Obituary for Elbridge McConkey
May 31, 1887

This obituary was published in the Carslile Weekly Herald and gives details about Major McConkey's life as well as his suicide. 

Major McConkey’s Suicide.

While Temporarily Insane a Well-Known Man Hangs Himself.

            Major Elbridge M’Conkey, one of Harrisburg’s best known residents, committed suicide yesterday morning by hanging himself to the door of his office of the State Agricultural Society. 

            About ten minutes after 11 o’clock, Mr. E. J. Stackpole, of the Telegraph, had occasion to go into the hall-way which passes the door of the Agricultural society. He glanced into the room as he passed by, and saw hanging to the half-open door the inanimate form of Major M’Conkey. The suicide had taken a rope and threw it over the edge of the door. Then placing it about his neck he leaned forward, his legs drawn up until his toes barely rested on the floor. Mr. Stackpole called Mr. S. C. Miller, the news editor, to his assistance, and the latter cut the rope and lowered the body to the floor. Physicians were instantly summoned from the street, but all pronounced life extinct, although a vigorous effort was made to restore animation. Coroner Shindler held an inquest, and after hearing the evidence a verdict was rendered of death by hanging, having committed suicide while temporarily insane. 

            The community was shocked at the news which soon spread over the entire city. There were many who had seen him in the morning and conversed with him. To Thomas Maine the deceased had said about 10 o’clock that he was not well and felt very bad. Ten minutes before 11 he conversed with J. J. Oglesby and remarked that he was feeling very bad over his troubles. A gentleman saw him go up Market street early in the morning with a piece of rope, the one undoubtedly used to commit the deed. 

            There is no doubt that the deed had been contemplated for some time, and the only question was as to how it should be done. On Saturday last deceased made inquiries at a drug store as to the result of certain poisons. About six months ago Major McConkey was prostrated by serious illness, and ever since then his friends have noticed that he was not as strong mentally as previous to his illness. 

            Major Elbridge M’Conkey was born in West Chester, Chester county, and was forty-nine years old at the time of his death. His father was David M’Conkey, one of the wealthiest men in Chester county. When a young man Elbridge studied law and was admitted to the Chester county Bar. When the war broke out he immediately enlisted and was assigned to the staff of Gen. M’Call, who commanded the Pennsylvania Reserves, and served under him until 1864. After the war, having married Miss Berghaus, of Harrisburg, he removed to Harrisburg and began the practice of law. While at Harrisburg he acted as Secretary of the Harrisburg gas company, and for many years was the corresponding secretary of the State Agricultural Society. In 1875 and 1876 he served as Resident Clerk of the House of Representatives, and in 1883 he also served as Resident Clerk, being unanimously chosen by his party. 

            Major M’Conkey was a singularly bright man, following a high order of intelligence. He was well read, conversed on almost all topics in an intelligent way, and was generally regarded as a bright man of rare ability. His friends were a legion, and from the public positions he held he enjoyed an acquantance that extended all over the state. 

            Deceased leaves a widow, who was a daughter of the late Charles E. Berghaus, and a grand daughter of the late Hon. Valentine Hummel, and four children, two sons and two daughters. John, the oldest son, is employed in the railroad shops of Altoona. Charles B., is a student at Yale College. 


“Major McConkey’s Suicide,” Carlisle Weekly Herald (Carlisle, Pennsylvania), May 31, 1887.