John Meek, at one time, not more than four or five years ago, a well to do farmer, living in the town of Scio, and owner of some 300 or 400 acres of land, together with stock, implements, etc., has for some time past been a victim to monster rum, and recently had become involved in debt to such an extent that he was LIABLE TO LOOSE EVERYTHING he possessed. Prior to his heavy drinking, it is said he was thrifty, money making, saving, straightforward, honest man. But he formed the habit of taking his drinks, and fortune turned against him. As is always the case, he could not devote his time to making his livelihood and tippling at the bar, both at one and the same time.

John Meek is dead! Some four or five years ago, Mr. Meeks troubles commenced, and he began to “ go down the hill” and since that time he has been in almost constant trouble, till, at last, his burden was more than he thought he could carry and he determined to TAKE HIS LIFE.

This he did in this village on the afternoon of the 15th,inst, making the sixth suicide in our town within the past few years.

Mr. Meeks farm is situate four miles from Scio, and seven miles from Friendship, in the former township. On Monday, the 12th inst, he was here on some law business, and apparently was greatly disturbed in mind.

In the evening of the 12th, Meeks called at the drug store of W.H. Scott & Co., and purchased opium of Dr. Scott claiming that he had a very severe tooth ache. As he was leaving the store, however, he turned around and inquired how much opium it would take to kill a person. Dr. Scott, thinking that Meek asked the question to insure himself against fatality, informed him that he had enough (25 cents worth) to kill several men, and Mr. Meek left the store, and it is stated went home. But he returned to Friendship again Wednesday, and indulged to some extent in intoxicating drinks. Wednesday night, the 14th, he went to the Mansion House kept by S.Meade, stated he wished to stop and was assigned room 32 on the third floor. On the 15th, noticed that Meek DID NOT GET UP. Mr. Meade sent a clerk to inquire after him. He told the clerk that he felt ill and did not wish to get up. At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon the clerk called on him again, and he stated that he would like a glass of water. When the water was served, he said he would like to be left alone till 7 or 8 o’clock, when if pains he felt in his chest did not lessen, he would like to send for medical aid.

At 8:30 P.M. Mr. Meade went in person to his room, but RECEIVED NO RESPONSE to repeated rapping’s on the door, which was locked. Mr. Meade then went down stairs and getting Mr. Gillispie the two went to burst open the door to Meeks room. They had not mistrusted any such sight as met their eyes - they had not the slightest thought that Meek was dead, but feared that he was sick, unconscious perhaps. But there he lay, his body exposed, COLD IN DEATH. As the room in which Meek suicided is entered, the bed on which he lay when found, is at the left, and was crowded against the wall. A window is opposite the door; at the right of the window is the commode. The suicide’s hat was on the stand and his clothes were on the floor. At the head of the bed was found a single-bladed knife, the blade of which was somewhat dull, both handle and blade covered with blood. An earchen dish was by the side of the bed; half filled with the dead mans blood, showing that he had intended to make no fuss. But he evidently had died a slow and fearful death. The room was literally bespattered with blood, and the bed clothing (which all has been burned) was saturated, showing that he rolled over and over, and frequently changed his position, while he was dying. It is thought that nearly two hours must have elapsed from the time he FIRST CUT HIS THROAT till his life ebbed out.

It was a horrible sight, ghastly, The room, even to the walls was covered with blood, and the dead body was drawn out of all shape, as if he had suffered great agony, while a most ugly gash was plainly visible as he lay with his head turned back.

He had evidently started to cut his throat just below the left ear. At first he had not cut very deep, but cut deeper as he rounded over to the right ear, and had made other cuts .As the jugular arteries were not severed, he must have slowly bled to death.

Dr. A.E. Willard was called for, and CORONER WAKELY, of Angelica sent for. The Coroner arrived here at about 9 A.M. Friday morning. A jury was speedily impaneled composed of the following:  Wm.H. King, foreman; J.M.Phinney, F.N. Grove, J.W. Scott, L.E. Hart, L.M. Wait, C. Jordan, Chas.H.Hammond, Alonzo Smith, and A.C. Latta.

After a thorough and careful investigation by the said jury, the following verdict was rendered;

State of New York. County of Allegany, Village of Friendship} ss

At an inquest indented and taken this 16th day of April. In the year of our lord, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six, for the People of the state of New York, in the village of Friendship, in said county, before B.C.Wakely, one of the coroners of said county, on view of the body of John Meek then and there lying dead. Upon oath of WM.H.King, foreman, J.M.Phinney, F.M.Grove, J.M.Scott, L.K.Hart, L.M.Wait, C.Jordan, C.H.Hammond, A.C.Latta, Alonzo Smith, good and honorable men of the said county, who being sworn, and charged to enquire how, and after what manner the said John Meek came to his death, do say, upon oath, aforesaid, that he came to his death by hemorrhage from a wound in his throat inflicted by his own hand. {Signed by the jurymen above named}

About Meeks’ clothes, was found different letters, written on several occasions, firmly indicating that his act WAS PREMEDITATED, and that he had for a long time contemplated self-destruction. In one letter he especially urged that his boys forever let alone all kinds of stimulants.

The remains were taken to his late home on the 16th,about noon. The coffin plate bore the following inscription:

JOHN MEEK, born February 21, 1838. DIED April 15, 1886.

Mr. Meek was in the prime of life, aged a few days over 48, strong, robust, and in good health. His is a very sad death.

There are many stories current as to the cause of his rash act, but the REGISTER has endeavored to give the facts in the case as they really existed.

John Meek is no more! By his own hand he extinguished his life’s light. May the Power that prevails, extend to him due pity and lenient mercy.

Meek left a wife and eight children.

Copied from the Friendship Weekly Register Thursday, April 22, 1886