The Chenoweth - Bering Tragedy

Dr. William Chenoweth


Dr. Chenoweth And Mr. Bering Could Not See Track - Hold Inquest Saturday

That a high hedge fence on the east side of the road which obscured the view of the I.T.S. track at Cassell's crossing was responsible for the instant deaths Thursday afternoon of Dr. William J. Chenoweth and J. Edward Bering is the belief of those who visited the scene of the accident. The two aged men could not have secrued a view of the track until they were within about ten feet of it.

Approximately twenty-five miles an hour was the speed of the interurban car at 7:02 o'clock when Cassell's crossing was reached, according to Motorman W.I. Taylor of Springfield. The car was headed towards Decatur and was covering the last mile before reaching the I.T.S. shops. The motorman blew a number of blasts with his whistle before reaching the crossing.


Dr. Chenoweth and Mr. Bering were just coming home from their daily "ten-mile drive," as they called it to Green's Switch and back. Mr. Bering was driving his little Ford runabout and his dog Jack was in the auto. Mr. Bering was seated on the west side of the seat and Dr. Chenoweth on the east side, the direction from which the speeding I.T.S. car was approaching.

Why Mr. Bering did not hear the blast of the whistle is not known. He was by no means hard of hearing. Dr. Chenoweth was quite deaf and talked in a rather high pitched voice. It is though that the two old comrades were absorbed in each other and probably conversing about some matter and did not give the danger at the crossing a moment's thought.


The auto was struck directly in the center and was dragged with its victims for 150 yards westward on the track before the car could be stopped. A trail of blood and flesh and portions of the auto were left on the track. Dr. Chenoweth, who was seated on the side nearest the approaching car was badly mangled and his body was almost unrecognizable. Mr. Bering was not so badly marred however, but the top and rear of his head were sheared off.


Jack, the dog, was thrown clear of the machine, the chain which held him to the auto snapped. He received a terrible blow on the back however which laid back the skin for six or eight inches. Whimpering and whining the dog limped off down the road towards home. He was found later in the 1030 block on East North and taken to a veterinary surgeon. The veterinary stated Friday morning that the dog would probably recover.


No human agency could have prevented the accident, declared Motorman W.I. Taylor after the tragedy. "I saw the top of the automobile just above the line of hedge before I reached the crossing but even though I realized that the machine was coming onto the tracks, the car could not have been stopped. I had no time to even shut off the power before the crash came. It all happened to suddenly. We seemed to both reach the crossing at exactly the same time.

The automobile was in the very middle when we met as far as I could tell. I thought for an instant that both old men were looking directly at me, but neither moved a muscle in the instant before they were struck. The impact was enough to jar my car thoroughly. I was certain both men were death when I first saw them. We went back and did all we could which was little enough. I called headquarters and summoned the authorities. I have never had any serious accident before."

Conductor Fugate failed to see the machine before the accident but felt the heavy jar and went forward to do anything possible. Motorman Taylor was running extra for Motorman Osinton who has the run regularly. The former was formerly identified with the Bennett Grain company here and now lives in Springfield.


F.W. Dudley, Decatur traveling salesman who lives at 836 North Church street was sitting in the smoking compartments close to the front window and it is his opinion that neither of the autoists saw the car at all or knew what struck them.

"I had been talking to Roy Stickle," said Mr. Dudley, "when my attention was called by the shriek of the whistle which was sufficient to drown all speech. I turned at once and saw every detail of the accident. After the car passed Faries Park the many crossings required that the whistle be held open squarely in the middle and I knew that both men had been killed.


Mr. Stickle, 1345 North Main street watched the accident under the same circumstances, glancing from the front window to see the car pull onto the tracks. He closed his eyes but could not shut out the impression of the crash which followed. He next looked out to see the little automobile crumpled into a bundle and rolled in front of the car while neither of the men had a chance for escape. As soon as the car stopped both Decatur men and the motorman leaped down and ran to the wreck.


The automobile had a personality of its own through its association with Mr. Bering's daily life. Few were the days when the veteran driver failed to appear on Decatur streets in the little red runabout, always accompanied by his fox terrier, "Jack." He was a constant companion of Mr. Bering's rides.

