Accidents, Tragedies and Sad Stories



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A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY

A Man Shoots His Brother, and then Puts a Bullet Through His Own Brain

DEATH OF WILLIAM SAWYER

Verdict of the Coronoer's Jury

This morning about ten o'clock Messrs. William and Benjamin Sawyer, who have for years been partners in the running of the oil mill, near the east end of East Main street, were in their office talking over their business affairs. An old business transaction, about which they had disagreed for some time, came up in the course of the conversation, and some warm words were used. In the course of the conversation, Mr. J.W. Ham, the book keeper, came in and soon after he entered the office. Mr. William Sawyer stepped to the desk, as he said, to get a bank book or papers for the purpose of going out to settle up some accounts. A moment later the crack of a pistol startled Mr. Ham and also Mr. Benjamin Sawyer, who was sitting in a chair in the east end of the office, the desk being in the west end. Both gentlemen saw at once that William was aiming his shots at Benjamin, and two more shots followed in quick succession, the last one taking effect in the head of the last named. He at once started to leave the office to escape further shots, and as he stepped out into the large room of the mill he fell, with his head bleeding profusely. Mr. William Sawyer at once left the office and passed down and inside stairway to the basement of the building, and then went out at a west door.

Mr. Ham as quickly as possible stationed the employes around the mill, so that they could see which way William went if he left the promises. While doing this a pistol shot was heard on the west side of the mill, and upon going there Mr. William Sawyer was seen lying near the door by which he had left the mill, with blood oozing from one temple and also flowing from the nose and mouth, while he was apparently in a dying condition. It at once became apparently in a dying condition. It at once became evident that on stepping from the building Mr. Sawyer had placed the barrel of his pistol against his right temple and discharged it, the ball passing entirely through the head, being visible under the skin on the opposite side from where it entered. He was still breathing, but it was evident that he could live but a short time.

In the meantime Benjamin, in the room above, had been assisted to a chair, and physicians were called, who, upon examination, found an ugly wound on the top of the head which ranged transversely over the skull. He was entirely conscious, and was soon taken to his home on East Wood street, where a more thorough examination disclosed a fractured skull, rendering trepanning necessary, which operation was performed by Drs. I.N. Barnes and R.L. Walston. The condition of the wounded man is considered quite critical, though it is hoped that careful nursing will bring him through.

William, who was in a dying state, was taken to his home in opera block, where the news of the terrible tragedy was broken to his wife. Soon after being taken to his home he breathed his last, at about eleven o'clock.

Both gentlemen have been prominent in the business circles of the city for many years, and the sad tragedy has cast a gloom over the community. Benjamin is past 60, and his brother was past 58 years of age.

TESTIMONY BEFORE THE CORONER'S JURY

At one o'clock this afternoon Coroner Dr. Cass Chenoweth summoned a jury of inquest, consisting of the following named gentlemen: C.H. Fuller, foreman, Frank W. Haines, John Giblin, L.F. Muzzy, O.F. Richardson, J.H. Rickets, Henry Blain, Jesse Leforgee, James Carter, H.B. Lewis, C.W. Holladay and J.S. Hewes.

The first witness sworn was James W. Ham, book-keeper, who testified that he was in the office at the time of the shooting, had seen Wm. Sawyer at the office sometime before the shooting occurred, and also Benjamin; witness came into the office a few minutes before the shooting. He was standin by the desk when deceased asked him to let him come there, as he wanted to get some papers from a drawer. Witness stepped to one side. Deceased tried to bunches of keys before he found the key that unlocks the drawer, heard the drawer unlocked; in a moment heard a pistol shot, and then two or three in quick succession. Mr. B. Sawyer was sitting in a chair. Saw him get up and go out of the office, falling as he passed through the door. He then stepped outside the building, and soon heard another shot on the north side of the mill. Went there and saw the body of the deceased lying with his head to the north, and a pistol near him. Went back into the mill and saw Mr. B. sitting in a chair with persons around him washing a wound on his head. Had seen pistol lying near deceased several times before. It had sometimes been kept in a safe. It is a large navy six shooter; did not examine to see how many barrels were empty. Had several times noticed of late that the conduct of deceased was somewhat peculiar; had several times heard him talking to himself.

John Pease testified: Work at the oil mill. Was going to east room to get a drink of water, when I heard pistol go off; two men ran past me, who said that William Sawyer had shot his brother; I then ran back to the engine room, when I heard the pistol go off again. I then heard pistol go off again. I then heard Mr. Ham exclaim that William had shot himself. Went out and aroud the building and saw the deceased lying on the ground bleeding from a wound in his head, with pistol at his feet. Had noticed for two months past that deceased had acted strangely, so much so that it had been a matter of talk among the men.

Wm. Newton testified that he worked in the mill. Was in the cellar when he heard three shots; went up the stairway, and saw Ben. Sawyer lying on floor and William Sawyer coming out of office toward him, cocking pistol as he came. Witness turned around, went down cellar, out at east door and around to engine, when he heard pistol go off again. In company with others went bakc and saw deceased lying on ground, with hole in head, and 25 or 30 men around him. Had seen deceased act strangely, and had heard the workmen talk regarding his lunacy.

Mr. Goodman works at the mill and corroborated preceding testimony as to hearing pistol shots. He though he heard 4 in the office besides the one which resulted in death of Wm. Sawyer.

H. Smock works at the mill, but was up town at the time of the shooting. Got to the wcene in time to help Blair lift deceased to a sitting position. Saw the wound and asked Blair what did it, when Blair pointed to the pistol lying a few feet away. Deceased was unconscious and breathing hard; had oiled pistol for deceased some time ago, and run a lot of bullets for him. It was a large sized Colt's navy revolver, carrying ounce balls. Had never noticed anything strange in deceased manner as he did not speak to witness unless he had business with him.

Patrick Connolly was the last witness, and testified to hearing shots.

THE VERDICT

Witnesses, spectators and reporters were then invited out by the coronoer, when the jury rendered the following verdict:

We, the jury summoned and sworn on an inquest held upon the body of William Sawyer, of Decatur, Illinois, do find, from the evidence, that said William Sawyer came to his death by a ball fired from a pistol, with his own hand - said ball entering the right temple, and lodging in his head, causing his death by said act - the said firing occurring between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., of the 4th day of November, A.D. 1878

Decatur Weekly Republican, Decatur, IL, 7 Nov 1878, pg. 1






CONDUCTOR KILLED AT WOOD CROSSING

I.C. Cars Back Down on City Street Car

PASSENGERS ESCAPE

Car Turned Over - Crossing Unprotected

KILLED

J. Bart Coulter, street car conductor

INJURED

Miss Pearl Portwood, Miss Neva Portwood, William Cunningham, Earl Kirkendall and Attorney Chester Allen Smith, none seriously.

One person was killed and five were slightly injured at the Wood street crossing of the Illinois Central at 8:10 Friday night when a street car on the Riverside line was struck and turned over by a string of empty coal cars on the Illinois Central.

CONDUCTOR CRUSHED

J.B. Coulter, the conductor on the street car, was instantly killed, his body caught and crushed under the corner of the car and shoved several feet by the freight train.

The wonder is that more were not killed, as the conditions for a horrible disaster could not have been better. Those who were in the car were injured by being cut with broken glass or bruised in falling when the street car turned over. Had the street car been filled with passengers, many lives would doubtless have been lost.

FIVE PASSENGERS

The street car, in charge of Conductor Coulter and Motorman William J. Cullen, the ex-policeman, had left the Country club at 8 o'clock to come into the city, and there were five passengers in the car when the Wood street crossing of the Illinois Central railroad was reached.

CONDUCTOR GOES AHEAD

According to custom, the car was stopped east of the railroad tracks and Conductor Coulter went ahead to see that there were no trains ahead to see that there were no trains coming before signalling his motorman to come forward with the car. That is always a dark crossing, and there are usually cars standing on one or more of the side tracks on each side of the crossing, so that unless there is a light on the rear end of a string of coal cars they could be backed on the crossing without being noticed.

Conductor Coulter crossed both of the main tracks of the Central and no trains being in sight from either direction he gave the signal for the car to approach. He was at the time standing on the north side of the street car track and was on the fourth Central track from the east, waiting for the rear of the car to reach him so he could hop on. That was the last seen of him alive.

UNABLE TO CLEAR TRACK

Just as the street car was crossing the fourth track a string of empty coal cars was backed up from the south by an Illinois Central switch engine. Witnesses declared that there was no light on the car. The train was backed up so fast that the motorman did not see it until he glanced down the track and saw the car by the light from the street car windows. By that time the street car was on the track directly in front of the oncoming train, and the only thing to do was for the motorman to throw on all speed forward. This he did, but he was unable to get his car in the clear.

The coal car struck the street car almost in the center of the south side, turning it over and shoving it clear over to the north side of the crossing, a distance of thirty or forty feet. It is said that the car was shoved about twenty feet before it turned over.

CAUGHT UNDER CAR

Conductor Coulter was caught under the car when it fell and his body was shoved along with the car. When he was found the corner of the car was resting in the middle of his back. After turning over the car had been tilted up on the corner, so that almost the entire weight of the car rested on the body of the unfortunate conductor. He was dead when found.

The coal car was also wrecked and thrown from the track. It was about half an hour before the body of Conductor Coulter could be removed from under the car. It was taken to Moran's undertaking establishment and prepared for burial.

CRASH HEARD BLOCKS

There was a scene of wildest excitement in the vicinty of the wreck. The crash could be heard for blocks and in a few minutes a large crowd had gathered. The five passengers in the car suffered many cuts and bruises, but fortunately none were seriously injured.

Will Cunningham, trap drummer at the Bijou theater, was thrown through a window of the car. His back was slightly sparined but otherwise he was uninjured. The Misses Portwood received a number of severe cuts and bruises above the face and body. Earl Kirkendall and Attorney Chester A. Smith received several cuts about the ankles and were also slightly bruised.

HELP IMMEDIATE

The Central switch crew hurried to the spot immediately after the crash. It was pitch dark in the car and Attorney Chester Smith asked one of them to hold a lantern inside so that the passengers could see how to get out. Vincent Haber and Scott McKenzie were about the first to reach the overturned car, and they and others assisted Attorney Smith and Motorman Cullen in getting the others out of the car. The two girls had to be carried out, but the men were able to take care of themselves.






