Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Friday, 20 January 1899
The people of Crawfordsville were greatly shocked last Monday to learn that Chauncey M. Coutant had killed himself at his residence on South Water Street. The particulars of the tragic affair are about as follows: Mr. Countant had been on the road for several days in the interest of the Dovetail Company and reached home Sunday night suffering with the grip. Monday morning he remained in the house but seemed cheerful, although suffering somewhat. In the afternoon he felt better and along between 4 and 5 o’clock he stated that he would go out for a short walk. He was absent only a few minutes, but in that time he went to Tinsley’s hardware store and purchased a bulldog revolver, number thirty two center fire. The store does not carry firearms, but happened to have that one on hand, it having been left there by Mrs. Dobson to be sold. Mr. Countant seemed to be in his usual health and spirits and stated to John Tinsley, from whom he bought the revolver that he wished to shoot cats with it. Before he left the store Will Tinsley came up and loaded all the chambers of the weapon, Mr. Coutant having asked for the ammunition. Arrived at home he sat around for awhile with his wife and about 6 o’clock she left the bedroom in which he was sitting to get him a cup of coffee. She had been from the room only a few minutes when she heard him call out that he could not see anything. Almost immediately after a shot was heard and the family hastening to the room found Mr. Coutant lying stretched unconscious on the bed, a bullet hole in his temple. The neighbors were at once apprised of the tragic occurrence and Doctors Barcus and Ristine summoned. They pronounced Mr. Coutant fatally injured and stated that his death was the question of only a few hours at most. He lingered until fifteen minutes after eight when he died, never having regained consciousness.
The prevailing impression seems to be that Mr. Coutant took his own life purposely while laboring under a temporary insanity brought on by the grip. Such cases have been quite frequent in the last few years and many things point to such a conclusion in this case. Mrs. Coutant, who is perhaps, better qualified to pass an opinion than anyone else, however, firmly believes that her husband’s death was accidental. Mr. Coutant had told her only a few days ago that he intended to purchase a revolver to shoot cats, and she thinks that while crossing the room to slip the weapon under his pillow he became dazed and in some way the fatal shot was fired accidentally.
Chauncey Mason Coutant was born March 12, 1836, at Rosendale, Ulster County, New York, where his father is still living. On May 30, 1861 he was married to Miss Isabella Groff at Lawrenceburg. To them were born four children, Mary, Oliver and Helen, who still live, and John Moore, who died some years ago.
Mr. Coutant while a boy at Kingston, N. Y., with his uncles, had learned the carriage business and he followed it all his life except a short time in which he engaged in the dry goods business at Lawrenceburg. For some years he had been connected with the Dovetail Company here and was the superintendent of the business at the time of his death. He was energetic and a fine business man and was popular with those who knew him. He was an excellent citizen and was upright and honorable in all his dealings. He had served as councilman from the third ward and in that capacity was esteemed as unusually efficient. In their terrible bereavement the family has the sympathy of the entire community. The funeral occurred Wednesday afternoon at half past two o’clock at the residence, Dr. E. H. Brumbaugh, officiating, the interment taking place at the Masonic Cemetery. The pall bearers were J. C. Barnhill, Lewis Hornaday, Mayor Elmore, P. C. Somerville, O. M. Gregg, and C. M. Gregg. -s