Bunnell, Florida
Thursday, January 27, 1921


The entire community was shocked Tuesday evening between 5 and 6 o’clock when a telephone message went over the wire to Lamar Smith that his father had been found dead, a bullet wound in the right side of his head having apparently caused instant death.

Dr. Carter was summoned but every indication of life was gone and the physician pronounced him as having been dead for nearly three-quarters of an hour. The position of the body showed that he had been sitting on the side of the bed of his son, Lamar, and that in reclining back his revolver which he carried on his body a great deal of the time, had interfered with his rest and that he had drawn it from the scabbard, reached back to place it on the shelf at the rear of the bed and in so doing struck a studding, the impact discharging the weapon, the bullet entered just at the front of the right ear, ranged upward and lodged in the bone just above the right eye near the nose, breaking the bone but not coming thru the skin.

No power burns on the skin showed that the weapon must have been at least 1 inches from the mark and proved to the coroner’s jury that it was an accident and not a deliberate act to end life, as was at first thought.

Mr. Smith was 40 years old and for about 14 years has been with his family a resident of Flagler county having moved to Shell Bluff from Alabama in 1907. He was a native of Georgia, and for several years has been in business in Bunnell. As a businessman he was considered among our best, was honest and punctual in all his dealings. He has had his adversities and successes, but has always proven equal to emergencies. Some investments of last year turned out badly and Mr. Smith was just getting on his feet nicely and in the garage business was doing exceptionally well; his family relations were that of a loving husband and father, so that there could not have been any incentive for self-destruction.

Funeral arrangements contemplate burial from the Methodist church this afternoon at 2 o’clock and interment in Espanola Cemetery. His relations from Alabama are expected to arrive via the noon train today. Reverend Eads will officiate.

Internment by Undertaker Davis of Palatka. Those acting as pallbearers were: H. W. Sessions, W. H. McKenzie, A. M. Smith, T. E Holden, W. B Joiner and R. W. Deen.

Mr. Smith’s dead body was discovered by Mrs. Smith when she went to call him for supper which had been prepared by his daughter Lucile in the absence of Mrs. Smith, who had visited Daytona during the day and returned about 6 o’clock. Mr. Smith had gone to his home earlier in the afternoon complaining of a toothache and retired to the room of his son to rest. While chopping wood at the side entrance of the home Lucile heard the report of a gun, but took it for that of Mr. Osborne, the butcher who uses a rifle for killing hogs at the rear of his lot, never dreaming of the tragedy that was there enacted in her home. She did not want to disturb her father believing that he was sleeping, and warned her mother not to wake him until supper was served.

The corners jury, which was summoned by County Judge Bartlett about 8 o’clock in the evening made a complete survey of the scene of the tragedy and assembled at the office of the Judge where Dr. L. A. Carter was questioned as to the range of the bullet and probable distance of the revolver from Mr. Smith’s head when the shot was fired. He stated that no powder burns were on the wound or face and it was his opinion that the shot could not have been closed that 12 to 15 inches from the body.

He was not certain as to how far away the muzzle of a revolver had to be to leave no powder trace, but was certain no such trace was on the body.

The coroner’s jury then adjourned until 9 o’clock a.m. on the 26th, when it again assembled, heard the state of Mrs. Smith who was first to discover the body; also Mrs. Lucile Smith, Mrs. Hill and Wm. Ashley, the testimony of each tending to show that it could not have been other than an accident as previously described, the rendered a verdict as follows:

Verdict of Coroner’s Jury
State of Florida
County of Flagler


An inquisition, intended and taken for the State of Florida in the County of Flagler on the 25th and 26th days of January A. D. 1921, before me a Coroner in and for said county, upon the body of C. A. Smith, then and therein lying dead, upon the oaths of Mrs. C. C. Smith, Miss Lucile Smith, Mrs. Helen Hill and Will Ashley, and L. A. Carter, M. D., good and lawful men of said County and District who, being duly sworn and charged to inquire how, and in what manner, and by whom the said C. A. Smith came to his death.

Do say upon our oaths aforesaid that the said C. A. Smith came to his death in the following manner, to-wit; By an accidental discharge of a pistol while held in his own hands.

In witness whereof, as well the said Coroner as the Jurors aforesaid have to this inquisition set their hands and seals, on the day and year aforesaid at the place of aforesaid.  W. Lee Bartlett, Coroner, D. M. Deen, Foreman, C. E. Pellicer, Tom E. Holden, W. H. Gray, John I. Choate, W. H. McKenzie, Jurors