A MYSTERIOUS DEATH

Suspicions of Foul Play - Post Mortem Examination

On Tuesday of this week a young lady, giving the name of Mary Hiser, was placed in a family living near the east end of Wood street, on the north side, for the purpose of boarding for a short time. Yesterday the young woman was taken till, and steadily grew worse until about 7 o'clock last evening, when she died. She was laid out, as is usual, but soon rumors were afloat that there was something wrong about the case, and so strong were suspicions that such was the case that the Coroner was notified, who, upon repairing to the house where the body was lying, and inquiring into matters, was of the opinion that an inquest should be held and a post mortem examination had. In pursuance of this conviction, Dr. W.J. Chenoweth and Dr. A.R. Small were called to make the examination. These gentlemen upon examination are of the opinion that there were indications pointing strongly to the theory that the death of the young woman was caused by an abortion.

THE CORONER'S INQUEST

The coroner's jury called to inquire into the cause of Mary Hiser's death, held a session in the grand jury room last evening and examined several witnesses but, as there were some witnesses whose presence could not be secured last evening, the jury took a recess until this evening at 7 o'clock. The jury has very judiciously decided to have their investigation strictly private, allowing no spectators to be present - not even representatives of the press; and they admit only one witness at a time. The jury is an excellent one, being composed of the following gentlemen; John Ullrich, foreman; C.L. Griswold, W.W. Foster, F.A. Leforgee, H.P. Christie, Henry F. May, Philip Miller, D.H. Heilman, Geo. S. Durfee, E. Oberderston, W.J. Brown and E. Gruble.

As stated yesterday, the name of the unfortunate victim in this case was Mary Hiser, and was the daughter of Mr. John Hiser, a well-to-do farmer, living near Rea's bridge. She came to the city about one month ago, and lived for a short time in the family of Mr. David Levy, and from there she went to live in the family of Mr. C.A. Tuttle, where she remained until last Monday, when she told Mrs. Tuttle that she wanted to go home for a few days, which the family supposed she did, but it seems that instead of going home, she went to the house where she died. Yesterday the parents were notified and last evening the distressed father came and took the body of his daughter home.

As to all the matters and facts bearing upon the menas by which the young woman came to her sad and seemingly untimely death, they are in the keeping of the coroner and the jury investigating the case, where it is proper that they should remain until a verdict is rendered by them.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 4 Apr 1878

VERDICT OF THE CORONER'S JURY

After a protracted session of three days the Coronoer's jury, called to inquire into the cause of Mary Hiser's death, terminated its labors to-day at half past one o'clock p.m., and returned as their verdict the following:

We the jury of inquest on the cause of the death of Mary Francis Hiser, find from the evidence that the said Mary F. Hiser came to her death as the result of an abortion produced on her by the hands of Mrs. Margaret Henkle. We also find that at the time of her death she was in the sixth month of her pregnancy, and that she died at the house of Mrs. Jennie Pitts, on East Wood street, in the city of Decatur. And we the jury further find that Edward Noel was the seducer of the said Mary F. Hiser, and was an accessorty before the fact.

John Ullrich, Foreman; P.H. Miller, W.W. Foster, D.H. Heilman, F.A. Legorgee, H.P. Christie, H.F. May, C.L. Griswold, Ed Grubel, Ernst Oberdorsten, Geo. S. Durfee, W.J. Brown.

In anticipation of the verdict a warrant for the arrest of Mrs. Henkle was sworn out on Friday, and has been in the hands of the officers ever since, but she has not been found. Yesterday a reward of $50 was offered for her apprehension by the sheriff and coroner.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 4 Apr 1878

MACON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

August Term, 1878

Court convened at 1 1/2 o'clock, Judge W.E. Nelson presiding.

The case of The People vs. Margaret Henkle, charged with the murger of Mary Hiser, was called. In response to the court State's attorney Buckingham said the People were ready. In behalf of the Hon. A.B. Bunn said that they were ready, and immediately thereupon the call of a jury commenced.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14

On the assembling of court this morning the call of a jury for the trial of the Henkle case was resumed, and the entire forenoon was spent without adding to the number which had been accepted last night, that being four. The examination of jurors was resumed at 1 1/2 o'clock this forenoon.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 15 Aug 1878

MONDAY, AUG. 19

The case of The People vs. Margaret Henkle was resumed, and Mrs. Pitts - at whose house Mary Hiser died, and who was on the stand at the adjournment of court on Saturday - was called, and her direct and cross-examination occupied the whole of the forenoon.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21

Court convened at half past 8 o'clock, and resumed the case of The People vs. Margaret Henkle. Dr. W.J. Chenoweth was called as a witness for the prosecution, and his direct examination occupied the entire forenoon up to the time of going to press this afternoon.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 22 Aug 1878

THE HENKLE TRIAL

The Case Submitted Without Argument

On the opening of court this morning Mrs. Henkle was placed upon a lounge in the court room on account of indisposition, she having been unable to sit up but little for the last two days. Had she been able it was the intention of her consel to place her on the witness stand this morning. Mr. Crea, of counsel for the defendant, announced to the court that he had sent for Dr. Sibley, Mrs. Henkle's attending physician, to get his opinion as to whether it would be safe for her to take the stand. Dr. A.J. Stoner and Dr. J. Brown were also consulted as to the same matter. These medical gentlemen were united int he opinion that defendant was too sick to attempt to testify.

It was then proposed by defendant's counsel to submit the case without defendant's testimony, both sides waiving argument. Upon consultation the counsel for the prosecution accepted the proposition, and the counsel on both sides proceeded to prepare their instructions.

The preparation of the instructions occupied the time to 3 o'clock, and were not then ready. The jury will probably get them near the close of the day.

The Jury ask for Further Instructions - Being Unable to Agree they are Discharged

About ten o'clock yesterday the jury in the Henkle case sent for the Judge, saying that they wished to communicate with him. His honor came to the court-room as soon as possible, and the jury was called in. Mrs. Henkle, who was in the sheriff's office, was brought in upon a lounge, she still being unable to sit up.

The jury submitted to the court the following questions.

In case a verdict of guilty should be found could the term of imprisonment be fixed at a less number of years than 14? In answer to this question the court read the instructions to the effect that if a verdict of guilty was found the jury must make the penalty some number of years between 14 and the natural life of defendant.

It was also asked by the jurors whether they could have the affidavit of Mrs. Pitts? To which the court gave a negative response.

Another juror wished to know whether the instructions were to be regarded as evidence, or as argument of counsel, or as the instrucitons of the court himself? The answer was that the instructions to the jury were the law by which they were to be guided in making up their verdict.

The jury then returned to their room for further deliberation.

During the balance of the day attorneys and others were on the watch, and up to nine o'clock the officers having the jury in charge were bored with the inquiry, "Have they agreed yet?" Early this morning the same line of questions was renewed.

About half-past eight o'clock one of the jurors informed the officer that they would like to communicate with the court, and about nine o'clock Judge Nelson came in and had the jury called before him.

Upon being asked what they desired, the Foreman repsonded that they had found themselves unable to agree upon a verdict, and that there was no prospect of an agreement. Whereupon the court informned them that he did not feel authorized to discharge them at present, and that they might return to their room and resume their deliberations.

Soon after noon the jury again asked to be admitted into court, and upon entering they assured the judge that they had made no progress toward an agreement, and there was no prospect of getting any nearer together in their opinions, whereupon they were discharged by order of court.

Defendant's counsel then moved that she be admitted to bail, which was granted by the court, the bail being fixed at $3000.

In conversation with the jurors it was ascertained that they stood eight for conviction and four for acquttal, and that they had stood that way since Saturday evening.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 5 Sep 1878






DEATH OF FRED SIMPSON WAS SUICIDE OR ACCIDENT

The Sad Intelligence Received by the Parents in this City - Fred Had Been Sick and Was On His Way Home

Fred J. Simpson, son of Alderman and Mrs. Geo. S. Simpson, of 367 West Main street this city was found dead in his room at the Westminster hotel in Los Angeles, Cal., Thursday night. The following press telegram from there:

LOS ANGELES, Cal., Feb. 14 - Fred Simpson, a young man from Decatur, Ill., was found dead in his room at the Westminster hotel at noon today having taken an apparent overdose of morphine, apparently with suicidal intent. Becoming suspicious of Simpson's non-appearance, the hotel manager forced open the door of his room and discovered the body of the young man in full dress stretched across the bed rigid in death. Beside the corpse lay an eight ounce bottle containing a small quantity of morphine. Simpson had been dissipating heavily and while all indications point to suicide, it is possible that he may have taken the drug as a sedative. He left no letters and nothing is known about him beyond the fact that he hailed from Decatur, Ill.

PARENTS NOTIFIED

The parents of the young man were notified by a telegram at 5 o'clock Friday evening and were almost prostrated by the shock. The father at once telegraphed to have the remains shipped home at once.

WAS NOT SUICIDE

The parents of the young man refuse to believe that he committed suicide and incline to the belief that Fred took the morphine to relieve the pains that he always felt in his sickness. The father said this morning that Fred had been sick for several weeks and had written for money to come home. On Feb., 5, Mr. Simpson sent him a check for $100, and he was expected home today. In his last letters he showed no feeling of melancholy and in fact seemed in better spirits than usual.

Fred Simpson left Decatur about five months ago and went to his father's olive ranch twenty-five miles from Los Angeles, and was interested in the management of the place. He was accompanied by George Tuttle. It is supposed that he left Tuttle at the ranch as nothing has been heard from him and had reached Los Angeles on his way home when he was taken violently ill and that he used morphine to relieve the pain which he frequently complained of in his stomach.

The deceased was 23 years of age. The remains are expected to arrive home on next Tuesday.