The little old Ford was to have been discarded very soon, the family having succeeded in gaining a promise from Mr. Bering for the purchase of a new car and the employment of a driver. His failing strength caused constant worry and the danger in his piloting the machine was known to all his friends.

Only the chassis and engine of the car remained recognizable. Every spoke was broken from the wheels but only one of the tires had received a puncture.


Coroner Elmer Brintlinger, who went to Beardstown to attend the Coroners convention Thursday morning, has been recalled by the accident and will arrive Friday morning, coming down on the I.T.S. The inquest has been set for 9 o'clock Saturday morning.


Will Await Return of MRs. F.L. Evans; Talk of Double Funeral

Until the return of Mrs. Frank L. Evans, daughter of J.E. Bering, from Tares Lakes, Wis. at 4:10 o'clock Friday afternoon, definite arrangements for the funeral of J.F. Bering and Dr. W.J. Chenoweth will not be made. There has been a suggestion however, for a double funeral for the two old comrades but Mrs. Evans' wishes in the matter will be carried out entirely. The boies are now at the Dawson undertaking establishment.

Besides a half brother, who lives in California, Mr. Bering is survived by two children; Wilson M. Bering and Mrs. Alice B. Evans, wife of F.L. Evans. The grandchildren are E.B. Hitchcock, son of Mrs. Ida Bering Hitchcock, and Horace Lee Bering, Mary Elizabeth Bering and Wilson, Jr., children of W.M. Bering, and Edward Bering Evans, son of Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Evans. Mr. Bering is also survived aby J. Bering Burrows, a nephew, and Mrs. Walter Strnage of Minneapolis, Mrs. W.W. Daniel of Columbus, O., and Miss Maude Burrows of California, nieces.

Dr. W.J. Chenoweth is survived by one son, Dr. Cass and two grandsons, Will and Bruce. He also leaves two great-grandchildren; Frances Chenoweth and Arthur Chenoweth, children of Dr. Will Chenoweth.


Dr. Cass Chenoweth will arrive in Decatur Saturday morning. Word of his father's death was sent to him at Townsend, Wis., where he has been on a fishing trip.

"READY TO DIE" - Dr. Chenoweth

"The only two things in the world that I fear," said Dr. Chenoweth while receiving the best wishes of his friends on his ninety-first birthday, "are an addled brain and inaction through accident or long sickenss. These I dread and these are the only things that worry me like the mischief. I have always held that a man should died before he is ninety, many much earlier than that. There is nothing worse than a man's losing the respect of his friends through senility. I find that I have lost the touch, the personal interest in my medicine. I am sometimes at sea when in talking with young physicians who are in the thick of it I find that the times have gone over my head. I still read some medicine by find that my main interest centers in my companionship and activities with Mr. Bering.

"I am ready to die at any time now and I hope to go out before I lose my grip on things. I cannot explain the length of my life other than that I have always respected my body and health. My father used to pay his children for abstinence from coffee. I lost out on the payments because I never could drink coffee. I never taked it until I was eighteen years of age. I have never touched liquor in any form except when it was given me without my knowledge in an egg-nog. As to food, I have followed the dictates of my appetite. Exercise is another necessity with me.


When Dr. Chenoweth came to Decatur he was offered several attractive lots. One of these offers was of eighty acres, the south line of which was along where the Wabash railroad crosses Water street. The eighty acres extended north and was for sale at $1,000. Dr. Chenoweth turned this down because it was too high priced.


Dr. Chenoweth was a member of the State Medical society, the Central Illinois Medical society, the American Medical Assoociation, and the American Army and Navy medical association. He served once as president of the Central Illinois Medical society and one year was chairman of the section of surgery of the State Medical society. He was often called upon for papers on important subjects before these different societies.

Dr. Chenoweth gave up the practice of medicine in 1907.


Dr. Chenoweth several years ago wrote the history of his experiences in the war and it was published in The Review in installments. It was a remarkable story, noticeable for its accuracy and the wealth of detail after a lapse of fifty years. Dr. Chenoweth was eighty-four years of age at the time he wrote his history, but he did all the typing himself, edited his own copy and made his own corrections.


