SHOOTS SELF WITH TWO GUNS
Fred Schenk Jr., who some three months ago returned from service in the Army, committed suicide by shooting, Tuesday evening, on the farm of his father, Fred Schenk, Sr., ten miles from Coldwater. Fred Schenk, Jr. was an unmarried man in his twenties and together with an older and married brother and his wife, made his home on the farm of their father, Fred Schenk, Sr., who runs a shoe shop in Coldwater. On Tuesday evening the young man left the house on the Schenk place to go to the pasture to look after the windmills, taking with him two guns, one a 410 gauge shot gun and the other a .22 rifle. When he did not return when expected his people grew anxious and later started to look for him. Neighbors joined in the search which was continued late into the night but with no results. Early Wednesday morning the search was resumed and at about daybreak the body was found in the plum thicket, a gun shot wound in each temple and both guns lying over the body. In one temple the wound was large and evidently had been made by a charge from the shotgun and the other temple had a small hole in it made by the bullet from the rifle. Both guns were discharged. The body was taken to Coldwater Wednesday and an inquest held before the coroner on Thursday. No reason can be assigned for the young man's rash act.
The Western Star, December 20, 1918.From Fred J. Schenk Jr.
FROM OUR SOLDIER and SAILOR BOYS
The following are extracts from a letter written by Fred Schenk Jr. to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schenk, of this place;
With the American Expeditionary Forces
November 13, 1918
Dear Home Folks,
Well, I have got here to my destination for a while at least. I am feeling fine, as good as ever. I think this country is great. Everything looks green except the trees. There is lots of garden stuff to be gathered from the fields yet. It sure looks good to me. They grow lots of turnips, or sort of beets here. There are carloads piled up along the roadside. I guess pa knows what kind of turnips they are, for he has told us about them. It rains quite a lot here and is cloudy and foggy most of the time. Most things here seem to be odd and old fashioned from the way things are in the United States. The people have their old ways, the ways they had at the beginning of this eastern continent, but they always told me the old ways are sometimes the best. The French people are good natured and good hearted people. The only thing wrong is that I can't understand them or talk with them. Did you get my permit for a Christmas package? A person is only allowed one package to be sent them, that is why we all got a permit for one. They are debating now if a soldier can send a package home.
They think they can, but don't advise sending anything very expensive, as it may get lost, and I would advise you the same way if you send anything. From what I hear the war is about at a close. The French people have had a real celebration, or "feast" the night before last, by taking a drink or two or three on the Kaiser, and blowing whistles, the band playing, and dancing, etc. I was in town night before last, and there was sure a crowd out. Everybody was out, and as happy as could be on account of the war coming to a close, and they are still celebrating. They have gone through lots of hardships and are now rejoicing. Any Frenchman you may meet and ask him how the war is coming on, if he can understand you at all, he will tell you it is finished.
I don't know how long a time or how short a time I will stay here at this place. Did you get the package I sent you from Camp Upton? Well, I could write lots more, but if I did it probably wouldn't all pass the censor. I will write as often as I possibly can on account of the time. Tell the boys "Hello" for me. Lots of love to father, mother, brothers and sister.
Yours as ever,
FRED J. SCHENK
Base Hospital 103.
1894 - 1919
At left: Gravestone of J. Fred Schenk, Jr., U.S. Army Medical Corps, WWI veteran, Crown Hill Cemetery near Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by Bobbi Huck.
Fred J. Schenk, Sr., father of Fred Schenk, Jr.
Catherine (Ballinger) Schenk, grandmother of Fred Schenk, Jr.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles to this web site and to Bobbi Huck for the above photograph!
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