CASTIGAN, Patrick – (d. 1899)

Patrick Castigan Commits Suicide by Drowning Himself

Suffolk, Va., June 29 – Far away from dear ones and made morose and desperate because he couldn’t talk in life, Patrick CASTIGAN, an Irishman, 60 years old, preferred the quiet of death. If he had to keep still he’d rather die.  Pat. Yesterday threw himself into the dark waters of Bennett’s Creek, near Gatesville, N.C.  Last evening they found his body floating on the creek’s still bosom.  He was dead.  

Pat. CASTIGAN had no blood kin nearer than Ireland so far as is known.  He moved to America about twenty years ago, since when he has lived nearly all the time in Gates county.  Pat. Was a florist.  He eked out a modest living looking after people gardens and telling funny stories.  He had traveled in many countries during his younger days and laid by many a quaint selection of humor, interesting anecdote and bit of history.  He could tell them well.

For years Pat. CASTIGAN has been a well-known figure in Gatesville.  He was as familiar to court attendants as the Courthouse itself.  Nearly everybody knew and liked Pat.  He had no enemies.

As long as Pat could get around him a crowd of admirers and make them laugh he was contented.  He would likely have lived to a mellow old age but for smallpox and its quarantine regulations.  They have some mild cases of smallpox at Gatesville. The premises on which Pat. Lived, and which are owned by Mr. Joseph A. BROWN, were quarantined.  Pat got very angry at having intercourse with his auditors cut off.  He rebelled against any such regulations.  That was in the first stages of the play that led to tragedy.  He had to submit to the authorities.  He became docile and listless at enforced quiet.  The last stages were pregnant with melancholia.  Old man CASTIGAN went temporarily mad and sought refuge in death. He made for the nearest deep water.

Dr. George WILLIAMS conducted an inquest over the body.  The jury found a verdict of suicide.  The deceased left no property, but the good people of Gatesville – friends of Pat, who had laughed at his wit and his stories – had no idea of having him fill a pauper’s lot. Today they gave him a respectable burial. Many person honored his memory. 

Souce: Virginian-pilot (Norfolk, Va.), 30 June 1899. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>