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Johanna Zimmerman Tobiason
Died July 31, 1898
Mrs. H. Tobiason Commits Suicide.

The widow of the late Henry Tobiason, who is more familiarly known as Mrs. Zimmerman, committed suicide at her home in Castle Grove township, last Sunday morning with a shot gun.
The charge entered her heart and caused instant death.
Early in the morning the hired hand found the woman's lifeless body in a lane leading from the house to the pasture. She lay upon her back with one hand outstretched and the other lying across her breast. The surroundings indicated that she had made unusual preparations for the act of self destruction. A shot gun had been skillfully balanced on a wire fence at a point where the muzzle would cover her heart while she sat on the ground. Both hammers were raised, and a calico string attached to both triggers, was brought over one of the wires of the fence in such a way that they could be pulled by her, while sitting in front of the gun. Only one barrel of the gun was discharged; but it brought death. In the pocket of the woman were found several extra cartridges, the like of which the family had never bought. It is therefore presumed that the woman, with the deed premeditated in her mind long before, had made the purchases herself.
It is supposed that the deed was committed between 12 and 2 o'clock Sunday morning. Mr. Pliel and Mr. Eiben, two neighbors, heard a shot sometime between those hours. She retired at the same time the other members of the family did, which was about 11 o'clock. One of the daughters heard her mother rise, but thought nothing of it, as it was no unusual occurrence. She felt sure, too, that she heard her go back to bed. None of those in the house heard the shot. Dr. T. B. Kent, of Center Junction, the county coroner, was summoned, but after he appeared upon the scene, he concluded that the cause of death was so manifest that a formal inquiry was unnecessary.
It is quite certain that the deed was committed during a period of temporary insanity. Mrs. Tobiason was not what may be termed an insane woman, but she had intervals of temporary aberation of mind. During such periods her mania assumed suicidal tendencies. About six years ago she attempted self destruction, and made a pistol wound on her head. Later she threw herself out of a window. Those symptoms fled, and her children supposed that her mind was fully restored, until lately. She was worried over the effects of the recent storm, which did some damage on her farm, and the neighbors observed for several weeks past, that she showed a disinclination to meet them, being in the habit of turning her back on them when they passed her. Life should have been pleasant; she had a comfortable property, and her children were good to her.
The funeral was conducted at the Lutheran church in Castle Grove, last Monday by Rev. H. Lutz, and was attended by a large concourse of the friends of the deceased and her family.
Mrs. Tobiason was a native of Leerhave, Kreis Wittmunt, Province Hanover, Germany. She came to America with her husband, Henry H. Zimmerman and family in 1873. Later her husband died, and she married Mr. Henry Tobiason in February 1891. The following July he met with an accident which caused his death. The deceased is survived by two sons, Fritz Zimmerman and William Zimmerman, and two daughters Gesiene and Jettie, who are younger than their brothers.

Submitted by: Ron Ketelsen
Transcribed by: Janet Brandt
Source: Monticello Express, August 4, 1898


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