.
He came with his family to Taylorville, 13 years ago and after a short time in a country
school was made the principal of the Hewettville school, near which he built the present
home of the family.
He is survived by his wife and seven children: Waldo B., rural carrier out of Taylorville;
Nancy I., Jessie, Ruby, June and Joy, twins, and Russel. One sister, Mrs. Mary E. HARVEY,
who made her home with her brother and his family here, also survives.
Source: The Taylorville (Illinois) Daily Breeze
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 1917
Submitted by: Mary Zinzilieta