(1899 - August 8, 1929)
The Lusk Herald
August 15, 1929
'ETERNAL TRIANGLE' CAUSE OF SUICIDE HERE
Bert Watson Ends Life On Street in Lusk
As the final result of what is generally believed to be the outgrowth of the age-old "eternal triangle," Bert Watson, 29 years old, section foreman on the Node section of the C. & N.W., and a highly respected citizen, took his own life in the presence of his wife last Thursday afternoon, about 1:30, while standing on the street near his wife's home, by shooting himself twice with a .38 calibre automatic, which he had purchased only a few hours before.
Watson fired two shots into his own body. The first shot grazed the top of his head, inflicting only a slight wound, but on the second attempt he held the gun close to his breast and the bullet tore a large hole in his body, severing the large blood vessel in the region of his heart, death resulting before the physician, who had been hastily summoned, arrived on the scene.
BLAMES OTHER MAN FOR MARITAL TROUBLES
Watson's wife and small children had been in Lusk for some time, coming here from Node, and they had been quarantined for scarlet fever, which they contracted after arriving here.
After having lived an apparently happy married life for several years, it appears from statements made by Watson on the morning of the shooting that he and his wife were on the verge of a separation, and it is known that Mrs. Watson consulted local attorneys preparatory to instituting divorce proceedings. Watson blamed Otto W. Jackson, whom he claimed was an old sweetheart of wife's before their marriage, for his domestic troubles, and openly charged that Jackson had alienated the affections of his wife.
Last Thursday morning, about 9:30 o'clock, Watson came to Lusk, went to one of the local hardware stores and bought a .32-calibre pistol and a box of shells. Afterward to friends he declared that he intended to kill Jackson before the day was over. He went near the AYP filling station, near where Jackson rooms, and waited for some time for him to appear. Friends tried to persuade him to abandon his purpose, but were unable to influence
While waiting near the station, at about 12:00 o'clock, his wife drove by, and Watson got in his car and followed her to her home, just across the street from the Lusk School. It was here that the tragedy occurred. After arriving at the home, the couple sat in the car in front of the house and engaged in a long and earnest conversation. Watson evidently was making his final plea to his wife to return with him to their little home in Node and begin life over again.
Apparently failing to effect a reconciliation, it appeared that Watson had made up his mind to depart. He and his wife embraced, according to one witness, and she got out of the car. He followed, also getting out, and standing nearby. He then pulled out his gun, pointed it toward himself and while in the act of pulling the trigger, his wife grabbed for it and the gun went off, the bullet grazing the top of his head, inflicting only a scalp wound. He then picked the gun up in an instant, held it to his breast and pulled the trigger before his wife could again interfere. After this shot he slumped to the ground and expired.
Mrs. Watson called for help, and he was placed back in the car while a neighbor telephoned for a doctor. Watson was dead when Dr. Murphy arrived on the scene.
MAN OF EXCELLENT HABITS
Watson was a man of good habits, and both he and his wife were industrious workers. He was an ardent church worker and had hundreds of friends in Lusk, Node and Harrison, who will regret to hear of his rash act.
Since the domestic trouble came up Watson declared that he had been unable to either eat or sleep, and the matter preying on his mind apparently caused him to become mentally irresponsible when the act was committed.
He told friends here that he had often worked all day on the section and at night came to Lusk in an effort to find out whether Jackson was paying attention to his wife, sometimes staying here until early in the morning, leaving only sufficient time to get back to his work at Node.
CORONER'S JURY BRINGS IN SUICIDE VERDICT
After the shooting, Coroner George Earl Peet was notified, and a coroner's jury composed of George Saffel, James Dietz and Victor Senters was empaneled. After hearing testimony from Dr. Murphy, Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Manring, the jury returned a verdict of suicide.
First reports were that Watson had fired the fatal shot while sitting in the car. The presence of a bullet in the top of the car led County Attorney Hartwell and Sheriff Hassed to institute an investigation, as it was apparent from the location of the bullet that he could not have fired the shot while sitting in the car, and there were persistent rumors that he had been murdered. The officers finally located an eye witness, one of the small DeGroot boys, who testified that both Mr. and Mrs. Watson were standing on the ground when the gun was fired. This explained the presence of the bullet in the top of the car satisfactorily, and as it was a plain case of suicide, no further action was taken.
LARGEST FUNERAL EVER HELD IN HARRISON
The funeral in Harrison, Neb., at 2:00 o'clock Sunday afternoon was one of the largest ever held in the town, which testified to the esteem in which the deceased was held. Only a small portion of the crowd could find room inside the Methodist Church where the services were held. At the request of the deceased, Rev. P. M. Gregg of Evanston came 700 miles to preach the funeral. Rev. Gregg was a close personal friend of the deceased, and they had been associated together in religious work while the minister had charge of a church at Harrison some years ago.
Interment was made in the Harrison cemetery, the Peet Mortuary of Lusk being in charge of arrangements.
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