Father of John Woy Ends Life With Pistol.
Wandering Mind and Ill-Health the Cause
Tragedy Takes Place at Old Home of His Wife
Suspicions of Possible Homicide Occasion Strict Investigation by Police.
Joseph Woy, aged 74, one of the oldest and most widely know citizens of Chattanooga, committed suicide at his home on East End avenue at 7:20 oıclock yesterday morning. A bullet from a .38 calibre pistol was fired into the brain from a point just behind the right ear. Moy's mind has been impaired for some time and aggravated by an illness extending over the past weeks, that is assigned as the cause of his act.
Mr. Woy was recently wedded to the widow of Rody Buol, who was killed by a dynamite charge. In choosing a scene for the ending of his life he selected the room in which his wifeıs former husband was so violently sent to his death.
There was nothing in the manıs actions of the past few days indicating a purpose of suicide, and the act came unexpected to those who knew him intimately. His wife stated that he was extremely nervous only a few minutes before the shots rang out, but that she suspected nothing.
Mr. Woy was the father of John, a retired member of the police and detective force of this city.
It was reported frequently yesterday that a number of circumstances in connection with his death pointed to belief that a hand other than his own had fired the shots, but careful investigation upon the part of the police department established the fact of suicide beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Mr. Woy sustained a serious blow in the bend several years ago which result in permanent mental aberration, which has been noticed at intervals ever since, but had never taken a suicidal form before. For the past three weeks he has been in ill health. His advanced age may have also played a part in bring about the end.
The family at 338 East End avenue, consisting of Mr. Woy and his wife, arose early yesterday morning. The wife set about the work of preparing breakfast, assisted by a negro servant. Mrs. Woy suffered a paralytic stroke several years ago which resulted in losing the use of all muscles on one side. She was in the kitchen, but merely directed the work of the negro girl.
It was found that someone would have to make a trip to the store and the negro girl was ordered to go. Woy insisted that the short walk would be beneficial to him, and, against the wishes of his wife, went after the article needed. When he returned Mrs. Woy and the girl were still in the kitchen.
He remained long enough to prepare some medicine for his wife and then went to a room in the front of the house. Three doors separated him from the kitchen.
Two shots were fired. Both were clearly heard by neighbors, although the two women in the back end of the house state that they heard nothing unusual. The first took effect in the head just behind the right. passed completely through the brain and came out at a point about three inches behind the left eye. The second was caused the dying man closing his fingers over the trigger of the gun as he fell, and the bullet passed through the wall.
Mrs. Woy had noticed the nervous condition of her husband and sent the girl in to see why he did not come to breakfast. The negress says that she open the door just in time to see him fall. She screamed, then turned and ran. Before Mrs. Woy could reach her husbandııs side neighbors rushed in and closed the door. She did not see him after he was shot. Dr. Morris was called and responded within a few minutes. Hound the man lying in a pool of blood near the fireplace. The right arm was bent under his body and the stiff fingers were still closed around the butt of the revolver. Woy lived until 8 oıclock, or about forty minutes.
Wannıs ambulance was called and the man taken to the home of his son, John Woy, 1019 East Tenth street. He died just as he was being taken in the house.
The pistol used by Woy in his act of self-destruction was loaned him by his son about one month ago. In borrowing this he stated that burglars were becoming frequent visitors in his neighborhood and that the revolver was 38 special Smith & Wesson, as adopted by police regulations. John Woy pick it up when he call to remove his father and it is now in his possession.
Detectives Gault and Krug were sent by Capt. Smith to investigate the case. The story of Mrs. Woy and that of the negro girl, Stella Armstrong, were similar, and both were borne out by circumstantial evidence, and the statements or neighbors. There will be no inquest over the body.
Joseph Woy was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, March 9, 1837. He attended the public schools there, and spent the early part of his life at the home of his parents. He came to Chattanooga in 1879 to take charge of a department of the Chattanooga tannery. Mr. Woy was foreman for seven years, retiring because of bad health. After his health failed he was practically unemployed.
He is survived by two sons and six daughters. They are John and Lee Woy, Mrs. Alice Jones, of this city; Mrs. Ettie Jones, of Knoxville; Mrs. Jesse Hogan, of Birmingham; Mrs. Mame Bell, of Highland park; Mrs. Lang, of Fort Negley, and Mrs. Lizzie Amos, of Salem, Va.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
The Chattanooga Times, June 9, 1911.
by Claudia O'Leary