March 19, 1909
Mount Vernon, Illinois
During a school play, one actor shot another with sawed off bullet

The actors were John Moake (16) and Roy Slater (17); Moake was the one who was shot. Instead of using a blank cartridge, Moake sawed off part of a real bullet, thinking there was not enough to inflict damage. The bullet hit Moake in the forehead and glanced downwards, lodging in his nasal bone.

Newspapers reported Moake was “probably fatally wounded,” but I could not find any obituary in 1909 for him. Illinois online death records only go back as far as 1916, though I did find a death certificate for a John Moake in 1942 in the same county as the play and could feasibly be the same person.

Clipping: Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, IL) Mar. 20 1909

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