Dr. Chenoweth said he was not able to account for his excellent health but those who knew him said the secret was in the perfect care he took of himself. He did all things regularly. He went to bed every night between 9 and 10 o'clock and rose not later than 5 o'clock.

He was ag reat reader, his specialty being books on physiology and pathology. He read all books on the subjects as they were issued, saythig that "old things sometimes get mouldy."


In 1871, Dr. Chenoweth formed a partnership with Dr. R.L. Walston, which continued for about two years. Then followed a partnership with his son, Dr. Cassidy. This lasted from 1873 to 1894. This firm took a position at the head of the medical profession. Dr. Cass Chenoweth had practiced alone for five years before going into partnership with his father.

Dr. Chenoweth was frequently called upon to write articles for medical journals. He was especially careful when he undertook to write an article. It is said that he sometimes consulted twenty or more books in preparing an article. His articles were published in leading journals of the country.

Dr. Chenoweth always dealt largely in property. In 1857 he had property in the county to the value of $30,000. A big slump came and the property only partly paid for, the doctor got caught. It broke him, but every dollar of the indebtedness was paid later. The income from his profession was more than sufficient for his needs, and he gained a competency.

Dr. Chenoweth resided in Detroit for several years with his daughter but returned to Decatur in 1914 to make his home with his son, Dr. Cass Chenoweth.


Dr. Chenoweth reached Decatur on May 24, 1854, and had since been connected with its interests, professionally and otherwise. Few men were more widely known in Macon county.

Dr. Chenoweth was born in Greensburg, Ky., and came of one of the old and prominent families of that great state. His paternal great grandfather, Captain Richard Chenoweth, went to that state and settled on an island in the Ohio river, later called Corn Island, for it was there that the first corn was raised for the colonists. He was a carpenter by trade and contracted to build the fort at Louisville for $3,000. He performed his part of the contract, but never received the money. He experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. On one occasion he and his family were attacked by Indians and one or two of the children were killed. Mrs. Chenoweth was attacked and stabbed seven times and the scalp was torn off her head. The Indians left her for dead, but she survived.


When W.J. Chenoweth was nine months old, the family moved from Lexington to Harrisburg, Ky., where the father engaged in merchandising. The doctor, whose birth occurred Dec. 1, 1823, acquired his education in private schools in Louisville and Harrisburg, Ky. When he was about twelve years old his father had removed to the former city where he did business as a produce commission merchant and wholesale cotton dealer. Young William worked in his father's office until after his mother's death which occurred when he was thirteen years of age.


He then in 1836, entered Augusta college of that state, from which he was graduated in 1841, at the age of seventeen, the youngest member in a class of thirteen. After his graduation he assisted his father in the commission business in Cincinnati, O., but in the meantime studied medicine with Dr. Nick Marshall of that city. Subsequently he entered the Ohio Medical college, at Cincinnati, and remained there one term, after which he engaged in the practice of medicine at Hillsborough, KY, where he remained for three years. In 1853 he was graduated from the Kentucky University of Louisville and soon after went to Texas, where he commenced to build up a good practice, but he remained there for only a few months. He was in favor of colonization, but on expressing his opinions freely, his neighbors, disagreeing with him, made known their desire that he should leave the community, and so he returned to the north. At the urgent request of William Martin, one of Decatur's well know pioneers, he came to this place and opened an office.

In Fleming county, Ky., Dr. Chenoweth married Miss America Leforgee, a granddaughter of the celebrated Mike Cassidy of Kentucky who was companion of Daniel Boone. Two children were born to them, Cassidy and Eliza R.


During the war Dr. Chenoweth served as a soldier of the Thirty-fifth Illinois infantry for fifteen months. He was a member of the G.A.R., and also of the Illinois Army and Navy Medical association, being for some time treasurer of the latter organization. He was a member of the First Methodist church.


Guy Scovill tells an interesting incident regarding W.J. Chenoweth.

"I was talking to Dr. Chenoweth on Tuesday," says Mr. Scovill, "and he said to me, "Guy, I hope the time will never come when I am dependent upon anyone. You know I have always looked out for myself and I am still anxious to do so. But Guy, in the past few weeks I've felt as though the time was near at hand when I well be dependent, and I hope that God will take me before that time comes."

