Episode 95: Depths of Despair: A Murder/Suicide Plot in Iowa

Mary Stewart had died too young, and her husband, William, couldn’t stand the grief. Buying a gun, he set into motion plans of murder and suicide. But after telling a neighbor, nothing went the way he expected, resulting in an unbelievable conclusion.



Police Block Father’s Plot to Slay Babes. The Davenport Democrat and Leader, 5/28/1920

Buys Gun to Kill Himself and Children. The Daily Times, 5/28/1920

Stewart Says He Wouldn’t Kill Children. The Daily Times, 5/29/1920

Drops Suicide and Pleads for His Children. The Davenport Democrat and Leader, 5/30/1920

Beckons From Dreamland the Husband Avers. The Davenport Democrat and Leader, 6/4/1920

Ancestry.com. Iowa, U.S., Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Le Claire, Scott, Iowa; Roll: T624_422; Page: 10A; Enumeration

Year: 1900; Census Place: Le Claire, Scott, Iowa; Roll: 458; Page: 16; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1240458District: 0154; FHL microfilm: 1374435

Year: 1920; Census Place: Davenport Ward 3, Scott, Iowa; Roll: T625_512; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 157

Iowa Department of Public Health; Des Moines, Iowa; Series Title: Iowa Marriage Records, 1880–1922; Record Type: Marriage

Davenport Deaths: William J. Stewart. The Democrat and Leader, 6/15/1952

Schimelpfening, Nancy. The History of Depression: Accounts, Treatments, and Beliefs Through the Ages. Verywellmind.com, 4/19/2022 (Medically reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW)

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