The Evening Bulletin (Decatur), 14 Feb 1896






KILLED HIS MOTHER

Harry Starrs Awful Mistake

Believing His Mother to be a Burglar, He Shot Her Last Night

Susan K. Starr, widow of the late J.G. Starr, was shot by her son Harry, under the belief that she was burglar, at 12:20 oclock this morning, at her home, No. 345 West Main street. At that hour the report of a pistol and the heart-rending shriek of the mortally wounded woman startled the people in the neighborhood, many of whom had just returned from the theatre and had not yet retired. Jim and Dick Roberts heard the shot at their home at the corner of Prairie and Edward streets and with Fred Baldwin were among the first to reach the house. They were met by the agonized young man who had committed the awful mistake and he incoherently explained what had happened. Drs. D.N. and E.W. Moore and W.J. and Cass Chenoweth were summoned. They arrived within twenty minutes after the distressing occurrence but were too late to render any aid. Mrs. Starrs death must have been almost instantaneous. She breathed a few times but probably never more than realized that she had been shot. Her night robes were saturated with blood and a ghastly pool marked the spot where she fell. After being shot she walked from her dresser towards her bed for a few steps and then fell to the floor. The painful circumstances attending the direful calamity made it somewhat difficult to glean the particulars. When Harry realized what he had done he rushed to the window with cries of murder. T.T. Roberts, who resides opposite the Starr residence, heard his cries and telephoned to the police headquarters and Special Officers W.H. Bailey and W.W. Connard went at once to the house. They found Mrs. Starr setting with her back against the bed and her head on a pillow. Harry was by her side lamenting his mistake and bathing her wound with water. The officers thing that she was alive when they got there but that she died soon afterward. Officer Bailey took charge of the revolver, fearing that Harry, in his remorse, might do himself violence. The revolver was a Smith & Wesson self-acting 38 calibre. The bullet enetered Mrs. Starrs neck just below the ear and passed through almost on a line. It struck against the wall and made a dent there when it came out. The opinion is that the jugular vein was severed. W.H. Starr, who is residing on West Macon street during the erection of his new house on the lot adjoining his mother, was notified of her death and reached her home at 1 oclock.

Saturday Herald (Decatur), 14 Sep 1889

HOW IT HAPPENED

As our readers well know several bold burglaries have been committed lately in the city and our people generally are more or less watchful. Only yesterday Mrs. Starr and her son, who with the servant girl, were the only occupants of the house, had talked about the depredations of burglars. Harry, who is single, made his home with his mother, and was her protector. Both occupied up-stairs rooms on the west side of the house, the rooms being separated by folding doors. Harry slept in the south room and his mother in the north room. Both retired at the usual hour. At about 12 oclock Harry was aroused by a real or imaginary noise and thinking of burglars he got up and secured a 38-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver, which had been kept in a dressing case. There was no one moving about in his mothers room at that time. Harry returned to his bed and put the revolver under his pillow. He fell asleep thinking of and listening for burglars. He was asleep when another noise aroused him. Looking north through the open doors he saw a dark form outlined against the window the moon was shining and instantly he fired the fatal shot, the response to which was one terrible cry from his mother, through whose neck the fatal bullet had passed, imbedding itself in the north wall of the room. Instantly Harry realized the terrible mistake he had made and hurried to the side of his mother to support her before she fell and to find her life blood issuing in streams from the severed jugular vein. In a short time the noble woman and loving mother was dead, and Harry in his great sorrow and terror could only cry out for held and do what he could to get medical assistance. The awfulness of the situation is indescribable. Harry is nearly heart-broken. Both mother and son were deeply attached to each other, the attachment being so marked as to occasion not unfrequent comment. Harry was Mrs. Starrs only unmarried son. He was devoted to her in every way, and she loved him fondly.

THE INQUEST

This morning the inquest was held at the home of sorrow by Coroner Bendure. The testimony follows:

T.T. Roberts testified: Came home from Springfield, between 12 and 1 oclock; heard cries of male and female voices; ran down stairs. Was called by name by Harry Starr, who called to me to see his mother, who was shot. Went to the room, then went to get medical help and aroused others.

Harry Starr testified: Mother had been out driving. I came home about 9 oclock from a drive; sat down on the porch and talked for about one hour about improvements on the house. I undressed and went to bed. She took a bath and retired; soon after spoke of feeling better, and of the trip to Washington. I awoke, hearing, as I thought, noises; returned to bed, but laid my revolver under my pillow; went to sleep listening. Knew nothing until again aroused; knew report of revolver, and began to realize that I had shot my mother. Called murder, and tried to care for my mother. Saw Mr. Roberts calling me by name; Mr. Roberts then came over, and soon after James and Richard Roberts. The policeman and physicians were very soon telephoned to by Mr. Roberts.

THE VERDICT

State of Illinois

Macon County

In the matter of the inquisition on the body of Susannah K. Starr, deceased, held at Decatur, Ill., on the 11th day of September, A.D. 1889, we the undersigned jurors, sworn to inquire of the death of Susannah K. Starr, on oath do find that she came to her death by a pistol shot from a revolver held in the hand of her son, Harry C. Starr, at her home on West Main street, between the hours of 12 and 1 oclock this morning. The circumstances of the shooting were that after Harry and his mother had retired for the night in adjoining rooms, Harry was awakened by a noise that he supposed to be a burglar at his mothers window. He got up, got his revolver, and again retired. After a short time he was again aroused, and on seeing some one by the window whom he took for a burglar he fired the shot which took effect in his mothers neck and caused her death. Having heard all the testimony in the case, we fully exonerate Harry from all blame in the matter.

W.T. Wells, Foreman
W.S. Grubbs
Jno. G. Cloyd
B.N. Adams
C.M. Imboden
F.L. Wood

Decatur Republican, 12 Sep 1889

Mr. Joseph Starr, the second son of the deceased lady, was at Fairbury on business for the firm of J.G. Starr & Son when the dreadful accident occurred. A telegram was sent to him at once, telling him to come home on the first train as an accident had happened to his mother. He did not reach this city until 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, but he accidentally got hold of a copy of THE DESPATCH on the train in the forenoon and thus obtained the first knowledge of the sorrowful scene which awaited him at home.

The Decatur Daily Despatch, 12 1889






BRING BODIES TO THIS CITY

Three Greeks Meet Death At Jacksonville

GASOLINE EXPLOSION

H.P. Tead and Tom Malleos Make Arrangements

Bodies of Doene Plarenos, Pete Chocalos and Max Andres, three Greeks, who were fatally burned in a gasoline in their bunk car at Bluffs Friday morning, will be brought to Decatur Sunday morning and taken to Moran's chapel, where the funerals will be held by a priest of the Greek Catholic church.

DIED FRIDAY NIGHT

The three men died at the hospital in Jacksonville Friday night. H.P. Tead, claim agent for the Wabash, went to Jacksonville and made arrangements for the bodies to be brought here. It is understood that some of the dead have relatives in or near Decatur. Tom Malleos of this city went to Jacksonville and arranged for the burials.

PREPARING BREAKFAST

There were four of the Greeks in the car and they were preparing breakfast at an oil stove. One of the men attempted to fill the gasoline tank of the stove without turning off the stove. There was an explosion and the four men were instantly covered with burning gasoline.

They had not unlocked the car door, which was bolted on the inside. Laborers in other bunk cars near by heard the explosion and the shrieks of the victims and battered in the door. By this time all the clothing had been burned from the four men in the car and the wood work of the car was on fire. The men were horribly burned but still alive, and they were placed on another car and accompanied by C.A. Evans and Dr. Harry Day of Bluffs were hurried to the hospital in Jacksonville. The victims were Doene Plarenos, Pete Chocalos, Max Andres and Thomas Plarenos.

Thomas Plarenos was badly burned about the face, chest and arms, but he was still conscious and it was thought his life could be saved. Physicians at the hospital removed the burned skin from his chest and arms and if it is seen that he will live new skin will be grafted. He cannot talk English and it was deemed necessary to have an interpreter to get the facts concerning the accident.

HERO MEDAL FOR DECATUR MAN

The coroner's jury, which held an inquest over the bodies of the three Greeks, who died as a result of burns from a gasoline stove explosion in a work car at Bluffs yesterday, Saturday, said it would recommend a Carnegie hero medal for Pete Pappas of Decatur, Ill., assistant foreman of the railroad gang, for bravery, in smashing down the door of the car and rescuing the men alive. The fourth of burned Greeks, Thomas Plarenos, is still alive and has a chance of recovery.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 4 Mar 1916

BURY THREE IN ONE TRENCH

Bodies of Greeks arrive on Sunday

The bodies of Doene Plarenos, Pete Chocalos and Max Andres, who lost their lives in a gasoline explosion in their bunk car at Bluffs Friday morning, will arrive in Decatur at 11 o'clock this forenoon and will be taken to Moran's chapel, where the funeral will be held for all three at 9 o'clock Monday morning. The services will be conducted by a Greek priest from Chicago.

IN ONE TRENCH

The bodies of all three men will be buried in one trench in Greenwood. This will be the second time in Decatur that more than two bodies have been buried in one grave. The only other time was in the case of seven of the miners who lost their lives in the disaster at No. 1 coal shaft ten years ago. All seven of the bodies were buried in the one trench.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 5 Mar 1916

THREE CASKETS TO ONE GRAVE

Friends Crowd to Triple Funeral of Greeks

CHAPEL IS FILLED

Bodies of Victims are Covered with Flowers

The triple funeral of Doene Plarenos, Pete Chocalos and Max Andres, whose deaths resulted from the gasoline explosion in their bunk car at Bluffs Saturday morning was held at _:30 o'clock Monday morning at Moran's chapel in Decatur. The services were conducted by Rev. Theodore Prussianos, pastor of the Greek Orthodox church at Chicago, and his assistant pastor. Short services were also conducted at the hospital in Jacksonville before the bodies were brought to Decatur.

CHAPEL IS FILLED

Morans chapel was filled with the friends of the three victims. Pete Pappas the interpreter for the gang who battered down the door of the bunk car and rescued the four men who were being burned to death, was present with thirty-five of his men from Bluffs and there were many Wabash men from Decatur in attendance. Eighteen of the finest appearing member of the Pappas crew were selected to act as pallbearers.

There were many beautiful floral tributes. On the forehead of each victim was a floral wreath and the bodies from the waist down were covered with flowers. The three caskets, open from head to foot rested side by side during the services.

TO ONE GRAVE

The funeral cortege attracted much attention as the three hearses followed by about twenty carriages wended their way to Greenwood where the three caskets were placed in one grave.

