Thomas Knotts grave marker
Thomas Knotts was killed at age 13 in 1867 when a shotgun discharged. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Published as it appeared on Sept. 21, 1867 in the Corvallis Gazette, Page 3, Column 1.

FATAL ACCIDENT. — On the 17th inst., Thomas Knotts, aged 15 years, stepson of Mr. John Keesee, who lives about three miles north of this place, came to his death on the 17th inst., by the accidental discharge of a shot gun. Just how it occurred is not known, even by the mother, who was in the adjoining room at the time. Four children were in a small room, and from the position of the gun, and the wound, the mother thinks Thomas must have been looking into the muzzle of the gun, when the hammer caught on the beadstead (bedstead), discharging the entire contents into his forehead, just above the eyes. The report of the gun brought the mother into the room before he scarcely reached the floor — but life was extinct. He scarcely made a struggle. The children, one older than Thomas, were so badly frightened, that they could not tell how it happened. Truly, in the “midst of life we are in death.”

(Editor’s note: The grave marker for Thomas shows that he was actually 13 years old at the time of his death).