Two days after making this statement to Mr. Scovill, Dr. Chenoweth was killed.


Dr. Chenoweth was prominently connected with the Decatur Medical society which preceded the present Medical society. There is some controversy as to the date of the organization of the first medical society. A meeting of physicians was held March 16, 1863, to discuss matters of interest to physicians, occasioned by the war. A set of resolutions was passed explaining to the public that owning to the increase in the price of almost everything in the way of necessities, the doctors were compelled to adopt a fee bill and to insist that all bills for medical service be paid as soon as possible. Dr. Chenoweth was present at that meeting. This is supposed to be the first effort at medical organization in Decatur. Dr. Josiah Brown, father of Dr. E.J. Brown, was secretary at that meeting.


From 1854 to 1859 Dr. Chenoweth held offices in the association. He was secretary all that time except one year, when he was president. This medical society died about 1872 through lack of interest, but two years later the present Medical society was formed. Dr. Chenoweth donated his medical library to this association. Twice, in 1899, and in 1909, he was president of the society.


At the annual banquet of the Decatur Medical society in 190?, Dr. Chenoweth and Ira N. Barnes, the oldest practicing physicians in the city, were the guests of honor and each gave a response to a toast which touched on the early days of the city and the difficulties encountered by the pioneers of the profession. Dr. Chenoweth's subject was "Characteristics of the Doctors in 1854." He said that when he came to Decatur there were seven practicing physicians here, Drs. King, Reed, Roberts, Dillon, Kellar, Baldwin and Trowbridge. Many interesting incidents of the profession at that time were told.

Dr. Barnes in his toast paid the following tribute to Dr. Chenoweth: "Dr. Chenoweth now carries away the palm as pioneer. He has always been the right man in an emergency, an able, honest counsellor, and fair to his competitors." Dr. Barnes told of one occurrance when an Illinois Central railroad traid ran over a man, crushing both his feet. Dr. Chenoweth amputated one foot and Dr. Barnes the other.


In September, 1861, during the war of the rebellion, he was commissioned as surgeon of the Thirty-fifth Illinois regiment, and served in Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. He took part in the battels of Pea Ridge and Perryville. He resigned in December, 1862, and returned to December to resume his professional practice.

In his early life he was a member of the Democratic party. Though born and raised in a slave state, he held liberal views on the subject of slavery. He favored the colonization of the negores and the gradual extinction of a system which he believed to be injurious to the best interests of the south. Previous to the war he belonged to the Doublas branch of the Democratic party, and from the position of a strong war Democrat during the rebellion he logically found his way into the Republican party, with which he had since acted.


From the start Dr. Chenoweth maintained a leading position among the physicians of Decatur. His specialties were surgery and female diseases. For many years he was a partner of Dr. S.T. Trowbridge, then the leading surgeon in this part of the state. He had a large practice in surgery and performed some of the most difficult operations known to this department of the profession. Dr. Chenoweth's great liking for his profession probably accounted in some measure for his success. He had been an enthusiastic student and was among the first to take advantage of the latest tellable results of progressive medical science. In all matters concerning his profession he took a deep interest. To him, in connection with Dr. A.R. Small, is principally due the passage of the law of 1877 to regulate the practice of medicine in the state of Illinois, admitting to practice only graduates of medical colleges, physicians of ten years standing, and those capable of passing an examination before a state board of examiners.

Had he chosen, Dr. Chenoweth couldhave won distinction in other fields. His management of a paper which he published in Decatur for a year showed marked literary ability. On the few occasions on which he had addressed public assemblies, he had displayed an excellent command of language, and a strong, earnest and effective style as a public speaker. He was one of the public-spirited citizens of the city, an advocate of improvement, and in all the relations of life sustained the reputation of an honorable man.


When Dr. Chenoweth came to Decatur in 1854, the town then had only 500 or 600 inhabitants. It had two railroads, just nearing completion, and was supposed to have a great future before it.

Though connected with the Methodist church, Dr. Chenoweth had views on many theological points which differed materially from the doctrine maintained by the Methodist denomination.