FOURTH MAY DIE

Thomas Plarenos, the fourth man in the fire was still alive Monday, but it was feared he could not recover.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 6 Mar 1916

GREEK REACHES HOSPITAL

Tony Planaros, Sole Survivor of Disastrous Bunk Car Fire, at Hospital

Tony Planaros, sole survivor of the disastrous Wabash bunk car fire which occurred on the west end last week and took the lives of three of his companions, was brought from Jacksonville to the Wabash hospital in Decatur Monday night. Every effort will be made to save his life although he was burned almost beyond recognition and is still a livid mass of blisters.

Tony escaped from the mass of flames in the closed bunk car by breaking one of the small windows and leaping through with his clothing in flames. His three companies perished before the car door could be battered down. The blaze was started when a large can of gasoline exploded, sending its flaming contents through the small car where the four Greek section laborers were preparing breakfast.

The unfortunate man is one of the worst cases ever handled in the local hospital. He is burned from his foread down, nose, ears and lips being swollen and discolored. Both forearms are in splints as the result of his fall and his upper arms are burned black. He also suffers from severe burns on the body. Local physicians think there is a chance for his recovery.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 21 Mar 1916






JESSE W. HANKS, of FRIENDS CREEK TOWNSHIP, SUICIDES BY HANGING

News was received yesterday afternoon of the suicide of Jesse W. Hanks, a prominent and wealthy farmer of Friends Creek township, which occurred at his home early yesterday morning. The deceased arose at his usual time in the morning, and ate breakfast with his family, seemingly in good spirits. After breakfast he went to the stable where he was found hanging, dead, about 8 o'clock by his son, Cyrus, who had become alarmed at his absence. The unfortunate gentleman had fastened a rope to a joist above one of the mangers, had made a slip knot, and passing the noose around his neck, had stepped into eternity. The family were quickly brought to the scene and the body cut down and carried to the house. The deceased was in good circumstances, owning 400 acres of the finest farming land in the county, besides stock, grain and other property. He was of a genial nature and the manner of his death will be a surprise to all who were acquainted with his habits and disposition. The cause of his death was domestic troubles. He married his second wife about eight months ago, and the union proved an unhappy one. Saturday afternoon the bitter feelings which existed between the pair culminated in an open quarrel, which resulted, it is said, in the deceased assaulting his wife with a deadly weapon. Mrs. Hanks escaped without serious injury, owing to the interference of the other memvers of the family.

Review (Decatur), 25 Sep 1882

THE INQUEST

It was learned at the inquest held on Sunday forenoon that Mr. Hanks and his wife did not live happily together, and that they had quarreled frequently about domestic affairs. On Saturday last the couple indulged in another quarrel, when Mr. Hanks assaulted his wife with w billy withi which he struck her behind the right ear, making a scar and causing the blood to flow. He had a razor, and as he had threatened to send her to her long home, it was believed that he intended to kill her; but in this purpose he was frustrated. The family gathered about the breakfast table on Sunday morning, and Mr. Hanks ate heartily. He told his sons that they needn't watchi him any more, that he didn't intend to do himself or any othe else any harm. After leaving the table he told one of his sons to go and feed the hogs and he would go to the old stable and salt the horses. He took a cup filled with salt and started alone toward the stable. On the way he was observed to stoop and pick up a rope halter with a ring tied to one end of it. This he put into his pocket as he walked along. He was seen to enter the old stable, and it was supposed he would return to the house shortly, but he did not, and some one of the boys went out to the stable to learn what was detaining his father. On entering the barn the lifeless form of Mr. Hanks was found.

DANGLING AT THE END OF A ROPE

The farmer had deliberately hung himself. He had used the rope-halter, which was not much larger in diameter than a bed cord. By slipping one end through the ring, he formed a noose, and then tied it to the cross pole above the stall. Climbing up one side of the stall, he had slipped the noose about his neck, and then loosened his hold on the stall and strangled to death in a few minutes. Had he repented of the act before death ensued, he could have easily released himself, as the rope was short and beams were in easy reach of his arms. His feet were less than 20 inches from the floor of the stable. Mr. Hanks was a powerfully built man. He weighed over 200 pounds, and it was with some diffiuclty that he was taken down.

VERDICT

The inquest was held under the supervision of Mr. Charles Towers, justice of the peace and acting coroner. The verdict was as follows:

STATE of ILLINOIS, MACON COUNTY

At an inquest taken for the people of the state of Illinois before Charles Towers, J.P., at the house of Jesse W. Hanks in the town of Friends Creek, in said county of Macon, on the 24th day of September, A.D. 1882, upon the body of Jesse W. Hanks, then and there lying dead, the under signed jurors, William H. Wykoff, David M. Adams, William Armstrong, Joseph J. McKirahan, William Griffin and Thomas Combs, on oath, do find that the deceased came to his death by hanging, done with suicidal intent, at his own stable, on his own farm, in the town and county aforesaid, on the morning of the 24th day of September, A.D. 1882,

SIGNED
Wm. H. Wykoff, foreman
D.J. Adams
Wm. Armstrong
Joseph J. McKirahan
We. Griffin
T.H. Combs

The within verdict was made up, signed, and delivered to me this 24th day of September, A.D. 1882, Charles TOWERS, J.P.

Approved, John DINNEEN, Coroner

Decatur Weekly Republican (Decatur), 28 Sep 1882

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GEORGIA MAFFIT BURNED TO DEATH

Victim of Gasoline Explosion Lives Short Time

SISTER BURNED, TOO

Famous Maffit Home Utterly Destroyed

Miss Georgia Corwin Maffit died at St. Marys hospital at 11 oclock Monday night as the result of burned received in the destruction by flames of the D.A. Maffit house just south of the city. Her sister, Mrs. William H. Wehmeier, was severely, but not seriously, burned about the hands, arms and face. She will be in the hospital several days. She rescued her eighteen month old daughter, Jane, uninjured.

David A. Maffit, who has been an invalid from rheumatism, was not hurt. His third daughter, Miss Margaret Maffit, was not at home when the fire broke out.

GUEST BURNED, TOO

Mrs. John Allen Shauck of Columbus, O., was burned about the hands and neck in smothering the flames that enveloped Miss Maffit. Then she was penned in her room by the fire. She escaped by climbing out of the window to the roof of the porch that extended the full length of the front of the house.

DUE TO SPONTANEOUS EXPLOSION

The fire was caused by the explosion of gasoline which Miss Georgia Maffit was using in cleaning. As far as is known, it was spontaneous. The young woman was wrapped in flames from head to foot. The Maffit house is in ruins, not enough water being available to stop the fire or prevent its spread. The explosion occurred about 3:20 oclock Monday afternoon. Miss Maffit was taken to St. Marys hospital shortly after 4 oclock. She began sinking at 8 and breathed her last just as the clock struck 11.

SUFFERS COMPARATIVELY LITTLE

Except just at first, Miss Maffit suffered comparatively little from her terrible burns, though she retained consciousness to within an hour of her death. Her pain was eased by morphine, and her death was just a falling to sleep. Had she lived, she would have been a hopeless invalid for life.

Mr. Maffit, his daughters and Mrs. Shauck spent last night at St. Marys. Their plans are not settled yet.

FUNERAL WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

Miss Maffits body will be taken to the residence of her grandmother, Mrs. Mary J. Usrey, 615 West Prairie avenue. The funeral will be held there at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon.

CAUSE NOT KNOWN

There Was No Fire On Floor Which Explosion Occurred

What caused the explosion is not known. There was no fire in the room or on the second floor. A fire in the grate on the first floor could hardly have been responsible. The house was practically of three stories, the dining room and kitchen being on the first floor, the parlor, living room and bedrooms, occupied by Mr. Maffit on the next, and four bedrooms and a bathroom on the third.

LARGE AMOUNT OF GASOLINE

Miss Maffit was in the maids room at the northwest corner of the top floor. She had just had a five-gallon can of gasoline taken to the room for cleaning purposes and she had been in the room only a few minutes when the explosion occurred. Mrs. Shauck was in the room a the southwest corner of the house and Mrs. Wehmeier and her baby daughter were in the room across the hall.

BURNED IN PUTTING OUT FLAMES

It was about 3:30 that they heard a sharp report. Immediately after the north wall of Mrs. Shaucks room fell in. Mrs. Shauck and Mrs. Wehmeier rushed out into the hall to meet Miss Maffit afire from head to foot, running to meet them. Mrs. Wehmeier picked up a rug and wrapped it around her sister and Mrs. Shauck seized some heavy blankets and wrapped them around her, too. Miss Maffit threw herself on a rug on the floor in an endeavor to help them and they succeeded in extinguishing the flames. It was in helping Miss Maffit that both the other women were burned.

Some men, attracted by the explosion, rushed up stairs and carried Miss Maffit to the yard, where, in a few minutes, first aids were applied. Mrs. Wehmeier rushed into her bed room and though her fingers were burned almost to the bone, picked up her baby and carried her down stairs.

DRIVEN BACK INTO ROOM

In an instant the whole upstairs was in flames. Mrs. Shauck inhaled some of the fumes and was driven back into her room. Almost suffocated, she raised a window, broke out the screen, and climbed out on the roof of the porch, from which she was rescued in a short time by Earl Anglin, a helper on a Decatur Ice Co. ice wagon, who brought a ladder to the house. The upstairs burned quickly, but the flamers were slower in communicating themselves to the downstairs. A great crowd, drawn by the fire, carried out much of the furniture, silver and dishes of the lower floors. Everything on the top floor was consumed.

NOT ENOUGH WATER

The fire department, arriving shortly after 3:30 oclock was handicapped by the lack of water. A small main, sufficient to supply the house and the barn was not large enough for the firemen and there were no taps of sufficient size for the fire hose. Garden hose was altogether too small to do much good. Not much could be accomplished by the chemical engines.

The house was practically a wreck at 4 oclock, though it burned much longer. The loss on the house is estimated at $3,000.

TERRIBLE SHOCK

Nothing In Years So Affected the Community

The death of Miss Georgia Maffit as a result of injuries sustained in the fire that destroyed the family residence was such a shock as the community has not experienced in a long time. The cause of the fire will perhaps never be known. The theory has been advanced that soon after pouring out the gasoline and while the room was filled with fumes, Miss Maffit probably stepped on a match. Had there been a gas jet burning in the room that could have caused the explosion, but there was no light burning.

