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Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin F. Cowley on their Wedding Day

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THE HUNTSVILLE MERCURY - Huntsville, Alabama, Monday, September 11, 1916 Vol. XXXI. No. 315 - Front Page


Ben Cowley Shoots His Young Wife Lola.


Husband in Hospital. May Recover From Self Inflicted Wounds.

Ben Cowley shot and instantly killed his young wife, Lola McKelvy Cowley, at the latter's boarding house in Abingdon Village this morning and then turned the revolver to his own head in a vain attempt to suicide, shooting himself twice in the head. Cowley is about 30 years old and during the last few months had been working in the Abingdon Mills and doing odd jobs about the city. He is 30 years old and is a son of "Doc" Cowley, a well to do settler of the Big Cove. His wife, who was only 22 years old and had been married to him about eight years, was the daughter of Robert McKelvy of the Big Cove neighborhood.

The couple had a great deal of domestic trouble and had separated from time to time due no doubt to the husband's irregular habits. Their last separation was about three weeks ago and their friends expected this to be permanent. His wife had a job clerking in a store in the city and her energy made her independent of her husband. This seemed to cause deep resentment on his part, especially because the wife, being good looking and young, and being separated from her husband, had attracted the attention of other men in the village.

Cowley went back to her Sunday and is believed to have attempted to bring about a reconciliation. During the early hours of Monday morning while the young woman was dressing to come to the city, he opened fire on her. One bullet from the revolver struck her under the right jaw and ranged upward into the brain, causing instant death.

Seeing that his wife was dead, Cowley turned the weapon on himself and fired two shots into his head. One would is very dangerous and may possibly cause his death though the chances are in favor of his recovery. The other wound was merely a wound of the scalp. He was conveyed to the hospital and it was announced this afternoon that he would probably recover.

A warrant charging him with murder has been issued from the circuit court and Sheriff Lowe has placed him under watch at the hospital.

The tragedy occurred in the boarding house of Vertree Sanders in Abingdon Village. Four shots were heard and when the other occupants of the house rushed into the room of the Cowleys, they found the woman dead and the man lying unconscious in an apparently dying condition and grasping the revolver, an Iver Johnson weapon of 32 calibre, in his left hand.

The couple have two children. The man and woman both came from good families and the tragedy caused a sensation throughout the county.

"Doc" Cowley, father of Ben Cowley, was in the city this morning on a business trip when informed of the rash deed of his son and he was greatly affected. He had nothing to say, however, except that he was almost heart broken by the tragic affair. He visited his son at the hospital and saw to it that all arrangements had been made for medical attention.

The body of the young woman was prepared for burial at Laughlin Undertaking parlors and will be taken to the Big Cove this afternoon. The funeral will take place at the Old Camp Grounds tomorrow.

Owing to the similarity of names, early reports had it that the man who figured in the tragedy was Ben Cowley, who is well known in Huntsville as proprietor of a pool room. The man in this case is known to only a few.

THE HUNTSVILLE MERCURY - Huntsville, Alabama, Tuesday, September 12, 1916 Front Page


Ben Cowley, who killed his wife and shot himself in an effort at suicide yesterday morning, is recovering so rapidly from the effects of his scalp wound that he will probably be released from the city hospital to the hospital ward of the jail tomorrow. He is under guard while in the hospital, a warrant charging murder in the first degree having been sworn out against him.

The body of the murdered wife, has been taken to the Big Cove for interment today.

A special thanks to a new friend from Huntsville, Alabama, Juliette Miller, who offered to look up information for a total stranger in Texas.....These newspaper articles are a result of her research....Thank you so much, Juliette!!!!!
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