The people of this city and all the neighborhood northwest of town were saddened early on Saturday morning of last week when the news went over the wires of the death, some time during the previous night, of Earl Hadley at the home of his father, James Hadley. The news was unexpected, and even surprising, to all. The circumstances which led to Earl's death were such as to create in every heart profound sorrow and a deep sense of sympathy for the bereaved family.
Earl had always been an exemplary young man in every respect, studious, obedient and trustworthy at all times. After completing the course of study in his home school he attended the Friends Academy in Haviland and there made a good record as a student. He had been working faithfully on the farm during his vacation periods from school. Early in September he entered Friends University in Wichita and began a term of hard study. So closely did he apply himself that an appearance nervous breakdown resulted. He came home a few weeks ago to recuperate his strength, but instead of growing better he appeared to gradually become worse, his weakness apparently becoming mental as well as physical. It was noticeable that he became quite morose and apparently despondent and melancholy. Yet he had little to say and gave to no one any intimation of what was probably in his mind - the thought of ending his own life.
On Friday night he went to bed as usual about 10:30 o'clock. He occupied an upstairs room in the home. On Saturday morning his sister, Miss Lena went to waken him, but found that the room was empty. Mr. Hadley and Miss Lena at once began a search for Earl. They started for the barn, and as they passed the workshop they noticed that the door was open, and, upon looking in, discovered the body of Earl on the floor. It was evident from the wounds in the head and from the nearby presence of a shotgun that death had been caused from one or more gunshot wounds.
Neighbors, also the coroner, Elza Holmes, were called and an investigation was made. Dr. T. H. Crawford was also soon on the grounds. The conclusion reached by them and others was that some time during the night Earl had become temporarily unbalanced mentally, and while in that condition had made his way out of a window in his room down over a porch, and had secured the gun and gone to the workshop and there discharged the gun twice, the first shot passing entirely through the neck from right to left, nearly all of the No. 4 shot lodging in the ceiling of the shop. The gun had then been reloaded and a second shot fired with the muzzle near the right eye, the shot carrying away almost the entire right side of the skull. It seems almost incredible that any one would have strength enough left after receiving such a wound as was the one in Earl's neck, to reload and redischarge a gun, but that Earl did so there seems to be no question.
The first load from the gun severed the large blood vessels in the neck and he had bled profusely before the second shot was fired. Evidently very little time elapsed between the shots. The shots were not heard by the inmates of the house. All the circumstances pointed so clearly to suicidal intent on the part of the young man that it was not deemed necessary to call a coroner's jury. No writing or statement of any kind was left by Earl.
Funeral services were conducted on Monday at 11 a.m. and were in charge of Rev. Guy W. Harvey of Haviland, pastor of the Prairie Vale Friends church. Interment was in the Coldwater cemetery.
Rev. Guy W. Harvey, Earl's pastor, furnishes the Star with the following account of Earl's life, sickness and death, and beautiful tribute to his character and his sterling worth as a young man:
Earl Benton Hadley, fourth son of James and Mary Anna Hadley, was born near Coldwater, Kansas on the seventeenth of July, 1899. Here he spent his whole life, except the time while he was away in school at Haviland, Kans., where he graduated from the Friends Academy in May, 1918.
He was converted at a very early age and had lived a consistent Christian life ever since. He was a kind and affectionate son and brother, always putting the pleasures and comforts of the rest of the family before his own.
His life as a Christian boy of the community and the Friends church, of which he had always been a member, was above reproach and his consecrated life and devotion to his Master have been a source of constant inspiration to all who knew him. He had done valuable work in the Sunday school where he had served as teacher of the young people's class for over two years. He was president of the Christian Endeavor for about a year, and was faithful in all the work of the church, taking especial interest in the Young People's prayer meeting, which was held on Friday evening of each week.
During the summer of 1920 he consecrated his life for service in whatever way the Master might direct. The only light he received at this time as to the nature of his life work was that he should prepare himself in an educational way for the work the Master might choose. He entered Friends University at the beginning of the school year and earnestly began his work, but soon the work proved too heavy for him and his health began to fail. His nerves were gradually giving away under the strain, when his father visited him about five weeks after the beginning of the school year, and, seeing how his work was bearing down upon him, permitted him to come home. His nervous condition did not seem to improve but rather became worse. None of us know how he must have suffered mentally, but, beyond a doubt, it was his physical, nervous and mental condition that caused him to take his own life some time during the night of October 29, 1920.
He leaves to mourn his loss, his father, four brothers, Lawrence N., Gurney T., J. Wilbur and Paul G., two sisters, Lena A. and Mary S. and Miguel Casado, who had been a member of the family for over three years, besides a host of other relatives and friends who had learned to love him.
The bereaved ones have the love and sympathy of their many friends, but above all, the great Father heart of the God they all know, and are trusting, sees and understands and sympathizes in a way earthly friends cannot do.
"Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth is past.
Till within the jasper wall.
Trusting Jesus, that is all."
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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