D.A. MAFFITT ABOUT

Mr. Maffitt today was able to leave the hospital and was down town awhile. The excitement seemed to give him strength and he said that physically he was feeling better than he had for a week or two. He is bearing up well under his misfortunes. He had absolutely no plans at noon. He did not know where he would have a temporary stopping place. He will probably be at the St. Nicholas for awhile, at least. Mrs. Wehmeier is still at St. Marys hospital and will probably be there for several days. Mrs. Shauck is at the family residence of J.B. Bullard as is also Miss Margaret Maffitt.

PLANS FOR FUNERAL

The body of Miss Maffitt was removed to the undertaking establishment of Monson & Wilcox and prepared for burial. Wednesday morning the body will be removed to the home of her grandmother, Mrs. Mary J. Usrey, 615 W. Prairie avenue, where the funeral will be held at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. The casket will not be opened at any time.

Dr. Joseph Miller of York, Pa., a cousin of D.A. Maffitt, will be here. Mrs. Golden Danely Slaughter of Paris will get here tonight, and Mr. and Mrs. Louis Forman of Bloomington will also arrive tonight.

NO WATER

The fire could have been extinguished but for the lack of water. The upper portion of the house burned fast but the lower portion burned more slowly. The firemen arrived in plenty of time to save the building had there been sufficient water. There is no large water main there. A small pipe supplied city water to the house and barn, but there was no fire plug closer than Cantrall street, which may be about half a mile away.

HELD IN CHECK

The fireman did the best they could. The chemical engines from No. 1 and No. 2 hose houses were pressed into service, but alone they could not put out the fire. They held it in check for some time, however.

FURNITURE CARRIED OUT

Employes about the place used garden hose in an effort to save the building, but this was practically useless. After the two chemical engines were emptied there was nothing further the firemen could do. While they worked and it was certain that the house must go, neighbors carried out household goods and everything of value and they succeeded in saving practically all of the furniture and everything else in the lower part of the house.

FAMOUS HOME

The Maffit place has been known to everybody in Macon county for the past sixty years. The house was built many years ago and its framce was of oak. It was a land mark, but it was an exceptionally good residence, one of the best in that part of the city. It had been remodeled and made modern and was an exceedingly homelike and hospitable place. It was exceedingly well built and was worth $5,000. It probably could not be replaced for more than that amount. The insurance is about $2,500.

The house was built by Robert Maffitt, father of D.A. Maffit, and the materials used in its construction were mostly white oak and walnut, which in those days grew abundantly in the neighborhood. Robert Maffit had a saw mill operated by water power, and at this mill he sawed out the lumber for the house. It was all especially selected and well seasoned. Such building materials could hardly be bought now.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 7 Sep 1909






HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH KILLED WHEN AUTOMOBILES COLLIDE

Franklin Cloyd, 15, Dies On Way to Hospital; Companion Injured

DRIVER UNHURT

Franklin Cloyd, 15 years old, High school pupil, was killed Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock in an automobile collision in North Calhoun street and East Leafland avenue. He died on the way to St. Mary's hospital.

William Mattson, 17 years old, also a pupil of the high school was seriously injured in the same accident. Melvin Smith, 15, another pupil, who was driving the car in which the Cloyd and Mattson boys were riding, escaped without a scratch. His car collided with one driven by Alfred hill, 919 North Charles street. Hill and a friend riding with him were not hurt. Both cars were damaged.

INTERURBAN CREW HELPS

An interurban passenger train stopped in the intersection, and members of the train crew rendered assistance. Moran's ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident after it happened. The Cloyd boy was found lying against the side of a building, still alive. William (Billy) Mattson was lying near, unconscious. Melvin Smith was on his feet, but dazed. The ambulance took the three boys to the hospital. Cloyd died a few minutes after being lifted into the ambulance.

RECEIVED SEVERAL FRACTURES

He had received three fractures of the jaw, a broken left leg and left shoulder and an injury to his neck. The Mattson boy's head and ankle were hurt and he received severe bruises and cuts, and possible internal injuries. He remained in St. Mary's. Monday afternoon his condition was regarded as satisfactory. Melvin Smith went home after reporting the incident to police headquarters.

Young Smith told the police that he had had a year's driving experience. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Smith, 4 South Drive. He is a sophomore in the high school, as was Franklin Cloyd. Mattson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Mattson, 1632 North College street. Franklin Cloyd's parents are Mr. and Mrs. T.F. Cloyd, 874 West Grand avenue.

TO CONDUCT INQUEST

Franklin Cloyd's body was taken to Moran's funeral home and the family was notified of the death. The boy'd father identified the body. Coroner Roy M. Dawson opened an inquiry into the death. An inquest will be conducted, probably Tuesday.

Franklin Cloyd was born May 31, 1915, in Decatur. He attended Decatur grade schools, the Roosevelt Junior High school and the high school. He was popular among his classmates and teachers and took a leading part in school activities as a violinist and orchestra member. He was a member of Gamma Tau fraternity in the high school.

ATTENDED MUSIC COLLEGE

He was an accomplished musician. He attended the Decatur College of Music for three years. He was a member of the Grace Methodist church and formerly was a Boy Scout. He was a newspaper carrier. Franklin Cloyd leaves his parents, four brothers and a sister. The brothers are George, Charles, Lorenzo and William, all of Decatur. The sister is Ellen Cloyd, also of Decatur.

Decatur Herald, 19 Mar 1931






STRUCK BY A TRAIN

"Badge" Stevens a Frozen Corpse - Found on the Railroad

THE BODY DISCOVERED IN THE SNOW

Deceased was a Son of Old Settler, Joe Stevens - Intoxicated and on His Way Home He Met his Death Last Night

Daniel Stevens, familiarly known as "Badge" Stevens, was accidnetally killed at some unknown hour last night while on his way to his cabin home in the vicinity of the Bundy sawmill across the Sangamon river, south and west of the St. Louis bridge. His frozen body was found at an early hour this morning about 30 feet below the West Main street crossing of the Wabash, lying alongside the railroad track. The back of his head was crushed in and there was every indication that he had been struck by a train, while on his way to the river to cross the bridge. Where the body lay the snow was tramped down considerably. Possibly Stevens was not instantly killed. He may have attempted to get up, and failing to succeed, he lay there and froze to death.

Coroner Bendure was on his way to Mount Zion at 6 o'clock this morning to attend the funeral of the late Thomas Smith, when he got word from home by telephone that he was watned to take charge of the body of Stevens. The coroner sent word to Undertaker Brintlinger to go out after the body, and he would arrive from Mt. Zion this afternoon and hold the inquest. The body is now at the undertaker's room.

It is learned that Badge Stevens, who was about 50 years of age and much addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors, was in Decatur yesterday and last night as late as nine o'clock, in company with James Warnick, he was in May Bros.' grocery store. Both men were drunk. Stevens had to hold on to the counter as he passed out of the store. That is the last seen of Stevens alive in the city so far as known. It is supposed that Stevens had started for hom, and that while he was passing down the railroad track and staggering along, he was struck by one of the three passenger trains wich came in after 9 o'clock. Stevens must have stepped off the track in the snow as the train approached. He may have staggered or fallen over to be struck on the head as the train passed him. Possibly the exact manner of his death will never be known. When and where Stevens parted company with Warnick cannot be ascertained at this hour. The two men were last seen together at May Bros.' store. Warnick is employed at the Bundy saw mill.

Badge Stevens was a son of the late Joseph Stevens, who for many years was known as the oldest settler of Macon county. Deceased's step mother, who was the second wife of Joseph, is now making her home with F.M. Cunningham. He was the father of three grown daughters who are married. "Badge" was a character in his way. He was personally known to many old residents. He was his own worst enemy, and he knew it, but the drink habit had such a grip on him that he could not or would not quit.

HAD JUST TWO CENTS

At 6 o'clock Stevens and Warnick entered May Bros.' store and wanted to get some goods on credit, but Will Cox, the salesman, was in the store alone, and said he had no orders to give them credit and they would have to call when the proprietors were in. They came back about 9 o'clock, and Warnick had a talk with Davis May. Both men were so drunk that they could scarcely make themselves understood. Waarnick wanted credit for about 90 cents. Stevens had a log of silver money in his right hand, and Davis said that he didn't believe they wanted anything, if they did Stevens had money and could pay for it. At that time Sevens was going out of the door, and Warnick said: "All I've got is 15 cents," and then went out. They did not return to the store. When Stevens was disrobed this forenoon he had but two cents on his person; no silver whatever.

FATED BROTHERS

Death by accident seems to have run in the Stevens family. Along in the 60's a brother of Badge met his death in a tragic manner when he fell down the covered stairway at the old Germainia Hall, on South Main street, the fall breaking his neck. This brother had just recovered from small-pox. He was given to drink like Badge, and when he got our he visted his old haunts and met his death shortly afterwards in the manner described.

Decatur Daily Republican, 21 Jan 1892






A SUICIDE

Ephraim Harkrader, living four miles south of Maroa, committed suicide yesterday morning by shooting himself in the head, with a ball from a 32 caliber revolver. The ball went in front and above the right ear. Dr. McLean was called. He probed for the ball, but failed to remove it, it passing entirely through the brain. Mr. Harkrader was forty-seven years old, unmarried, and wealthy, but lately has had business cares which taxed his mind to the utmost. He was seen by his sister a few minutes before he committed the deed, sitting with his head resting upon his hands as is in deep study. When she passed into another room, she immediately afterward heard the report of the pistol. She ran to the room and found him weltering in blood, with the weapon by his side. He lived about two hours, but was not conscious during the time. Mr. Harkrader had many warm friends in this vicinity, and his death has caused a gloom that will not soon be dispelled. he leaves relatives who depended upon him for support that none but he could give, and when his generous heart failed to beat this morning, their hope died in their breasts.

THE CORONER'S INQUEST

Coroner John Dinneen was called to hold an inquest over the body of Ephraim Harkrader, who lives one mile west of Emery, and who had killed himself by a shot from a revolver about 6:30 yesterday morning. The testimony before the coroner's jury was as follows.

