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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 198 [06-20-1865]

              [newspaper clipping]
	Suicide of Edmund Ruffin, Sr.
  The community will be shocked beyond
measure to learn that the venerable Edmund Ruffin, sr.,
of Virginia, who, for a great number of years had occu-
pied a high position in public estimation, has terminated
his own life by violence.  The facts in our possession
up to this writing are meager, but those facts are suffi-
cient to warrant us in saying that the deed was com-
mitted on Saturday last, at the residence of deceased�s
on, Edmund Ruffin, jr., about 27 miles this side of Dan-
ville.
  It is now said that Mr. Ruffin�s mind had been very
perceptibly affected since the evacuation of Richmond,
and the surrender of the Confederate armies.  For a
week previous to terminating his life, Mr. Ruffin kept
his chamber, busily employed in writing what sub-
sequently turned out to be a history of his political life.
He also wrote letters, and in one of them he left direc-
tions as to the disposal of his body.  He bathed himself,
put on clean under and outer clothing, and directed
that his body should be buried in the habiliments he had
put on, without shroud or coffin.  He then seated him-
self in a chair, put a loaded musket to his mouth, and, 
leaning back, struck the musket with his hickory stick.
The first cap did not explode, and he replaced it by
another, which discharged the musket, the charge of 
ball and buck blowing off the crown of the venerable
old gentleman�s head, and scattering his brains and
snowy hair against the ceiling of the room.  When the
family, alarmed by the report, reached Mr. Ruffin�s
room, he was found lying back in his chair, the gun
leaning against him, and life gone.  A paragraph in the
letter left for the perusal of family and friends explained
the tragic deed.  It reads: �I cannot survive the loss
of the liberties of my country.�
  Mr. Ruffin was very aged�perhaps 80 years of age�
and brooding over the troubles of the times, the war
and its results, no doubt unhinged his mind and caused
a derangement of his once strong and vigorous facul-
ties.
  Mr. Ruffin, though a politician of the old school, never
held any office or distinction.  He was eminently an
agriculturist, and wrote much on the development of
Virginia�s resources.  He was proud of his State, and
always defended her good name.  He was at one time,
years ago, President of the Agricultural Society of Vir-
ginia, and published The Farmer�s Register at Peters-
burg, a paper devoted to farming interests.
			{Richmond Whig, 20th.

[Gunn�s handwriting]
June 1865               
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