Mr. Bering took a great interest in photography and had a large collection of photographs, many of them being of great historical value. At the time The Review issues its Quarter-Century edition in 1913, Mr. Bering contributed more, pictorially, than any other individual. He put at the disposal of The Review his collection of photographs of Decatur and vicinity.

Mr. Bering's photographs were not only of historical value, but they were of immense scientific and artistic value as photographs. He reduced photography to an exact science. He gave most careful study to the art and reached the place where he made no poor pictures. He photographed everything about Decatur that was worth it.


Mr. Bering was born in Doylestown, Pa., and when he was five years old he went with his family to Philadelphia. In 1848 he went into the employ of the Pennsylvania railroad as chairman of the civil engineering corps. Afterwards he was promoted to be principal assistant in the civil engineering department and in that capacity he helped to lay out the famous horseshoe curve and the longest tunnel on the Pennsylvania line. He had worked for a dozen railroads as a civil engineer. It was Mr. Bering who located the first coal mine in Decatur. He was a deep student of minerology, chemistry, astronomy, and other subjects.

Mr. Bering led Dr. Chenoweth into the game of photography, and the latter also became much interested in it.


Mr. Bering acquired his early education under the instruciton of a private teacher in Philadelphia and afterward attended a grammar school and later a high school, from which he graduated. It was on March 6, 1848, that he left Philadelphia for the town of Summit, in the Allegheny mountains, to join the engineering corps which located the famous horseshoe bend.

Various enterprises and activities from time to time claimed the attention of Mr. Bering. On Jan 2, 1861, he began boring for oil and organzied the Mullenger Oil and Lumber Comapny at Mullengar, Pa. Mr. Bering was the organzier of the first company formed there for developing the oil industry. He was a prominent factor in the oil region of Pennsylvania while the field was being worked. In 1863 he was drafted for service in the army at Williamsport, Pa., and paid the $300 exemption fee, for he felt that his business interests demanded his personal attention.

In 1876 he began boring for coal in Decatur and on Jan. 12 struck a three- and-one-half foot vein at a depth of 610 feet, the first discovery of coal in this section.

He was married Oct. 1, 1856, to Miss Mary Elizabeth Morrison in Lock Haven, Pa. Three children were born to them, Ida, who is dead; Wilson M., who is postmaster, and Alice C., wife of F.L. Evans.

Mr. Bering possesses several volumes of family genealogy containing photographs of all the different members of his family, which he had taken and reproduced himself and the volumes are in his own handwriting.


The Bering residence at 421 West William street is one of the largest in Decatur, having nineteen rooms and two large halls. J.E. Bering owned the property for twenty-five years, having purchased it from the late Governor Richard J. Oglesby. A number of years ago Wilson M. Bering purchased the property from his father.

The house was formerly occupied by Governor and Mrs. Oglesby. Many famous people have visited at the hosue.


J.E. Bering, together with E.B. Chambers and William J. Quinlan, organized the Chambers, Bering and Quinlan company in 1876. Some years ago Mr. Chambers retired and Wilson M. Bering, son of J.E. Bering, took his place. The firm manufactured the first wire check rower invented, and one which proved an entire success. J.E. Bering served as president of the company.

Mr. Bering invented many of the implements manufactured by the company and developed many others. Most of the special machinery used in the factory was devised by him.

Mr. Bering retired from acrive business a number of years ago, but did not by any means give up interest when he left the factory. Although he was advanced in years he was still a student, an investigator, a scientist. He always kept posted on the latest advances in science.


Mr. and Mrs. Earl Cox were only a sort distance away when the interurban struck the car in which the two men were driving. They did not see the accident, but were on the scene a few minutes afterwards, coming along the road on their mortocycle.

"It was a terrible sight," said Mr. Cox. "The bodies of both were mangled. The interurban went for a block after hitting the machine before it could be stopped. The motorman tried every possible way to stop the car sooner, but it was impossible. Sections of brains and peices of the machine were scattered all along the way. Even the spokes of the wheels were cut in two. The Ford was across the track and was all broken to pieces before the interurban could be stopped.

"The Ford machine was evidently running very slowly, but the men probably did not see the interurban because of the hedge along the road at that place.

"I noticed that the position of Mr. Chenoweth's right hand appeared as if it had falled off the wheel. We took the conductor to the call-up station to telephone. The bodies were brought in on the interurban which struck the machine.