Margaret Colloway, testified that she was the deceased's sister. I was in the kitchen. He called to me and told me he would give me $1150, of Nancy's money, and afterwards said he would give it to her. He asked me if I would give my note to her in Ohio and I said I would. I went out to the pump and saw him sit down on a chair and rest his chin on his hands. In a few minutes i heard the report of a revolver and I said "My God that's Eph." Then I went to his room and found him lying on the lounge, with his head turned to the left. A revolver was laying on his breast close to his right hand. A bottle of laudunum was laying on his breast. It was a four ounce bottle about one-fourth full.

Mary V. Harkrader testified that, "I reside in Maroa township; I was not in the room at the time the shot was fired. I came into the room with Mrs. Calloway. Ephraim Harkrader was laying on the lounge with his revolver in his right hand, near his neck. A bottle of laudunum was laying on his breast with the cork out. It was about one fourth full. I raised him up and knocked the weapon out of his hand. He did not speak after the shot, and lived about one hour and a half after the shot was fired.

R.C. Harkrader, brother of the deceased, testified that he resided at Emery, Illinois, I was not present when the shot was fired. I found him laying on the lounge breathing with much difficulty. My aunt gave me the revolver, which had four loads in it. One chamber was empty. I took the other four loads out. The shooting occurred about half past six o'clock, on the morning of the 25th August, 1882.

After hearing the evidence the coroner's jury returned the following verdict:

STATE OF ILLINOIS,

Macon County,

In the matter of the inquisition on the body of Henry E. Harkrader deceased, held at Maroa tonwship, on the twenty-fifth day of August, A.D. 1882.

We, the undersigned, jurors, sworn to inquire of the death of Henry E. Harkrader, on oath do find that he came to his death by a shot from a pistol held in his own hand, whilst under the influence of laudanum, and being temporarily insane, about half past six o'clock a.m., this twenty-fifth day of August, A.D. 1882, in Maroa township, Macon county, state of Illinois.

    HENRY FLOOD, Foreman
    L.C. DAVIS
    A.V. COVEY
    G.H. LINEHART
    M.W. BISHOP
    F.W. MILLER

Saturday Herald (Decatur), 2 Sep 1882






FATAL ACCIDENT

A man named Geo. Kressler, who resided about twelve miles northwest of this city, died yesterday under the most distressing circumstances. On Tuesday evening he was working with his gun, both barrels of which were loaded with buckshot. He had taken the precaution to remove the caps, but by some unaccountable means the load went off, entering his knee cap and mutlilating it in a terrible manner. The physicians who were called in found that the limb could not be saved and accordingly amputated it, but the unfortunate man died in a few hours. He leaves a wife and children.

Decatur Republican, 19 Mar 1868






Last night, between eight and nine o'clock, Andrew M. Wheeler rushed into Kain's grocery store, on the South side of the New Square, exclaiming that he had been run over by a wagon and was killed. He fell down and died in a few minutes. The Coroner was immediately notified and a jury summoned. An examination of the body revealed no marks or bruises, but the evidence of several parties convinced the jury that the statement of the dying man was correct, and a verdict was rendered accordingly. The deceased was a son of ex-Sheriff Wheeler, and had served three years in the army. He was about 35 years of age.

Decatur Republican, 2 Jan 1868






IDENTIFICATION OF THE BODY FOUND IN THE SANGAMON

The dead body found in the Sangamon river Thursday evening proved to be that of Charles Chandler, foreman in the Wabash truck department. Coroner Bendure went to the river east of Sangamon station early yesterday morning and held the inquest there.

The men who found the body testified that they first saw a man's hat, and a little farther up the river the body of a man without a coat. They tied the body to a tree, where it stayed until the coroner arrived there yesterday morning. The pants pockets were filled with rocks.

Thursday afternoon Chandler was seen for the last time walking across the bridge. The verdict of the jury was that the deceased had come to his death by drowning.

Chandler was 34 years old and single and lived with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Chandler at 404 East Bradford street. He commenced Sunday to take the drink cure. Thursday forenoon he was at the shop as usual and apparently in as good spirits as usual. In the afternoon he passed the office window a little after 1 o'clock and as the clerks glanced out he made a gesture of the hand which they interpreted to mean that he had been getting another injection. He left the shop between 3 and 4 o'clock without speaking to any one, a thing which he was not accustomed to do. There was nothing in his conduct to occasion alarm in the minds of his associates.

His mother received the following lett dated Nov. 17 through the post office yesterday morning

"DEAR MOTHER - I can stand it no longer. I tried as hard as I could to give it up. Give my love to all. Draw my money and do the best you can with it. It's been a hard struggle to give it up. I take the coward's way. You will find my body near the Wabash bridge east of town. Your poor unfortunate son, CHARLIE CHANDLER"

The body was brought to Decatur but the time for the funeral has not yet been arranged. The father of the young man is in Chicago and was expected here last night.

The Daily Review, 19 Nov 1892






BURNED SO THAT SHE DIED

Mary Abrams Injured By An Exploding Lamp

Piercing screams aroused the neighborhood of Mason and Water streets at 11 last night. Those who tumbled out of bed and hurried to their windows saw flames coming from the home of Mrs. Mary Abrams at 315 East Mason street. It is almost alone on that side of the street, hid away between factories. Screams alone from that house would not have attracted much attention, because they have been frequent, but the sight of the flames soon caused all who saw them to hurry to the house.

Charley Kemper was about the first man to get to the house. He reached the back door, having crossed the railroad from Cerro Gordo street. A terrible sight met his eyes as he went through the kitchen into the front room. The room was lighted by burning furniture and clothing, while in the center stood a woman perfectly naked, with her skin apparently burned off from head to foot. On the floor at her feet were the charred scraps of her night clothing and pieces of burned flesh that had dropped from her blistered body. She was still screaming at the top of her voice, and throwing her arms in distracted but futile way.

Mr. Kemper threw off his coat, wrapped the woman in sheets from the open bed in the room, bot her to the bed and then went to work to see what he could do to relieve her sufferings. He soon found a sack of meal and at once began to apply it to the woman's wounds.

Officer Connard came a few minutes after Mr. Kempter. He had heard the screams while on Water street. After these persons had been there almost an hour Bill Blake came with Dr. Rukenbrod. Blake explained that the woman was his mother, Mrs. Mary Abrams. Dr. Rukenbrod made a hasty examination and found that she was

BURNED FROM HEAD TO FOOT

There was scarcely a spot on her body that was not blistered and in places cooked to a depth of an inch or more. The only spot left uncooked was on her back, about the size of one's hand, and one foot. In many places the flesh came off in great pieces.

The doctor says the woman cannot get well. If one third of the skin is burned, recovery is possible. In this case all of the skin is burned and the woman has inhaled the flames. She suffered terribly until she was relieved by the hypodermic injections of morphine. Now she is conscious and seemingly resting easy.

BILL BLAKE SAID

"I had just stepped away from the house and had not been gone two minutes when I heard her screams. I ran back and found her standing in the porch, with her clothes all on fire and nearly burned off, and the house was burning in places. I threw a jar of water on her and then took off my big overcoat and wrapped it around her. It put of the fire in the house, and just then Kemper came and I went after the doctor. I was so long because no one would come. I went to Dr. Lee and Dr. Farmer and they would not come. Then I went to Dr. Rukenbrod."

Blake said when he went out the lamp was on the safe lighted. When he came back he found it near the door some feet away with the top broken out, as if it had blown out. Bottles on the safe were broken. The wall was burning and the door frame was scorched. That was some distance from where the lamp was found. Mrs. Abrams said she was in bed when the lamp exploded and in trying to throw it out her clothes caught fire.

A SUSPICION

There was a strong suspicion among them that the lamp was broken by Blake in beating his mother, but this does not seem to be substantiated by the circumstances. He did not seem to be drunk, claims to be taking the Keely treatment from Dr. Farmer, and tells a pretty straight story. The broken bottles on the safe where the lamp stood he accounts for in attempting to put out the fire.

The neighbors say that Bill Blake's record is not a good one and that on many occasions his mother has fled to their houses for protection. On one occasion Officer Connard heard her screaming and rushing to her assistance had to attack Blake to save her life. The neighbors were not surprised therefore when they heard the screams last night and might not have been so prompt in going to her assistance as they would have been otherwise.

SHE IS DEAD

Mrs. Abrams died about 2 o'clock this morning. Officers examined the place, but found nothing to justify an arrest and made none.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 31 May 1892

SHE WAS SO HAPPY

Poor Mary Abrams Just Had Promise of Better Days

Mary Abrams, the woman who burned to death Monday night, has had a hard life. She lived for years with her son, Bill Blake, whose principal occupation has been getting into trouble with the authorities. He abused her frightfully when he was drinking and drove her from the house often when she had just made some sacrifice for him. Only Monday she met one of her neighbors on the street. Her face was smiling, and she seemed happier than she had been for months.

"Oh, I am so happy," she exclaimed. "Bill began taking the Farmer treatment today. I know he will be cured, and then he will reform. I think he will be something yet. We have had lots of hard times, but I think the worst are past."

At night, when she was so frightfully burned, she spoke several times with the greatest kindness to Bill and about him. Once she said, "Bill, I am afraid you will soon be left alone. You won't have anybody to wait on you then."

That was the only words she spoke that indicated she expected to die. About herself she did not seem to care. All her thoughts were of Bill. Once some time ago she was asked why she did not leave him. She said she was afraid he would go to the penitentiary if she did. She she staid with him, and struggled to keep the miserable home for him.

She had cousins here and had a daughter who lives in Kansas. Word came yesterday that the daughter could not come here because her children were sick.

After the accident the burned woman told two or three neighbors that she saw the lamp burning strangely and started to throw it out. It exploded in her hands.

Mary Abrams was never married.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 1 Jun 1892






KICKED BY A HORSE

From the Gazette, we learn the details of a serious accident that occurred last Saturday afternoon. It appears that a man by the name of Henry Abrams was standing talking to a friend who was sitting in his wagon in front of the St. Nicholas Hotel, when a couple of horses came running up the street. Abrams went to the rear of the wagon to secure a horse tied there. He reached the horse about the time the horses were passing, but before he had secured him, the horse wheeled and kicked, as is supposed, at the passing horses, but instead the man was kicked in the breast, and was rendered insensible for a few moments. He was carried into a business house near by, and medical assistance sent for. Although the skin was not broken, he suffered terribly, and fears are entertained that he is injure internally.

