1840s A dam was constructed above Tivoli Island by Joseph and Calvin Boughton.
Watertown Democrat, 11 04 1858
Suicide— Mr. Joseph Boughton, of this city, committed suicide on Tuesday morning last by cutting his throat with a razor. At the time of the commission of the deed—about three o'clock in the morning—Mr. Boughton was in bed with his wife. After cutting his throat he awoke her and requested her to get up and make a light as he was dying. She immediately lit a candle and found him bleeding profusely from a wound in the right side of his neck and a razor in his hand. She took the razor from him and, while out of the room arousing the other members of the family, he again got the razor and inflicted another gash on the left side of his neck. Physicians were immediately called, but effort was unavailing, as either of the wounds were fatal. Mr. Boughton lived several hours, and retained his senses until death ensued.
The reasons assigned for the act were domestic difficulties with one of his brothers and some of his children. Mr. Boughton was one of our oldest citizens, and was at one time considered quite wealthy; but pecuniary reverses and almost constant litigation has taken it from him, and this was undoubtedly one of the reasons that has led to this unfortunate termination of his career. He leaves a wife and five children, of whom two daughters and one son are grown up
Watertown Democrat, 11 18 1858
To the Editor of the Watertown Democrat:
In a recent number of your paper, in alluding to the suicide of Joseph Boughton, you say the reason assigned by himself for the commission of the act was difficulties with one of his brothers and some of his children. Much as I regret, sir, to drag private wrongs and difficulties before the public, I cannot refrain from asking the privilege of doing so in this instance: justice to myself, the brother alluded to, and to others of the family equally aggrieved, demands that I should do so.
In the first place, it is notoriously true that Joseph Boughton had been more or less deranged at times for six months previous to his death; and if he did, as his wife avers, make such an assertion, it should be taken rather as the ravings of a deranged imagination than as conveying the actual truth or real cause of the commission of the act.
At the time of his decease Mr. Boughton was living with his second wife. Difficulties between her and the children of the former wife had driven them from their father’s roof to seek the hospitality of others. Between themselves and their father the kindest feelings had always existed, and only when suffering under mental derangement of the excessive use of stimulants, could he be persuaded to say or even think of them except as kind, dutiful and affectionate daughters and children. With regard to myself I shall only say that, in whatever difficulties I may have had with him, I have always acted on the defensive, and have always avoided everything that would cause the least rupture or disagreement. I have at different times advanced him money, to the amount of twelve hundred dollars, nine hundred of which remains unpaid, and which no means have ever been taken to collect. But enough on this subject.
Suffice it to say that whatever troubles we have had have been instigated and occasioned by others than himself or myself. A single word in respect to the circumstances of his death. Although he lived six hours after the commission of the deed, and had two brothers and two daughters residing within half a mile of his house and the scene of his decease, neither of them was notified in time to see him before he died; and yet a messenger was sent two miles for a lawyer to make his will. These circumstances speak for themselves; and if Joseph Brighton did die without making his peace with his family or his God, it is less his fault that the fault of others.
Watertown, Nov. 12th, 1858