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Scott County, Indiana
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Orville Phillips

The Chronicle, Scottsburg (Scott County) Indiana, October 1, 1903


Orville Phillips, son of James H. Phillips and wife, of Johnson township, committed suicide on Wednesday of last week by shooting himself. His lifeless body was found in a woods near his father's home between 7 and 8 o'clock Thursday morning.

On Wednesday morning the young man had intended to go to the fair at Crothersville but changed his mind and said he would go the next day. About 9 o'clock he loaded an old army musket and in reply to his mother's question if he was going hunting he nodded his head in assent, and then went out toward the woods. About 10 o'clock a gunshot was heard in the woods a short distance from the house. When night came the young man had not returned home and his father and brother went out to search for him, but he could not be found. Early Thursday morning the search again began and between 7 and 8 o'clock his lifeless body was found by his brother Sherman in the woods about half a mile from his father's home.

He had been shot directly through the heart the load passing entirely through the body. From the surroundings it is believed that he placed the old army musket upon a rail of the fence and braced it against un upright rail and then pushed the trigger with a forked stick that lay on the ground. Three forked sticks lay near. It is supposed that one of the sticks was too limber to push off the trigger and the fork of another had broken, while the third was much heavier and answered his purpose.

When the body was found it lay on one side of the fence and the gun was leaning on the other side of the fence with the ramrod partly pulled from its place in the gun. His body was at once taken home and the coroner summoned. His remains were interred at the Wesley Chapel cemetery Friday afternoon.

Young Phillips kept a small pocket dairy in which he noted his expenses. In this book he wrote farewell messages. A few of the words are hard to decipher but are given below as near as possible. On page 96 the message reads;
"23rd Sept,

"I bid you all farewell, It is better to say little and be quiet than to say nothing and do nothing. It would be wickedness to understand consequences but it is shame if it is not an end. I believe most people do not know some family trouble that is mere jealousy. It is always nessary to say more that you say nessarily, So I close.

"Yours Truly,

On page 95 he wrote the following;
I know nothing better than
Etta's children $4.00
Cora's " 3.00
Eva's " 2.00
of my income for schooling purposes if it suits the rest to mother and Thomas.
Yours truly "O.G.Phillips."

On the same page below the above is written; "Pa use economy I could do well but I was hindered from the start from an earnest and (*through) education. There (*was) always reasons. That is a ---

*The words enclosed in brackets were not plain and are supposed to have been meant for the words given.

Orville Phillips was 23 years of age. During the Spanish American war he enlisted in a company of Governor Durbin's regiment and accompanied it to Jacksonville, Florida, where he was taken sick with a fever that effected his mind. He was sent to Fortress Monroe and from there to an insane hospital at Washington City. After being discharged from there he returned home and after remaining a short time went to Illinois to work. After a few months he returned home and shortly afterward his mind was in such condition that he adjudged insane and he was sent to the central insane hospital at Indianapolis. He was released from that institution about two months ago and was brought home. He appeared to be in fair health and his mind was thought to be improved. The same week of his release from the insane hospital he was granted a pension of $30 per month with arrears of $1524. So far as the family knew he had never threatened self-destruction and it was not feared, yet there was.......

Mike Phillips

My Phillips Family Tree