Decatur Republican, 2 Jul 1868






WILLIAM MIXELL HIT BY A TRAIN

Dear Man Walking on Track Near Warrensburg Instantly Killed

Warrensburg, Ills., May 2 - William Mixell, a carpenter 39 years old was instantly killed by the west bound passenger train Monday morning at 5:10 o'clock about a mile and a half _ west of Warrensburg.

HE WAS DEAF

Mixell, who was entirely deaf had started early to go to his work several miles from town and walked on the railroad track as it was nearere and better walking. The train that struck him is due here at 2:45 a.m. but this morning was two hours or more late. Mixell no doubt supposed the train had gone on time and consequently wasn't watching for it.

SEEN BY TRAIN MEN

When Mixell was first seen by the train men the train was running at the rate of fifty miles an hour, having received a great _ in _ the heavy grade just west of town. The whistle was sounded but as the man did not seem to hear it the air brakes were applied and the speed of the train was reduced to _ thirty five miles an hour when it struck Mixell, knocking him a distance of twenty feet or more, breaking his legs and bruising his head the other parts of the body badly.

The train did no cross over the body and that saved it from mutilation. The train was stopped and the body put on and the train backed up to Warrensburg. The remains were then taken to Willard's undertaking rooms to await the arrival of the coroner.

FAMILY'S GRIEF

This sad accident has cast a gloom over the community as the dead man was well liked and was a hard working and law abiding citizen. He leaves a wife, and two little girls. Their grief upon hearing of their cruel bereavement was pitiable to behold. The deceased also has an aged father, two brothers and a sister who live in this vicinity. The sister is the wife of Parker Beall of this place.

ONLY A FEW FEET MORE

One of the saddest features of the accident was that Mixell was only a short distance from the point where he would have left the railroad track to proceed north on a wagon road to his work.

INQUEST

Coroner Buxton held an inquest at Warrensburg Monday morning. The evidence showed that the trainmen whistled and tried to stop but that the man did not hear and was struck. The _ was in accordance with the facts given here.

David Mixell, a brother, John Batchelder, and P.A. Albert who saw the train strike him, Station Agent Horton and Mrs. Mixell, the wife were before the jury. The wife showed that he was in usual spirits and that if he had heard the whistle he would have gotten off the track. The jury was as follows: C.F. Bullard, W.H. Bond, Dr. W.A. Melton, J.H. Cook, Philip Pauman and Victor Dewein.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 29 May 1905






SUICIDE OF MRS. J.K. PECK

Tragedy in Oakley Township at 10 O'Clock To-Day

Temporary Insanity the Cause of the Act - The Inquest - Details of the Dead

A shocking tragedy occurred this forenoon at 10 o'clock at the home of Thomas Chambers, in Oakley township, 3 1/2 miles northwest of Cerro Gordo, when Mrs. James K. Peck, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, took her own life by shooting herself through the head with a revolver.

Mrs. Peck was 30 years of age and was the mother of three children, who with the husband are left to mourn her untimely death. The lady had not been in good health for several years. She was morose and gloomy, and could not be induced to cheer up and look on the bright side of life. Her mind of late had been affected to such an extent that her husband, relatives and friends thought it best to have her under surveillance as much as possible. The Peck home is a mile and a quarter north of the Chambers place. This morning Mrs. Peck left her home to visit her father, possibly with the secret resolve to end her earthly career. She manifested no such intention on arriving at the Chambers place and greeted her people much the same as usual. While the family were down stairs, Mrs. Peck went to the upper rooms which were unoccupied. She entered one which was used by the hired man. In a trunk in that room Mrs. Peck found a loaded revolver belonging to the man, and in that room alone, with her father and other near relatives downstairs, the wife and mother placed the muzzle of the weapon to her right temple and fired the fatal shot, death resulting within 30 minutes after the body fell and before Dr. Ellis could reach the house.

The report of the pistol and the fall of the body sent the entire family upstairs and into the room of death. They arrived too late. The deed was done, and the leaden bullet had accomplished its work. Upon the floor lay the body of the suicide and near her right hand was the smoking revolver. Mrs. Peck did not speak nor make any sign. Her life went out in a short time and she was at rest.

Coroner Bendure was summoned by telephone to hold an inquest and he left for Cerro Gordo this afternoon on the Effingham train to conduct the legal inquisition. It was a plain case of suicide. Such will be the verdict of the jury.

Decatur Daily Republican, 9 Oct 1891

The Peck Inquest

Coroner Bendure has returned from Oakley township where, at the house of Thomas Chambers, he held an inquest on the body of Mrs. Margaret Peck, wife of James K. Peck, who shot herself in the head with a revolver. The only witnesses were Effie Folrath, Anna Bezcher and Dr. J.C. Ellis. Miss Folrath was up stairs in the hall when she heard the report of the pistol; she went to the door and saw Mrs. Peck on the floor with the revolver in her hand, smoke still issuing from the barrel. That was about all the evidence. The jury, composed of Chris Minick, J.C. Peck, John McFarland, W.A. Weison, Peter Marsh and Hanson Peck, returned a verdict that Mrs. Peck "came to her death by a pistol shot from her own hand, with suicidal intent."

Decatur Daily Republican, 10 Oct 1891

RESULT OF A FRIGHT

Further Particulars about the Sad Suicide in Oakley Township

In the Monticello Herald of this week appears the following interesting explanation of the probable cause which led to the suicide of Mrs. Margaret Peck:

Mrs. James K. Peck, daughter of Thos. Chambers, one of the pioneers of Central Illinois, committed suicide by shooting herself, about 11 o'clock, Friday forenoon. She had for some time been troubled with the hallucination that she and her family would starve to death. She attempted suicide once before, but was prevented from doing so. The most careful guard has been kept over her for some time, but while spending a few days with her father's family she found a pistol which belonged to Mr. Chambers' hired man, and she used it with fatal result. She was dead in twenty minutes after the shot was fired, and thus the sad ending of a noble woman, one who was noted for her kind heart and cheerful disposition. Her trouble was very probably the effect of a terrible fright she received while in Boston attending the reunion last year. She and her husband, with many others, were out on a sail and there came very near being a wreck of the vessel, and Mrs. Peck was so badly frightened that it was almost impossible to pacify her. Mr. James K. Peck, who lives near Cerro Gordo in Macon county, the husband of the unfortunate lady, is prosperous and is well thought of by everyone. He is a man who is thoroughly devoted to his family. Since his wife's ailment he has done everything in his power to find relief for her. He and his three little motherless children and her father's family have the sympathy of all who know them.

Decatur Daily Republican, 15 Oct 1891






CUTTING AFFRAY AT BLUE MOUND

William Gross, a Saloon Keeper, Fatally Stabbed in the Side by W.E. Westbrook

The Assailant Held to Answer Without Bail

A cutting affray occurred in the Gross saloon at Blue Mound at 10 o'clock this forenoon, which cannot fail to result in the death of the proprietor of the place, William GROSS, who was raised in the town and has a family.

The assailant was W.E. Westbrook, a young man who resides some miles west of the town. The particulars of the affray as they came to us to-day are about as follows: WESTBROOK went into the saloon and engaged GROSS in talking. He charged GROSS with having sold liquor to a minor residing west of the town, and said that if he would put up $25 he (WESTBROOK) would not say anything about it. GROSS denied the charge, whereupon there was an altercation, during which WESTBROOK pulled out a pocket-knife with a long blade and stabbed GROSS in the left side, severing a rib and penetrating the lung. GROSS fell bleeding to the floor, and WESTBROOK was promptly arrested. The prisoner had an examination before Justice KETCHAM and was ordered committed to the county jail without bail. He will be brought to Decatur this evening.

Mr. Gross was attended by Drs. HARVEY and FOSTER. They say he cannot recover. GROSS is about 35 years of age.

ANOTHER ACCOUNT

Blue Mound, Ill., July 2 - A serious stabbing affray took place here this morning about 10 o'clock between a young fellow named WESTBROOK and Wm. GROSS. WESTBROOK, whose home is near Grove City, has been in town a couple of days and has been trying to blackmail the Gross Bros., saying they had sold him liquor and if they didn't put up he would blow on them. GROSS is cut in the left breast near the heart. The doctors say the wound is likely to prove fatal. WESTBROOK is in charge of the officers. He is about 18 years of age and bears an unsavory reputation. The town in in a fever of excitement.

Decatur Daily Repulbican, 2 Jul 1887

THE TRAGEDY

William GROSS, who was stabbed in the left breast by W.E. WESTBROOK on Saturday forenoon at Blue Mound, is yet alive, but is in a very critical condition. Dr. BUCK, of Springfield, was called to see GROSS to-day. He examined him and gave it as his opinion that the wounded man had but a slim chance to recover. He may die in a few days. WESTBROOK was brought to Decatur Saturday night and put in jail. The dying statement of GROSS has been reduced to writing by E.T. CLEMENTS. It is to the effect that WESTBROOK had attempted to extort $25 from him on a charge of selling liquor to a minor, the assailant proposing to keep quiet if he was given the money. When GROSS spoke to him about the change on the street, WESTBROOK stabbed him in the side, cutting him through a rib into the lung. Had not WESTBROOK been removed, it is asserted that he would have been lynched. There are threats made at Blue Mound of forcibly taking the prisoner from the jail and hanging him to the nearest tree in Decatur.

Decatur Daily Republican, 5 Jul 1887

Read more about this case!






A SHOCKING MISHAP

Little George Weaver the Victim of a Glancing Pistol Bullet

Last evening between 5 and 6 o'clock Geroge Weaver, the bright little son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Weaver, aged three years, was shot in the breast and almost died instantly by a glancing bullet fired from a 22-calibre pistol in the hands of Will Chenoweth, son of Dr. Cass Chenoweth. Little Georgie, in company with his older brother, Frank, was on top of a chicken coop at the rear of the Weaver lot on West Main street, adjoining the Chenoweth residence. They had been playing on the shed and had some bread and a book with them. The shed was built close to the high board fence, the top of which is about 18 inches higher than the shed. In the Chenoweth lot lying near the coal house, and about 14 feet west and south of where the Weaver children were playing, was an old cove oyster can. It had served in the past as a target for rifle and pistol practice, in which members of the Chenoweth family and the boarders at the Weaver house had participated the past few years.

