Breaking His Own Skull
New York Times - May 13, 1876



One of the most singular and determined cases of suicide recorded in this City was reported to the Coroners yesterday morning. The victim was George Renner, a young German cabinet-maker, twenty-eight years of age, who was employed in the Empire Woolen Manufactory, Twenty-ninth street and Seventh avenue, and who lived at No. 445 WestFiftieth street. He was a sober, industrious workman, and prudent in his expenditures, but had a morbidly sensitive organization. If anything went wrong, either in the shop or at home, he always imagined that others thought he was to blame, and the very slightest things of this kind so preyed upon his mind as to reduce him to the verge of insanity. About a week ago a chisel disappeared from the shop, and there being some little talk about it, Renner was convinced that he was suspected of having stolen it. He brooded over the matter for several days, until Thursday night, when he asked his wife out to take a walk. She consented, and they started toward the North River. On the way he told her that the men in the shop believed he had stolen a chisel, and proposed to her that they should both drown themselves in the river. Alarmed at his talk, she used all her powers of persuasion, and finally succeeded in getting him back to their rooms. There she left him for a moment while she went to find some one to send for a doctor. On her return she found him beating in his skull with an oil-stone. She tried to take the stone from him, but his strength, even then, was more than her own, and, finding that she could not wrest it from him, she rushed from the room for help. She was gone hardly more than a moment when she returned to find that he was past assistance. During her absence, determined to put an end to his life, he had placed his left hand on a table and with a chisel had severed the radial artery at the wrist and was fast bleeding to death. Physicians were summoned in great haste, but they were of no avail, for he expired in a few moments. An inquest was held yesterday by Coroner Ellinger, and, these facts having been established by the evidence, a verdict was rendered of suicide during a fit of temporary insanity.

Generously submitted by Caroline Bren.

Dreadful Sentiments...