Ferdinand Witz, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

Ferdinand Witz

The mysterious death of Ferdinand Witz, of this township, which occurred on the morning of May 27, is attracting considerable attention. Witz was a bachelor, 79 years old, who came to Westchester township 18 years ago from Chicago, and purchased the old Ira Way farm, near City West, containing forty acres. On this he lived until 13 years ago, when he arranged with Charles Kath to give him the farm in consideration of the latter keeping him the rest of his life, the deed to be given after his death.

On the morning of the 27th of May Witz ate some breakfast, and then went out to the barn to do some chores. He had been ailing all winter, and was melancholly, and suffered from bowel complaint and old age. Between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock in the forenoon Witz was discovered lying on some hay in the barn, in an unconscious condition. Mrs. Kath sent her little boy for her brother near by, and the two carried the old man into the house and laid him on a bed. They gave him some peppermint essence in a little water, a portion of which he swallowed, and soon after died. Undertaker Lundberg, of Chesterton, was sent for, and when he began washing the body, he discovered something that caused him to notify Coroner Ketcham. This was an indenture of the flesh on the back of the neck an eighth of an inch deep, running to the ears, and then to the forehead, apparently made by a rope. The story may now be finished by Coroner Ketcham's statement to The Tribune, received June 1.

DEAR SIR, -- Your letter at hand asking about case of inquest of Ferdinand Witz. The verdict inclosed would be understood by anyone after having read the evidence taken in this case. The case is a peculiar one. On the morning of May 27th, 1898, Mrs. Charles Kath found the deceased in the barn (near the house) sitting on some hay. She asked him if he was sick, he said that he was. She gave him some pepperment essence in warm water, which he partially took. She called her brother, Mr. Gust Kehn, and they carried the old man into the house. He was unconscious shortly after they got him in and died in a few minutes, living about 30 minutes after they found him. Undertaker Lundberg was called and when he learned that no doctor was attending, (the old man had not been well for some time) he said that the Coroner should be called. Mr. Lundberg washed the body, or at least took off some of the garments, and in doing this he discovered a mark running around the neck, expecting the front, which was not marked. I was notified on the 28th, and on the morning of the 29th went up to investigate. I could not find anything in the barn that the old man had used to make the impression on his neck. Neither did anybody around the place know of his attempting to hurt or injure himself. As he had not left the place that morning, ate breakfast, walked out around the house, barn, etc. and was seen every few minutes, and to account for that mark was difficult. There were two theories, one assault by some other person, the other suicide attempt. To clear up the case I returned on the thirtieth, brought the people to Chesterton, took their evidence in detail. I did not accuse any of them but put them through the "mill" just the same.

The verdict will give you the result of the investigation, but by what and how the deceased injured his neck no one knows. Mr. Heard assisted in the investigation.

Yours truly,

Cononer's Inquest.
I, the undersigned, F. G. Ketchum, Coroner of the County of Porter, and State of Indiana, by virtue of my office, empowered to enquirem and true presentment make, in what manner and by whom Ferdinand Witz, whose body was found at the home of Charles Kath, in Westchester township, on the 27th day of May, 1898, came to his death.

After having examined the body and heard the evidence, I do find that the deceased came to his death by effects of temporary paralysis of the brain, said paralysis produced by means executed by the deceased in attempting to committ suicide on the 27th day of May, A. D. 1898.

Coroner Porter County, Indiana
Valparaiso, Ind., May 31, 1898.

A communication was received from Prosecuting Attorney Heard, too late for this issue, giving the evidence of the case as taken by him.

Newspaper: The Chesterton Tribune
Date of Publication: June 4, 1898
Volume Number: 15
Issue Number: 8
Page: 5
Column(s): 5

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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