It was while the two little boys were on the shed that Will Chenoweth appeared at the third story window of his home with the small pistol in his hand. Seeing the children near the fence, he called to them to look out. The little boys got out of danger by lying down on the shed and covering themselves with a shawl. Two shots were fired from the pistol, when the lads got up quickly and leaned over the fence to see what had been hit. Young Chenoweth fired again just at this moment, the ball striking some hard substance near the oyster can, rebounding and striking little Georgie just below the breast bone at the depression above the stomach. The boy fell over on the shed, screaming with pain. His father hurried to the scene, as did also Will Chenoweth, who was terrified at what had occurred. The wounded boy was picked up by his father and as soon as possible borne into the Weaver residence, where he died. Drs. W.J. Chenoweth and Cass Chenoweth were with the boy before he died, but could not do anything for him. The would was made by a flatened bullet, and had ranged upward, thus proving conclusively that the bullet had rebounded from the point described - but from what point is a matter of speculation. The firing was witnessed by at least six persons. It was purely accidental, and is generally deplored by the friends of all the parties. The grief of the parents of the little boy was pitiful to behold, while the sorrow of the author of Georgie's death was plainly apparent.

Coroner Perl held an inquest. The jurymen were W.W. Foster, R.C. Ringland, W.H. Bailey, D.F. Hubbert, G.W. Worden and H.K. Midkiff. The nature of the wound was described by the Drs. Chenoweth, and I.F. Harlan testified that at the time of the shooting the boys were about 20 feet out of range of the bullets that were fired from the pistol.

Will Chenoweth testified: I shot from the upper window of my father's house with a pistol, at a can in the rear of the lot: I only shot two or three times; the child was on the fence at the side of the lot; he raised up and cried a little and then sat down on the shed on which his feet were resting; the child was 15 or 20 feet east and north of the object at which I was firing; the can lay about six inches in front of some pieces lying on the ground against the coal shed, and i was shooting from the third story window of my father's house; after the child cired I laid the pistol down and ran down to where the child was; they were looking over the fence, west; I had frequently warned them away while shooting at the target.

The verdict was: "We, the undersigned jurors, sworn to inquire of the death of George Weaver, on oath do find that he came to his death by the result of a bullet wound in the upper part of his abdomen, fired from a pistol in the hands of W.J. Chenoweth, jr., and we further find from the evidence that the shooting was purely accidental and W.J. Chenoweth, jr. should be exonerated from all blame.

It was a very distressing accident, and is another warning that however expert one may be with firearms, and however careful parties may be in handling them, accidents causing death and remorse will occur. The shocking death of little Georgie is another warning to parents and children. Will this sad lesson prove one of profit to the people generally?

The funeral of the deceased took place this afternoon.

Decatur Republican, 6 Apr 1888






James FINLEY, Janitor, Victim of Ill Fortune

Now In Pest House

J.R. POGUE Believes Money Will Be Recovered

Grim and forbidding fortune dogs the footsteps of James FINLEY, until recently custodian of St. Patrick's church in this city. Not long ago he was taken sick with smallpox and has since made his quarters at the city pest house.

To make matters worse, Mr. FINLEY was informed by telephone several days ago that most of his life's savings had probably been lost through the filing of judgement notes against J.R. BEAN, the Sullivan trader and financier. Mr. FINLEY believes that Sullivan is his Jonah town for he is of the opinion that he contracted his smallpox attack while attending the Masonic dedication there.

Among the fifty or sixty others who loaned money to Mr. BEAN was Mr. FINLEY whose donation to the "explosion" was exactly $735, or the representation of many long years' work.

Was Exasperated

"Hivin help us, John POGUE," shouted Mr. FINLEY over the pest house phone when he was notified that his loan had gone up with the rest. "What next can the fiend bring upon me. Go and get my money and the saints be with ye. I cannot move feet from this place."

Saved His Money

Mr. FINLEY is a hard working, long suffering man of peace. He has long kept St. Patrick's church and the parish house spick and span for many years, working steadily day after day and saving all of his small salary that could possibly be laid away. He has seen it grow up painfully through the years even though for some time past he has been taking care of his sister. Some of his savings were called out to settle debts of the family, but a neat little nest egg for declining years was left and subsequently loaned to "Dick" BEAN who gave Mr. FINLEY the same sort of note that he gave his other creditors.

Was Last Straw

Everything ran smoothly until the big Masonic dedication in Sullivan some weeks ago. He went with the crowd and returned home to develop a fine case of smallpox. There is no medical authority in the country that can convince him the case did not come directly from his lurking ill luck in Sullivan. As soon as the case developed he was hurried to the pest house and had a hard fight with the disease. He has been there for more than three weeks.

Will Recover It

"I think it likely that Jim will recover most of his money," said Mr. POGUE Thursday, "and I know we will do all we can for him. Jim of course cannot see the humor in this situation and I can sympathize with his feelings. It is understood that if a trustee is appointed to handle the case, the notes in question will be taken up."

In the mean time James FINLEY is caged in the pest house awaiting the moment when the doors will open to him and he can go forth on the track of his "seven hundred". With the help of authorities it should be recovered without much difficulty.

Decatur Review, 12 August 1915






Thursday night, the farm house of Samuel MYERS in Long Creek township was destroyed by fire, nearly all of the contents going up in smoke. Insured for $600 in the Farmers' Mutual company.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 3 April 1887






Mrs. Samuel MYERS, living near North Fork church, east of the city, met with a serious accident Thursday. She fell on the ice and broke her hip joint. Mrs. MYERS is 75 years old and the accident may result seriously with her.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 30 December 1897






A Fatal Explosion

From Supervisor RUDDOCK, of Whitmore township, who called at our office we learn that, at Reed's steam saw mill, two miles north of Oakley, yesterday morning, about eight o'clock, the boiler bursted and the engineer, whose name is Jesse FULK, was instantly killed. Mr. REED, the owner of the mill had one of his legs badly broken, while the sawyer J. B. HARROUFF, had his head badly cut by a piece of iron. Dr. CHENOWETH of Oreana, was summoned, and set Mr. REED'S limb and dressed Mr. HARROUFF'S wound. In the explosion, the engine was thrown clear back to the saw, a distance of twenty feet, while the building itself was badly shattered. The deceased engineer has a brother, Amos FULK, residing on Wood street of this city.

Decatur Daily Review, March 20, 1880, Saturday, page 1

Submitted by Sandra Wagner






BODY BY EXPRESS


J. H. Price, West Decatur Street, Got a Gruesome
Package on Christmas Day.
THE LETTER CAME IN LATER
Box Containing Remains of Father Who Had Been Dead 50 Years.

J. R. PRICE living on West Decatur Street, received a rather gruesome Christmas package on the day before Christmas. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon the expressman delivered a box about fourteen inches square and twenty inches long containing the remains of his father who died and was buried over fifty years ago back in Ohio. A letter stating that the box had been shipped arrived about an hour later and just in time to prevent the opening it to ascertain the contents.

Mr. PRICE'S father, John PRICE, died August 14, 1849 and was buried in the cemetery of Seven Mile, Ohio, Butler county. In the half century since that time the town has grown out to the old church which was finally torn down and the churchyard and cemetery was recently platted and sold into lots. The family moved to this part of Illinois in 1856 and the children made arrangement with a relative to attend to the disinterment and send the remains to Decatur to be buried by the side of Mrs. PRICE who died in 1884 and is buried in Mt. Gilead cemetery.

Mr. EDWARDS attended to the work Monday and shipped the box and Tuesday wrote to Mr. PRICE advising him of its arrival but the letter got here last. Mr. EDWARDS in his letter said that at the same time eight other members of the family was disinterred and while all had been buried a long time ago only the bones and dust remained, a sister was buried thirty years ago in a silk dress which was found to be just as fresh as the day it was put away.

Of eleven children of John PRICE eight are still living and seven resides in Macon Co. A group picture was taken about two years ago and at that time the youngest was over fifty years old, and the oldest will celebrate his 80th birthday this year. The children are: Henry W. of Carroll, Ind., B. F. PRICE of this city, Mrs. B. A. NEYHARD of Wheatland twp., Mrs. Margret FOSTER and J. R. PRICE of this city, W. H. PRICE of Wheatland twp., Mrs. N. M. BAKER and Mrs. Mary E. HOPKINS of this city.

From the Decatur Papers

Submitted by: Barbara Madsen






LESTER REED LOSES LEG IN CRASH OF CARS

Eldorado Hits Conductor When He Alights to Adust His Trolly

EXPECTED TO RECOVER

Lester REED, 448 1/2 South Broadway, a conductor on a depot street car was serious injured Sunday night when he was caught between to cars in a rear end collision. His left leg was crushed and he was cut and bruised otherwise. He was removed to St. Mary's hospital in Moran's ambulance where it was found necessary to amputate the injured leg.

Power Cut Off

The accident occured at Jackson and North streets. The Depot car in charge of Motorman HENLOW and REED had stopped to discharge passengers. The car stopped with the trolley directly on the circuit breaker on the overhead line. The power was thus cut off. REED supposed that the trolley had jumped the wire and got out to put it back on. He saw an Eldorado car approaching but paid no attention to it, thinking it would stop.

Motorman A. F. GIBBS, in charge of the Eldorado car was slow in applying the brakes as he had not figured on the other car stopping at that place. Before he could bring his car to a halt it crashed into the Depot car catching REED between the bumpers.

Thrown from Seats

The brakes were set on the head car but in spite of that it was pushed ten feet carrying REED between them. There were few passengers at the time but they were thrown from their seats by the shock. None of the passengers were injured, however the windows in both the front and rear of the Depot car were broken but otherwise the two cars were uninjured.

REED was resting eaisly at last reports from the hospital and unless unexpected complications develop he should recover without difficulty, although the shock was severe.

Decatur Herald, January 10, 1921, Monday, p3

Submitted by - Sandra Wagner







HAD QUITE A LOSS

Rev. John RITCHIE of Warrensburg, whose house was burned July 4, suffered quite a loss. The fire happened just at supper and was caused by children playing with firecrackers in an upstairs room. The loss was $1600. Mr. RITCHIE lost part of his furniture and nearly all of his clothing. The policy he held expired some months ago and he had failed to renew it. Mr. RITCHIE has not yet decided to rebuild.

Weekly Herald Despatch (Decatur), 8 July 1893







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