The Daily Review, 20 Aug 1915


In Verdict Over Killing of Bering and Chenoweth


BodiesLie in Room Where They Played Backgammon

Accidental death from unavoiable causes was the verdict handed down at 2:25 Saturday afternoon by the coroner's jury acting on the case of the Bering-Chenoweth tragedy which occurred Thursday afternoon east of the city. Duplicate decisions were rendered for the individual cases, stating that the aged comrades came to their deaths by "being struck by I.T.S. car No. 226, while riding in an automobile at Cassell's crossing." The jury added the unavoidable clause after having adjourned Saturday morning to inspect the hedge fence at the crossing.


After the inquest was resumed at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, Motorman W.I. Taylor, operating car No. 226, was called. He had little to his story told after the accident. He stated that his car was running between thirty-five and forty-five miles an hour along that stretch of track and that he saw the automobile approaching the track just before it disappeared behind the high part of the hedge which extends for about 100 feet north of the track in its highest point.

He said that the view was clear north of the hedge and that ordinarily any autoist could see and hear a car coming from the east. The automobile was running slowly and he thought it was stopping for the tracks. He testified to holding open his whistle until the crossing was reached, then he saw the machine come onto the crossing and in the instant that his brakes, including the emergency, were applied, the crash came. He was exempted from all blame in the accident.


The jury after the inspection of the hedge, considered that it was not remarkably dangerous, as a view is given of the tracks from the north and the high part of the greenery extends for only about 100 feet.


Chieft interest in the testimony heard by Coroner Elmer Brintlinger during the morning centered about the high hedge fence at the crossing, and Frank Sharrett, who rents the Hemminger farm, which the hedge borders, was questioned closely concerning it. He testified that the hedge is high and obscures the view of the interurban track.

"The hedge was cut last year just before the close of August," said he, in answer to questions. "It has had time to grow a great deal since that time and this has been a good growing year. I have been cutting hedge this month on the farm and stopped for threshing, leaving the part of the hedge bordering the tracks to finish when work permitted. I was compelled to leave the cutting unfinished and this part of the hedge is practically the only portion that has not had attention this year."


The jury was not satisfied concerning all phases of the question and adjourned about 10:30 in order to go out to the crossing and personally examine the hedge. They were carried to the spot in automobiles and returned to resume the inquest after the arrival of Motorman Taylor at 1:30.

Dr. J.T. McDavid was chosen foreman of the jury. The members were J.E. Patterson, Tom Pitner, F.A. Songer, J.J. Kraiger and B.L. Howenstine.


The first witness called after the inquest opened at 9 o'clock was Frank W. Dudley of Decatur, who was seated at the front window of the smoking compartment on the I.T.S. car and was an eye witness of the accident. He told the same story as his statement made directly after the accident, bringing out particularly the continuous blowing of the I.T.S. whistle before the car reached the crossing.

His testimony was verified by Roy Stickle, who was talking to Mr. Dudley in the smoker and whose conversation was interrupted by the blasts of the whistle. Clarence Sever, 120 South Edward street, another commercial traveler, who was seated in about the middle of the car, told of feeling the shock of the collision and of the automobile's appearance after the accident.

George Fugate, conductor on the car, was next called and testified to the blowing of the whistle and to the usual operation details on the run. He was not a witness to the accident, having been on the back platform when it occurred. He went forward immediately upon feeling the shock and later aided in extricating the bodies from the car.


As a fitting conclusion to the fine comradship which for so many years has existed between J.E. Bering and Dr. W.J. Chenoweth, one funeral service will be held for both in the paneled walnut room adjoining the parlor of the Bering home, 421 West William street, Saturday afternoon at 5 o'clock. The bodies were taken from the Dawson undertaking establishment Saturday and laid in state side by side in the home which has served them through mutually happy declining years. The room is that used for many years by Mr. Bering and the one in which the comrades spent many long evenings over their games of backgammon and their working out of puzzles.

The simple funeral service will be conducted by Rev. W.H. Penhallegon, and members of the G.A.R. will attend in a body to conduct short services for the veteran army surgeon. Interment is to be in Greenwood.


