Contributed by Gigimo
Description: Attempted Suicide. Lala MATTHEWS Inflicts on Himself a Dangerous if Not Fatal Wound.Date: November 20 1902
Newspaper published in: Houston, MO
While the Sabbath School bells were calling the children of our city together last Sunday morning for the purpose of worshiping and praising the Giver of all good, a tragedy was being enacted, the news of which flashed like a meteor through our usually quiet little city, causing consternation, sadness, and regret that one so youthful, strong and vigorous should have desired to end his earthly existence.
Lala MATTHEWS, son of Mr. and Mrs. George MATTHEWS, of West Plains, shot himself in the left breast with a 32-calibre revolver, inflicting a dangerous if not fatal wound.
Lala is a handsome young man, just 20 years of age last Saturday. He is a bright, intelligent fellow, having assisted his father in the reconstruction of the court house here,m and recently has taken up medical studies and has been attending medical school at St. Louis. Lala has been keeping company with one of Houston's handsomest and best young ladies, whose name we will not give from the fact that she is the innocent cause of the young man's rash act, and while entirely blameless yet she regrets her connection with the matter and the publicity attached thereto. He came to Houston Friday but not meeting with the reception he desired seemed despondent and was drinking to some extent Saturday and that night.
Sunday morning he was in company with John FARLEY near the residence of his aunts, the Misses RIGGS, parting with FARLEY just as the Sunday School bells rang and carelessly bidding him goodbye. Going through the fields to a spot in Veavitt's pasture where the water flows over a large surface of flat rocks and dashes over miniature precipices, a beautiful and romantic place for the enactment of such a terrible scene, young MATTHEWS placed the pistol to his breast and pulled the trigger. As the revolver fired he threw it as far away from him as possible and staggered to a seat on a stone, call, calling to some small boys who had been attracted by the shot. The boys brought him water in their hats and then ran to give the alarm and summon help. A number of citizens were soon on the ground, and in answer to the question asked by his aunt, Miss Bettie RIGGS, "Lala, why did you do this?" he replied, "I do not want to live, you know the reason why, Aunt Bettie." Drs. PHEMISTER and HERRINGTON arrived and rendered such medical help as they could there, after which he was carried to the RIGGS home. On examination it was found that the bullet had entered the body almost directly over the heart, but the probe showed that the ball had struck a rib and was deflected from its course. It was thought by the physicians that the bullet had not entered the lung cavity, though it was decided to not probe further and the ball was not located, though it was determined that it had taken a downward cause.
While quite restless and in considerable pain the ensuing night and day, the wounded man is now resting better and his friends hope that the wound will not result fatally.
It was without question an act committed with suicidal intent for the young man has repeatedly stated this since, and immediately after Miss RIGGS arrived at his side, he handed her a neatly folded paper addressed to his mother and having on the back the inscription "The last wishes of Lala Matthews."
The parents, Mr. and Mrs. George MATTHEWS, are well known here and are among West Plains' best citizens.