Accidental Deaths & Tragedies Page

Sutterville, California
His son George indicated Daniel was the brother of Lansford [Warren] Hastings.
Quoted from an old newspaper clipping.
Coroner's Inquest.--Coroner Coubole held an inquest yesterday at Sutterville over the body of Daniel E. Hastings. A jury numbering six men, consisting of H. Sherburne, C.H. Bishop, Martin Arentz, R. H. Byers, S.M. Lincoln, and A. G. Silva was impaneled and the following testimony was adduced[?]:
Frank Davis sworn--I keep a saloon at the ferry at Sutterville; recognize the body before the jury as that of Daniel E. Hastings, a native of Ohio, aged 38 years; was present when he was accidentaly shot this afternoon; about one o'clock this afternoon Hastings was passing by my saloon and was called in to take a drink by Alexander McGowan, who was rather drunk at the time; Hastings came in and took a drink; Tilden then came in, and McGowan insisted on his drinking; he did so; Tilden and Hastings then sat down together and were talking about something; McGowan asked them two or three times to drink; they refused; McGowan then went to Hastings and took hold of him to pull him to the bar, the same as a drunken man will do sometimes; just as McGowan took hold of Hastings and pulled him forward from the seat on which he was sitting, the gun went off, shooting him in the neck; he fell forward on the floor, dead; suppose the hammer of the gun caught under the edge of his chair and when Hastings went forward the hammer was pulled back a little and then fell with force enough to explode the cap.
J. W. Tilden sworn-- I reside in Sutterville, opposite to Davis' saloon; I was in Davis' saloon this afternoon about one o'clock; Hastings, Davis (who keeps the saloon), McGowan (who was drunk) and myself were in the saloon; I was sitting beside Hastings, talking to him on some matter of business, when McGowan took hold of Hastings to bring him up forcibly to the bar to drink, when Hastings' gun went off, he was holding the gun between his knees, with the butt resting on the floor, one hand holding the barrel; McGowan pulled Hastings forward; the gun went off at the same moment, the shot taking effect in his neck, under the right side of the chin, ranging upward, taking away a large portion of the neck, breaking the lower jaw, and tearing out several teeth, the whole charge lodging in his head; Hastings fell forward on the floor and never moved afterward; I was quite stunned by the explosion and it was some seconds before I could realize what had happened; I then ran out to get a messenger to go for a doctor; when I came in again I saw that the man was dead, so I did not send for the doctor, but sent for the Coroner; McGowan asked us to drink several times, which we refused to do; he then came to Hastings to pull him up by force; while doing so, the gun exploded; McGowan did not seem to realize the occurrance of the accident; he went out soon after and laid down beside of the house and went to sleep.
The jury rendered a verdict that the deceased was a native of Ohio, aged thirty-eight years, and that he died in this county the 1st day of September, 1867; his death was caused by being accidently shot by a shotgun held in his own hand, he being seated in the saloon of Frank Davis, of Sutterville; Alexander McGowan pulled him forward from his chair, the gun exploding at the same moment, killing him instantly, in a manner most unfortunate, but entirely accidental.
[Note: My research shows that Daniel Hastings was not the brother of Lansford Warren Hastings; but, in fact, was his nephew, probably a son of Ephraim Hastings of Parkertown, OH.]

From a Sandusky, OH newspaper clipping which was saved by Mrs. Lionel Hastings of Maple Rapids, MI [James Hannum Hastings was Lionel's uncle]

James Hastings of Groton Twp. and a brother of W.G. Hastings of this city was struck by lightning Thursday noon and killed [June 5, 1890]. ... he was working a ditch on the farm of William Miller in Groton Twp. He was 52 years old.






(Special To The News.)

CHARLOTTE [Michigan], April 18.[Year unknown] – The slay-

ing of Mrs. Charles Hastings, Jr., by

her husband and his subsequent sui-

cide in Eaton township Tuesday, re-

calls the fact that the Hastings family

for a number of years has been pur-

sued by a "jinx."

Older residents remember how,

some 30 years ago, Nathan Hastings,

the young man’s grandfather, a well-

known and respected farmer, through

a fit of anger, lost his life by the shot-

gun route.

Charles Hastings, Sr., father of the

boy now awaiting burial at Eaton

Rapids, started out hunting early one

morning with a muzzle-loaded shot-

gun. He had hardly left the house

when his father, provoked by the

actions of his son, rushed out, grabbed

the weapon from his hands and

smashed the stock across a log.

The gun was discharged as he did

so, the lead making a frightful wound

in the groin of Nathan Hastings, who

bled to death before medical assist-

ance could be secured.

It is also related that Waite Hast-

ings, an uncle of the deceased boy,

and a son of old Nathan Hastings, a

few years later and in the same sec-

tion of the township, took his own life

in a fit of despondency.

Note: The Waite Hastings that committed suicide was actually the brother of Nathan Hastings. He had escaped from a Southern prisoner of war camp, but his physical & mental health were damaged by his ordeal.



Young Farmer Ends It All With

Fowling Piece



Couple Had Been Married But Few

Months and Wife Was Mere Girl –

Employer Discovers Bodies


(Special to the News.)

CHARLOTTE [Michigan], April 16 [Year unknown] – Charles

Hastings, Jr., 21 years old, Eaton

Township farmer, murdered his wife

and killed himself Tuesday. The

young couple, who were married last

fall, moved in with Harvey Hotchkin

about two weeks ago, and the bodies

were discovered by Hotchkin when he

returned from his work after dusk

last night.

The wife, a mere girl barely past

18 [?], was lying on the floor with a gun-

shot wound at the back of the head.

Hastings, after removing the dis-

charged shell from the shotgun he

used, placed the same weapon under

his chin and, in both cases, death was

instantaneous, according to the state-

ment of Dr. J. B. Bradley of Eaton

Rapids, who accompanied Under

Sheriff Hall to the scene of the double


Had Acted Strangely.

Neighbors say young Hastings had

been acting strangely; in fact, a

farmer for whom he worked last sum-

mer, said he did not want him around

because he had been acting so queerly.

The girl and her father were both

married here last fall, the father and

his bride being on his farm between

Eaton Rapids and Dimondale where

young Hastings and his wife lived

until they moved in with Hotchkin.

Sheriff Stotts [?] and Dr. Knight hur-

ried to the scene, but the Eaton Rap-

ids officers had already arrived, and

Justice Collar impanelled a jury. The

bodies were removed to Eaton Rapids.




Information regarding the Michigan deaths obtained from G. Edward Schafer

The article about Daniel Hastings of California was obtained from Carl Wilson.

Updated August 8, 2001

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