This has been a hard blog post to write, but one that I feel like needs to be posted.
My second great-grandfather was Edmond Leonidas Tidwell, or Lonnie for short. He was born on March 18, 1860 in Dickson County, Tennessee to Amanda Tate and Edmond Mansel Tidwell.
A day before Lonnie’s third birthday, his father died in the Civil War. Lonnie’s mother Amanda went on to marry two more times. Beyond that, not much is known about Lonnie’s childhood.
At age 22, Lonnie married Martha Lena Fulghum in Dickson County. They had at least seven children together. The youngest, my great-grandmother, Ismay Tidwell, was only one and a half when Lonnie died. He was only 41.
I conducted a Newspapers.com search to find an obituary for Lonnie. What I found instead really shocked me and hurt my heart. It was suicide.
This article was in the December 12, 1901 edition of The Tennessean newspaper.
Reading the article makes me want to cry and leaves me with so many questions.
What does unbalanced over religious matters mean? What was going on in his life…and in his mind?
Since finding this article, I’ve discovered two others:
Lonnie grew up without his father, and his children also had to grow up without their father.
My heart aches for him and his family.
I hope you’re at peace now, great-great grandfather.
Lonnie is buried in Welch Cemetery in Dickson, Tennessee. Here is a photo of his tombstone, thanks to June Harris.
Originally posted March 24, 2017
Updated October 12, 2020