Date of Death: 24 Apr 1901
Subject: David M. Henderson
Source: Savannah Reporter, [26/27] Apr 1901

David M. Henderson, aged forty years, senior member of the firm of Henderson Bros. bridge builders, committed suicide at the home of his brother, Phillip Henderson, a mile and a half northwest of Savannah shortly after one o'clock Wednesday afternoon by blowing the top of his head off with a shotgun.

The body was first brought to town by … who lives near the Henderson home. The Coroner, who lives at Amazonia, was summoned, as was then an undertaker and officers.

Mr. Henderson had been sick for several months with a nervous trouble and while he was not sick in bed, he had not left the house.

Monday [?] evening Dave talked to his brother, Will, about being discouraged with himself on account of his illness and said he felt as though he was bothering them.

After dinner Wednesday, while Phillip Henderson was over at his brother Will's across the road, Mrs. Phillip Henderson was in the house and Dave talked with her, telling her that if she wanted to put her garden in she had better get at it, as the season was late. Mrs. Henderson went out to the garden, but had been there but a short time when she heard a shot. She ran into the house and saw what had happened.

Mr. Henderson was in the east room of the house when he committed the act. He [laid?] in an arm rocking chair in the …east corner of the room [some thread] the breadth of a double barrel shotgun between the runs of the chair in front of him and with a … had pulled the trigger down, and the load struck him on the right side of his face, tearing away a large portion of his skull and scattering blood and brains all over the room. The scene in the room was a sickening one. The brains were scattered over the room for a distance of fifteen feet and the walls and the ceiling were splattered with blood. The floor beside him was covered with a great quantity of blood.

The skull had been broken by the shot and had fallen down inside the head. Everything inside had been blown out, leaving the empty skull. Henderson was sitting with his face to the west side of the room when he discharged the gun.

The gun was a No. 16 double-barreled, but the right barrel was the only one that had been loaded. The weapon belonged to Sam Cline.

Coroner Beaver, of Amazonia, arrived soon after the tragedy, and after looking at the body and reading the letter which Dave had written to his brother Will, decided that no inquest was necessary.

The letter, which was quite lengthy, was found in an inside coat pocket folded up, but not in an envelope. It was addressed to William C. Henderson, foreman, Henderson Bros. bridge contractors, and started out by requesting Will to tell his father, who is quite old, that they would soon meet again. The balance of the letter directed what disposition should be made of his property.

Dave Henderson is the oldest of the Henderson boys, sons of Thomas Henderson, one of Andrew county's oldest and most respected citizens. He was quite wealthy. His ill health was brought on by overwork connected with the bridge building business.

The funeral took place Thursday afternoon, the remains being interred in the Cherry Grove [Daily] Cemetery. Mr. Henderson had never been married.

Source: Holt County Sentinel, 3 May 1901, p. 1

David H. [sic] Henderson committed suicide Wednesday afternoon, of last week, by blowing off the top of his head with a shotgun. The deed was committed at the home of the dead man's brother, Philip Henderson, two miles northwest of Savannah. Henderson was forty years of age and a bachelor. He was a member of the firm, Henderson Brothers, bridge contractors, who are widely known throughout this part of the State, and in Nebraska where they have done a great deal of work. Henderson, who had lived in Andrew county all his life, was one of the richest men in the county. He is not known to have had any trouble of any kind, and no cause for killing himself is known. Henderson took a shotgun, placed the muzzle to his head, and pushed the trigger with his toes.