Albert Ireland, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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The Barber County Index, September 9, 1903.

TRAGEDY NARROWLY AVERTED.

Albert Ireland Became Insane
and Cut His Sister-in-law With a Razor.
The Cutting not Fatal.

On Sunday night at about 10 o'clock Albert Ireland cut Mrs. S. W. Ireland's throat with a razor while under a severe strain of religious mania. She was cut almost from ear to ear circularly and it required thirteen stitches to sew up the wound. The wound was not deep enough to sever the arteries or the jugular vein and to this almost miraculous circumstance Mrs. Ireland owes her life. Her condition, as it is, is bad and she will be unable to be up for several days, but it is nothing as compared with what would naturally be expected from such an attack.

S. W. Ireland and wife occupy occupy a suite of rooms in the Cook block and Albert has been staying with them for the past few weeks. He has a claim in Oklahoma and has been here on a visit. He slept in a room adjoining the one in which his brother and wife slept and he got into their room without making sufficient noise to awaken them, and commenced the horrible work while Mrs. Ireland was asleep. Almost as soon as he touched her Mrs. Ireland awoke and screamed and this awoke her husband who was sleeping in another part of the room, who with rare presence of mind sprung at his insane brother and hit him a hard blow on the head and dazed him. He then got him out of the room by main force and called Emmett McClearley who occupied another room adjoining, to engage Albert in conversation while he (Steve) went for Sheriff Haun, who came and took charge of Albert. During all this time neither Mrs. Ireland nor her husband knew that she had been hurt. The room was dark and during the excitement no one took time to light a lamp. But when Albert had been taken care of, Mrs. Ireland began to feel weak and when attention was turned to her, her clothing were literally saturated in blood. Drs. Coleman and Longnecker were called at once and they dressed the wound and administered medicine and though there was much loss of blood, the information was soon given out that no large blood vessels were severed and that Mrs. Ireland would recover.

Albert Ireland has always been a hard working honest young man and in his right mind was always quiet, inoffensive and peaceable. His brothers, Stephen and Tom, knew that his mind was affected for a few months, especially on religious matters, but they did not suspect that it would ever lead him to violence, knowing his disposition as they did. But nobody can foretell the turn that insanity takes. Albert has been for many years a devout christian. He has read the bible much and was thoroughly posted. He can quote passages with precision from all parts of the book and his intense study of it seems to have unbalanced him. For the past few weeks he has been admonishing his brother and wife to repent, and has been preaching religion to them but they paid little attention to it, knowing his weakness and on Sunday night the mania reached that awful stage where he imagined that God directed him to kill his brother's wife because they would not repent. After he made the attack he seemed perfectly cool and quiet and while the sheriff was taking him to jail he expressed the hope that Mrs. Ireland would die.

On Monday in his cell in the jail he talked freely of the matter. He had no regrets but insisted that he had simply obeyed his Lord and Master and quoted different scriptural passages to move it. The only thing, he said, that prevented him from making an attempt on his brother's life was a passage forbidding one man to slay his brother - conveying the impression that it was the duty of some other christian to kill him if he did not repent. Asked as to when he made up his mind to kill Mrs. Ireland, he said he had been directed by the Lord just before going to church, to do the deed that night. He attended the Christian church, sang in the choir and requested the minister, Elder Walker, to let him occupy the pulpit. The proposition was regard as a little peculiar but it was passed as being merely a peculiarity.

The misfortune is a very sad one and yet it terminated happily. The unfortunate condition of Albert is almost lost sight of the lucky escape of Mrs. Ireland from death. But this again should serve as a warning to the public. It does not pay to regard lightly any person whose mind is affected. The most quiet person in his natural mind is often the most dangerous when his mind is deranged. Much sorrow and much trouble can be saved by caring for the afflicted when the attack is in its incipiency and no kinder act can be done for the patient than to take care of him before he becomes desperate.

Under the law a citizen of Oklahoma can not be kept in a Kansas asylum and hence Albert was taken to Alva yesterday where he will be adjudged insane and taken to the Oklahoma asylum at Norman. Friends earnestly hope for his recovery.


Also see:

U. G. ROGERS INSANE: Broods Over Religious Theories and Becomes Violent.
Barber County Index, April 30, 1902.


Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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