Monday, October 01, 2007

1885 Pinnix Family Tragedy

Not all history researched by the Caswell County Historical Association is pleasant, and some of it may be difficult for the families involved. To this the CCHA is sensitive. Nevertheless, the following newspaper article was published in 1885:
An Insane Father's Act

Raleigh, May 28, 1885 -- News has just been received here of a terrible tragedy in Caswell County, N.C. John C. Pinnix, a well-known and highly respectable citizen of Reidsville, was engaged in the tobacco business, and failed in an effort to establish the Carolina Warehouse. He became insane, and he was removed from Reidsville to his old home in Caswell County. His family consisted of a wife and three children. While his condition did not materially improve, he manifested no violence until last Monday. On that day he was playing with two of his little children in the back yard, when without warning he seized an axe and split open the heads of the two children. Gazing on the bodies of his children for a moment, he threw down the axe and drowned himself in the Dan River. His body was recovered on the following day.
Source: The New York Times, 29 May 1885

While not certain, it may be that the above story is misleading in that it would suggest that two children were killed. Some records indicate that only one child died. What happened to the other child is not known.


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