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Forniss, John I.
JOHN I. FORNISS SHOOTS SELF TO DEATH IN ROOM
Wealthy Planter’s Lifeless Body Found by Attendant at Early Hour Wednesday
Lying in a pool of his own blood, with a self-inflicted bullet wound in his head, the lifeless body of John I. Forniss, capitalist and planter, 73 years old, was found yesterday morning in his room at the Exchange Hotel. Almost ten hours after he had fired the shot that ended his life, the rigid body of the man was discovered cold in death in a room adjoining that of his invalid wife. Notes left by Mr. Forniss were of such nature as to indicate that he was in an irresponsible state of mind.
Mr. Forniss retired to his room early Tuesday night and a short while later, a muffled report was heard in the building. Little notice was paid the noise by Mrs. Forniss or others who heard it, all thinking it an automobile discharge. But when an attendant called for Mr. Forniss this morning it developed that the sound was that of the fatal shot.
Mr. Forniss had made every preparation for the deed. He had carefully spread a blanket upon the floor, and sitting on a small stool fired the bullet into his eye, death evidently resulting instantly. The bullet ranged upward through his brain and did not come out.
Coroner Stokes held an inquest and declared the death due to self-inflicted wounds inspired by suicidal motives.
Two notes were left by Mr. Forniss to his wife, one explaining his death and the cause and the other pertaining to business matters. One of the letters addressed told how he had suffered so much of nervousness that he was “crazy.” He attributed his choice of death to extreme nervousness and probable loss of eyesight.
Mr. Forniss and his wife were well known in Montgomery, where they have resided for the last twenty years. Usually, however, the two have spent the summers in the East and Mr. Forniss was preparing for a like visit this year when it was delayed by the illness of his wife a few days before his death.
Mr. Forniss was a native of Wilcox county. He was a graduate of a Kentucky college and a Confederate soldier, having made a creditable record during the war Between the States. Before the marriage of Mr. Forniss to his surviving wife, he was business manager for her and their business relations resulted in their marriage.
The funeral services will be held at 10 o’clock Thursday morning from Leak’s chapel. Rev. E. E. Cobbs, pastor of St. John’s Episcopal church, will officiate and interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery.
Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, AL 22 May 1913