Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thriller Thursday - The priest who committed suicide

A couple of years ago I moved to Kropp and moving there ofcourse made me curious of the history of that specific area. Who lived there before me, what did they do and how were thier lives? So, I digged into the different churchrecords and I was browsing the books (found online at ArkivDigital, Ancesty and SVAR) and looking at the deathbook I found an intersting note:

Someone had commited suicide on February 5 in 1892 by hanging himself. There was also written that the suicide was commited when not being sane.

Kropp FI:2 page 42

I know during a period of time, if you committed suicide you were not being put to rest in the cemetery and/or there would be a quiet funeral (no church bells). But if you wasn't sane when commiting suicide you could have your grave in the cemetery and so on. I guess that is why that little note was written in the deathbook and I see it often when the cause of death is suicide.

Now this wasn't just anyone who had commited suicide. It happend to be the priest himself, Reinhold Malte Viktor Matthisen. I took a trip to the library who has the newspapers on microfilm to see what I could find. I found articles in both Helsingborgs Dagblad and Öresundposten. First they thought he had died from a stoke due to that he had been not all well lately, but still his death came as a surprise. He had been the priest in Kropp since 1887.

Helsingborgs Dagblad February 6 1892 
Then a couple of days later, they wrote he died from committing suicide. I like reading old articles and I almost do it on a daily basis. There is a huge difference on what those articles contained compared to nowadays. If there was an accident you can often read exactly what kind if injuries and if someone like in this case, committed suicide, it was printed out. Also, in this case with Malte, it is almost like gossip. There were serveral articles in just a couple of days.

Helsingborgs Dagblad February 8 1892

It seems to had been just a normal day. Malte had been in Helsingborg for some errands during the day. Later that night he hung himself.

Malte was born in 1838 Visby, on the beautiful island Gotland outside the east coast of Sweden. His father was the mayor, S I Matthisen and his mother was Oliva Taga Sofia von Lieven.

Visby stadsförsamling C 10

Before Malte came to Kropp, he was in Härnösand. It seems like he had good salary in Härnösand. He had a good economic situation and he and his family lived a good life. Then they came to Kropp and probably got into economic problems. Finally, he didnt see anyway out and killed himself, all this according to the newspaper articles.

Visby, Härnösand and Kropp

In a priestmeeting in 1871 he held the memoryspeech over priests that had past away. He also published "Ny matrikel öfver Hernösands stift" in 1882. The article below describes him as not very "priestlike" but that he was quite popular in the parish.

From Öresundsposten February 6 1892

Malte had a big family. He and his wife Hedda Charlotta Hjerne (b October 18, 1838) got married on November 21 in 1862. They had seven children.

  • Ester Hedda Olivia, born July 27, 1866
  • Ruth Taga Lucia, born November 11, 1867
  • Malte Gabriel, born May 13, 1870
  • Harald Jeaek, born June 1, 1876
  • Svante Johan, born December 21, 1876
  • Dagmar Gustava Teresia, born August 16, 1879
  • Hedvig Elenora, born June 30, 1883

Obituary Helsingborgs Dagblad February 6 1892

It is a sad story, but it doesnt end. Later that year, on Christmas Day, the mother Hedda dies. Cause of death is written as "vattusot" which in modern day would be some kind of oedema.

Kropp FI:2 page 47

Tombstone: Malte and Hedda at Kropp Cemetery

Church in Kropp

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. They were definitely more honest or at least more straight forward in their opinions back then. They would be sued if they printed those articles today. Enjoyed your post.