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On this day… January 1

January 1, 2011

John Kirwan's grave at Edeowie Station, South Australia

On this day, January 1, 1873 my great-great-great grandfather, John Kirwan shot himself in the head at his home/shop/store in Edeowie, South Australia.

You can read a  newspaper report on the coroner’s inquest here if you are not queasy.

I wrote an account of John Kirwan’s life here.  The account also links to another biography on the life of John Kirwan and some of his family.

My own father, Frank McLeod Kirwan committed suicide in 1976, so the subject of suicide interests me – specifically the intergenerational impact of the suicide of forebears.  I know my father’s suicide when  I was 12 years old affected me, and impacted on the future path of my life.  As a result, this must have also influenced my children.  I have wondered if the suicide of John Kirwan impacted on his descendants in a way that travelled through the generations.  I will write more on this in future posts, but if you are reading this, and have any thoughts, I’d be interested to hear them.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Howard Harrison permalink
    January 3, 2011 8:57 am

    John Kirwan of Edeowie was also my ancestor (my g-g-g-grandfather). We come from Eliza (Wade), JK’s eldest daughter. My daughter Kerrin and I are very keen to uncover the Kirwan story and have been researching it now for the last 10 years or so. I am very sorry to read of your father’s suicide and calculate from your dates that he and I are probably of the same generation. The suicide of JK is rather strange because I have a letter in his hand toEliza asking for some items to be sent in preparation for his youngest daughter Elizabeth’s wedding in dec 1872. The tone of the letter gives no hint of the looming tragedy. I wonder whether he had tinatus, like I have.?? Your speculation whether there is some genetic predisposition to suicide is interesting but I have no ideas to contribute, sorry. I would like to establish contact with you if you are happy to do so and exchange discoveries! I’m new to this “blog” world – should I make a post to your site perhaps? I have a GED file you might like to see.
    Best regards, and best wishes for 2011

    • snpdragon permalink*
      January 3, 2011 11:55 am

      Hello Howard, welcome and thank you for commenting. I will send an email so we can establish contact – it’s wonderful to ‘meet’ you. I’ve been hoping to meet some Wade relatives for many years.
      Michelle

    • snpdragon permalink*
      January 3, 2011 12:14 pm

      Hi again Howard
      My speculation is not so much that there is some genetic predisposition to suicide, but that the suicide of a forebear can influence the life path of descendents in such a way that life is different, perhaps harder than it would have been otherwise. Of course this in itself could lead to a predisposition to suicide, but thats not so much what I was suggesting. I’m still clarifying exactly what my supposition is… when i get it straight in my head I’ll post on that subject more fully.

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