Pallbearers for Mr. Bering will be J. Frank Davis, J.B. Prestley, P.T. Cline, H.I. Baldwin, J.M. Allen and J.D. Moore.

Pallbearers for Dr. Chenoweth will be L.C. Shellabarger, S.W. Johns, J.P. Gorin, C.R. Lyons, C.A. Ewing, S. Campbell.


The joint funeral arrangements were made upon the arrival of Mrs. Frank L. Evans, daughter of Mr. Bering, and her son, Edward Evans, who reached home Friday afternoon from Three Lakes, Wis. Mrs. W.W. Daniel of Columbus, a niece, has arrived for the services. Mrs. Mary Chenoweth arrived Friday evening. Dr. Cass Chenoweth, son of the surgeon, and Mrs. Alice Summerfield, a relative from Detroit, will arrive in time to attend.


Resolutions of respect and sorrow will be drawn up by the Decatur Medical society Saturday afternoon at a meeting in the Citizen's building. Dr. H.C. Jones, chairman, Dr. F.J. Mittan and Dr. J.W. Sanders make up the committee appointed to draw up the resolutions which will be submitted to the society for adoption at the next meeting.

Decatur Review, 21 Aug 1915


Bering - Chenoweth Double Funeral Impressive And Notable - Services Simple

Two caskets side by side in the paneled walnut room of the famous residence, a mass of flowers, a simple service of prayer without an address, a house more than filled with friends, the oldest and most respected people of this city, athen two hearses to Greenwood, with pauses at two different burial places, made the impressive and notable funeral of J.E. Bering and Dr. W.J. Chenoweth in the last part of the day Saturday. Decatur never had such a funeral and can never have such another one.


All day long flowers were coming. They filled the library where the services were held and crowded other rooms. The company that gathered included life long residents of the city and our most prominent business and professional men.

At 5 o'clock Dr. W.H. Penhallegon opened the service by reading a passage of scripture. There was no music and no address. This was at the request of both families.


Dr. Penhallegon then gave a prayer in the course of which he paid high tribute to the lives and characters of the two men, of their long and useful services to the community. He then lead a psalm.

Members of the G.A.R. then entered the house from the porch and grouped themselves about the casket of Dr. Chenoweth. They gave their ritual in a brief and impressive manner. Forty-eight veterans were present. Dr. Penhallegon then concluded the services at home with a prayer.


The bodies were then taken from the house and placed in the two hearses, which, side by side, headed the long procession. The hearses were followed first by the Chenoweth family and connections. Next in line came the Bering family and connections. The Chenoweth lot in Greenwood was reached first and all of those in the procession descended from their carriages for the brief committal services spoken by Dr. Penhallegon at the grave. The procession the wound on to the Bering grave where the committal service was repeated, marking the earthly separation of the two comrades.


One of the striking features of the funeral was the profusion of flowers. Wonderful pieces of all varieties were sent as tributes by friends in and out of the city. Many came without either name attached, the card of the sender showing the tribute was meant for both. Others came in exact duplicate while some were marked with the name of one or other of the two men. The American flag and a blanket of roses and lillies covered the Chenoweth casket, and the Bering casket was almost hidden by a blanket of purple and white astors, both family tributes. Two duplicate wreaths were hung on the door of the house.

Pallbearers for Mr. Bering were J. Frank Davis, J.B. Prestley, C.P. Cline, H.I. Baldwin, J.M. Allen and J.D. Moore. Pallbearers for Dr. Chenoweth were L.C. Shellabarger, S.W. Johns, J.P. Gorin, C.R. Lyons, C.A. Ewing, S. Campbell.


Women who were in charge of flowers for both caskets were Mrs. J.D. Moore, Mrs. J.J. Hogan, Mrs. Ada Hanles Stoner, Mrs. E.A. West, Mrs. Adolph Mueller, Mrs. L.W. Cook, Miss Lillie Chadsey and Miss Jeanette Rogers.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 22 Aug 1915

"Jack" Is Buried

"Jack" the little fox terrier dog belonging to J.E. Bering, which died its injuries Saturday in a veterinary hospital, was taken out into the country Saturday and buried.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 22 Aug 1915


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