The  Shelby  Democrat
Thursday, November 29, 1906
Page 2 column 1
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AGED  MAN  TOOK  HIS  LIFE
THIS  MORNING
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Mathias Heller Found Dead in Barn
of His Son-in-Law Charles L. Rapp
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Had Suffered Much And Was Despondent
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Cow Taken to Pasture Yesterday
Also Caused Worry-Was Very Fond Of Her
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Swung From The Haymow
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          Desiring to cut short the few years that yet belonged to him, Mathais Heller, aged seventy-nine, this morning hung himself in the barn of his son-in-law, Charles L. Rapp, of the corner of South and Pike streets.  The dead body was discovered by Mr. Rapp at about fifteen minutes before twelve o'clock.  It is likely that Mr. Heller had been dead less than an hour.  That it was no sudden frenzy that prompted the act is proved by the fact that over a year ago the man now deceased had threatened to take his life.  After making assertions to the effect that he would drown himself, he disappeared one evening and did not return home that night.  Fears for his safety were felt, but he was on hand bright and early the next morning, saying that he had spent the night at the home of a neighbor.  A few months ago while he was ill and was suffering great pain, he talked of suicide and said that he thought he would hang himself.  For many years he has suffered from acute kidney trouble and the last few years have seen a rapid decline in his general physical condition.  It is thought that his deed today is the result of the great fear that with nothing to do his old pains would return with renewed vigor.  He has devoted a great part of his time taking care of a cow.  The animal has been his especial pride and joy, and had been elevated to the position of a companion in his thoughts.  Yesterday the cow was taken to the country and his mental depression soon began to exhibit itself, in preparing for self-destruction, this morning he was careful and cautious.  Going to the barn, he tied the door shut so that he could not be interrupted.  Proceeding to the hay loft, he tied a rope to the rafters. With a noose about his neck he swung himself thru the opening in the floor of the hay mow.  Here he hung until Mr. Rapp came home for dinner.  The children told him that their grandfather had gone into the barn some time ago, and that the door was locked. Mr. Rapp proceeded to the door and found that it was tied with a rope.  He then went around to the alley and peering thru a crack he saw the body of the man as it hung lifeless at the end of the rope. An entrance to the barn was forced and the body cut down and carried into the house. The noose had been carefully fashioned and was a model of neatness and strength. The old gentleman would have been eighty years old next February.
          He has spent the greater part of his life in Clark county near Henryville.  Three children survive him.  They are Mrs. Charles L. Rapp, of this city, Mathias Heller, Jr., of Henryville, and Mrs. Kate Mauelen of Covington, Kentucky.  For the last six years Mr. Heller has made his home with his daughter and son-in-law, living with them at their home in Rays Crossing previous to their removal to Shelbyville eighteen months ago.
Submitted by Barb Huff


The  Shelby  Democrat
Thursday December 4, 1890
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          John Heller was born in Birkach, Germany December 24th, 1855, died at nine o'clock on the morning of November 25th, 1890, aged 35 years 11 months and 1 day.  He arrived in America when 4 years of age and has been a resident of Indiana, since being in this country.  His parents are living near Henryville, Clark county, Indiana, but he died at his sister's Mrs. Charles Rapp, at Ray's Crossing, Indiana. J. R. Vancleave, funeral director.
Submitted by Barb Huff

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