April 30, 1907
Sixtysomething Edward M. Robbins was a Civil War vet and long-time resident of his little house at 2728 Council Street. No one ever entered the threshold of his hermit home; he never spoke to his neighbors nor made sign of recognition when he passed them on the street. He was a quiet and at all times inoffensive man, save for those occasional spells when he would go on a colossal drunk. Then he would be seen through the uncurtained windows strumming an old guitar for a time, until he broke into mad fits of rage, pacing and singing at the top of his voice.
Given his hermit-like ways, it was no wonder that Robbins’s ten-day disappearance went unnoticed. But then passersby observed the multitude of flies on the windows…
Police broke in to find Robbins on a bed he’d covered in wrapping paper. Bowie knife, razor and pair of scissors were all nearby, all besmeared with blood, as Robbins had used them all on his wrists and ankles. But what led to his self-destruction was a “queerly fashioned double barreled pistol of ancient make” that Robbins still gripped tight in his decomposing hand, one barrel having been discharged to form a gaping hole in his neck.
Perhaps Robbins suffered from the mania associated with the “flashing back” of memory common to veterans of the War of Northern Agression.