If I Knew Where the Gun Was

the type of gun used by Herman Mangels in 1912

the type of gun used by Herman Mangels in 1912

Not all genealogical searches end with a happy dance.

My 2nd great-grandfather died of pneumonia.

The result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

We’ll never know what was going through Herman Mangels’ mind when he shot himself.

But the testimony given during his inquest hearing certainly suggests a history of mental illness.

Found lying on the ground bleeding, Herman was asked about the whereabouts of his gun. He replied, “If I knew where the gun was I would be dead long ago.”

Was his state of mind situational? Genetic?

Regardless of what brought Herman to the dark place in which he took his own life, his suicide leaves a mark in my family tree.

And casts suspicion around the circumstances of his stepson’s death 24 years later.

2 thoughts on “If I Knew Where the Gun Was

  1. In the past two weeks I have written about two suicides. It’s always so sad to me. In one case the person was apparently despondent as a result of the flu. In the other, I know only that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head “while temporarily deranged,” as the death certificate said. His son died ten years later by drowning, supposedly accidentally, but I have my doubts.


    • Suicide is such a sad ending to a life, isn’t it? Those records are hard for me to shake; I’ll carry the sadness around with me for days or even weeks after reading inquest records.

      Your story about the son’s death being suspect is interesting for several reasons. In Herman’s case his stepson was said to have taken his own life, but Frank’s half-brother never believed that. He felt it was an organized crime murder. So many questions, so little time to find the answers!

      Liked by 1 person

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