"Gone to His Death", 15 June 1878. A sad tale of Old Town, from the golden age of melodramatic purple prose.
Gone To His Death
A Bartender Named John Griffin Leaps Into the Willamette River and Is Drowned
“Bright Willamette,” beautiful as she is, could tell many a sad story of the years which, as they passed, has left no track or trench on her. Many a world wanderer, weary of the unceasing battle, has buried in her fair bosom the life which seemed not worth the living. Many a fevered brow has she cooled for the last time; and many a burdened soul has drifted on her current into that “undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns.” Many a sigh, many a sob has she hushed —Hushed in Death.
Yesterday morning, at about 5 o’clock, John Griffin, lately employed as a bartender in the Hub saloon, committed suicide by leaping from the dock at the front of D street and was drowned. He had lived in Portland for some time, and a few months ago was engaged as a bartender in the “dive” run by a notorious woman of ill-repute called Nancy Boggs. He frequently drank heavily, and during one of his sprees assaulted Nancy and inflicted bodily injuries which came near causing her death. He wasArrested
For the offense, was tried before a justice of the peace and bound over to await the action of the grand jury on his case in the sum of $500. John Caswell, the proprietor of the Hub saloon procured his release from confinement in the county jail by signing his bond; and gave him employment in his saloon as a bartender.His Trial
Was to have occurred on Thursday, and the suspense has affected him terribly for several days. On Wednesday night he disappeared from the saloon and his employer fearing that he had left the city, gave notice to the authorities that he wished to withdraw his bail, thus making Griffin liable to arrest at any time. On Thursday evening Griffin again appeared at the Hub. He stated that after leaving the night previous, he visited Nancy Boggs’ saloon and was given a glass of liquor by her. That shortly after drinking it heBecame Unconscious,
And had so remained up to within an hour of that time. He was told that he would soon be arrested and taken to the county jail; but he begged so hard that Caswell relented on his promise to go to bed and sober off. Sometime during the night he passed out at a window in the rear of the house. At about 5 o’clock yesterday morning he appeared at the par of the Globe hotel and asked for a drink of liquor, which was prudently refused him, as he seemed still to be under the influence of liquor. He was clad simply in his underclothing, and the keeper of the placeUrged Him To Go Home;
but he refused and walked down to the dock at the foot of the street, plunged into the river. The splash of the fall attracted the attention of several gentlement on board the ship Freeman Clarke, and a rope was thrown to the sinking man, but he refused to grasp it and sank to his death. Grappling irons were soon found and the body was brought to the surface; but not until life was extinct. He was an Irishman and aged about 28 years. The coroner’s jury returned a verdict in accordance with the circumstances. He will be buried to-day at 2 o’clock from the office of Mr. DeLin, the coroner. By invitation, Chaplain Stubbs will conduct the services.
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