|The Detroit Free Press, May 23, 1871|
The incident wasn't Mr. Gerdis's first foray into madness or self-immolation. The previous winter he, along with his then insane wife, destroyed the contents of the house he was residing in. A week after being released from jail for that incident he attempted to strangle himself with a cord.
A move to the country town of Howell returned Mrs. Gerdis to her proper wits while her husband slipped back into the holds of madness. His return trip to Eloise provided the stage for his final act of lunacy which he carried out with fatal success.