A Tragedy On the St. Johns River
THE PALATKA NEWS
Sept. 27, 1887
ISAAC W. BROWN KILLS HIS WIFE
ON SUNDAY LAST IN A FIT OF
He Also Attacks His Son But Is Over-
Powered and BoundIn The County
JailStatements of the Benighted Man.
Special to the Palatka News
FEDERAL POINT, FLA. September 26.
The little town of Bridgeport was thrown into a terrible stage of excitement
yesterday morning by the killing of Mrs. I. W. Brown by her husband, who committed the awful crime while in a fit of temporary
The facts in the case are, briefly, that Mr. Brown had been unwell for a few days. He was very nervous and showed unmistakable
signs of aberration of the mindso much that Dr. C. A. Cowgill was called in Saturday to see him. The doctor cautioned his
family to look out for him, as he may become dangerous.
Saturday night Mr. Brown wandered about the river and swamp all night, coming home Sunday morning, when his wife prepared
some breakfast for him. While eating it he seized a common table knife and attempted to stab her with it, but she ran into
the yard, he followed
her, and when he reached the yard he seized a fence paling and, striking her
over the head with the edge of it, killed her at once.
His son Charles and Mr.Hilton, who had been watching him, were absent at the time, but returned at once upon hearing
the screams of Mrs. Brown. The infuriated maniac turned upon his son and attempted to kill him, but the young man was to powerful
for him, and threw him down, and by the aid of Mr. Hilton securely bound him. The unfortunate man is now in the County Jail
for safe keeping until he can be placed in the State Insane asylum.
A whole family is broken up and rendered more than desolate by this terrible deed. Mr. Brown and his whole family had
the respect and confidence of the whole community, and now have their most heartfelt sympathy.
Mr. Brown came to Bridgeport from Maryland and was engaged in the saw mill business.
J. F. Tenney
[The above facts were furnished by the regular correspondent of The News, who was near enough to the scene of the dreadful
affair to easily learn every thing there was connected with it. He also assisted in bringing the unfortunate man to the city
on Sunday afternoon.
On the arrival of The Curlew, which had been chartered to bring the Insane man to Palatka, Mr. Brown was taken
to the city jail, as the Deputy Sheriff could not, for the time being, be found.
Dr. Strausz visited him while in the city jail an administered
something to quite him as he was a little nervous and he was asleep when Deputy Sheriff Loring arrived to remove him to the
county jail. Mr. Browns hand was cut (it was stated by the bending of the blade of one of the knives that he had attacked
his wife with), and while Dr. Strauz was dressing the wound he said: Never mind that Doctor, give me something to put me to
sleep, so that I wont wake up.
Mr. Loring, thinking the man might become violent during
the night, went to Dr. Strausz for a sleeping potion, but the poor fellow said he was determined to live now and would take
no more medicine.
He slept pretty well until about 4 oclock yesterday morning,
when Mr. Loring, who was sleeping in an adjoining room, heard him make a noise. He immediately went to the door of the cell
and herd the man uttering the words, my body has betrayed me, which he would repeat over and over again.
He was not at all violent during the whole of the afternoon
or night on the contrary he was quite rational, though once during the afternoon he was nervous and afraid some one would
kill him. Yesterday morning, however, his mind became clouded and he told Mr. Loring that he was afraid someone would kill
During the morning yesterday he told the Sheriff that his
wife and son had entered into a conspiracy to kill him, but he had been warned and escaped. That after his wife had been killed
there would be no more murders.
He also said that his wife and son had entered into a conspiracy
to assassinate him, and were giving him drugs all the time, the object of which was to get his property. Yesterday when his
dinner was brought to him until the Sheriffs little daughter tasted the food, then he ate a little.
Some of the alleged causes of Mr. Browns insanity are that
some fifteen years ago he was struck on the head and has never entirely recovered from the blow. Then, too, he had some business
troubles that bothered him considerably. It seems that he purchased some land at Bridgeport sometime since and erected a sawmill
on the same, but has never been able to get a deed to the property.
This is one of the saddest occurrences that has ever happened
in this section of the country and the son and daughter have heartfelt sympathy of everyone who reads this sad story.
At last accounts Mr. Brown was quite and resting easily. Editor NEWS]
This was the newspaper clipping that announced the tradgedy to the world. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions in
the mind of the reader. The biggest question of all is what brought this unfortunate act on? I will never know for sure, but
I can try to analyse it systematically from what events I know. There are a few documented happenings in Isaac W. Browns life
that lead up to the murder. If I take these step by step and examine each, maybe I can come up with an exceptable copnclusion.