THE VINEYARD GAZETTE
FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 1870.
The Week at Home.
Edgartown has had a startling shock, which exceeds in painful interest anything that has transpired here for years. Shortly after noon, on Sunday last, the dreadful news was quickly circulated through the town that Joseph Dunham had
SHOT HIS WIFE.
It is impossible to describe the thrill of horror experienced in every mind when this terrible story was found to be a reality. We gather the following facts in the case:
About three weeks ago, Mr. Dunham, for some cause best known to himself, came home late one night, turned his wife and two daughters out of doors, and took possession of the house himself, forbidding them to come there again.
Mrs. Dunham and her children left, and went to a neighbors, for the remainder of the night.
Knowing that Mr. Dunham was subject to fits of insanity, (he having been an inmate of the Insane Asylum twice within the past twenty years,) Mrs. Dunham has been to the house several times, and kindly importuned him to let her come in and take care of him, but he refused each time to admit her.
On Saturday last, Mrs. D. went there again, and Dunham told her that if she would come at half-past twelve the next day, he would let her and the children come in.
Accordingly, at the hour named, Mrs. Dunham and the two daughters, went there, and she rapped on the door, but getting no reply, she rapped on the window near by. Hearing Dunham moving in the house, she appealed to him to let her in, saying "that she wanted to come in to make his bed, and cook for him and take care of him, if he was sick." While thus speaking she had her face close to the window, but upon seeing the curtain pulled away quickly, and Dunham with a club (as she thought) in his hands, she instinctively retreated a few steps, when most clearly with deliberate aim at the unfortunate woman's head, he discharged the contents of the gun, obliquely through the window, the charge taking effect in her face, neck, and left shoulder. She fell upon the spot, and was picked up and conveyed to a neighbor's by two or three men who happened to be in the immediate vicinity. The cry of
"A WOMAN SHOT,"
soon spread through the town, and the citizens, generally, indignant and excited, immediately flocked to the scene to devise measures to capture the attempted murderer. It was a risky [illegible] business, to approach the house, and attempt to enter it, as it was well-known that he had two guns in the house, and plenty of ammunition. But men with sufficient nerve to face the ordeal were not found wanting, who deliberately approached the door, battered it down and forthwith entered. The search was quite a protracted one, as the fellow had stowed himself away in the most unlikely place in the house. When found he offered but little resistance, and was soon lodged in the County Jail. Take it all in all the affair is the most exciting one in years.
there was "method in his madness," and his whole course of action, indicated that the deed was premeditated. Dunham had a board already fitted to nail up inside of the window, immediately after he discharged the gun. When found in his "cage," he had provision enough with him to last a week.
DUNHAM'S OWN STATEMENT
is, substantially "that he intended to shoot the first man who attempted to enter his house to capture him; but when he saw so many men surrounding his house, and some with guns, he concluded that he had better hide, as he thought they would kill him instantly if he resisted."
When asked "why he shot his wife?" he said, "he didn't think the gun would go off; he was going to snap it and scare her away." He carefully took direct aim at her head, however.
received by Mrs. Dunham are very painful, and may terminate fatally. Between forty and fifty shot entered her head, face, neck and shoulder. The one which passed through her throat near the windpipe, makes it extremely difficult for her to take nourishment. Her escape from instant death is wonderful. Today, we learn that she is as comfortable as could be expected, although she is a great sufferer, the wounds being fearfully inflamed. The unfortunate woman who is highly esteemed by her acquaintances for her many excellent qualities of character and her universal lady-like deportment at all times, has the heartfelt and unfeigned sympathy of the entire community in the sad affliction and suffering that have fell to her lot.
The sad result of this last fit of insanity on the part of Mr. Dunham, shows us plainly, how important it is that he be placed where he will never again put the life of any one in jeopardy. Every citizen of the community, should feel called upon by the wisest considerations of safety to person and property, to see that Joseph Dunham is never again permitted to have his freedom. If insane, let him be safely lodged in the Lunatic Asylum; if sane, justice and law, most assuredly, which he has outraged and set at defiance, should see that he is secured in some strong box, where the rays of light are not very brilliant.
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