Tara Man Found Dead on Tracks

   Posted by: admin   in Death, Railroad, Tara

(Editor’s note: This story is one where they didn’t hold back in describing the injuries to the young man who died. Not for the faint of heart.)

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: July 5, 1913

Tara Man Found Dead on Tracks

J.W. Sheker’s Mangled Body Found by Section Hand

Relatives and Others Say Foul Play

Man Had About Fifty Dollars Upon His Person When He Left Fort Dodge – Tramps Around Tara

Was Joseph Sheker, 23 years of age, killed by an Illinois Central train or was he robbed and then placed on the railway tracks to be run over by a train? That is the question which is being asked today by relatives and friends of the man whose remains were found hear the section house at Tara early yesterday morning by a section hand when he went to get some tools. The mangled remains were scattered for a distance of fifteen feet along the track.

When Sheker left his home in Tara for Fort Dodge Thursday afternoon he had a check for $39, $15 in bills and $11 in his socks. When found he had $2.17 in his pockets and $11 in his socks. Just before leaving for Tara, about 8 o’clock he had no opportunity to spend any large part of it. A watch with a broken crystal was also found on Sheker. It had stopped at 11:30, so it is supposed that he was hit by the train at that time.

Friends claim that Sheker had been sitting at the station house at Tara from 10:00 to 11:00 o’clock at the very latest. He was the last of ten to depart for his home which was up the track two miles, where he is engaged as a pumper by the Illinois Central.

Not more than one half hour before the man left this place there were three tramps hanging around. They left a short time before he stated that he was gonig home.

The supposition of relatives and friends is that the tramps laid in wait for Sheker and then robbed him, probably hilling him. Then being frightened they put his body on the track and when the train came thru it disposed of all traces of the crime, were there one. This theory is strengthened by the position in which the remains were lying. It is claimed by man that had the man been walking down the track and had been hit, his body would have been found on one side of the track, and not mangled in the manner in which it was found. They say that the body was cut into pieces, just as if it had been laid across the track. Some say that the man might have been under the influence of liquor, but others testified today that he was sober.

It was stated by Coroner Lowry this morning that in his opinion there was no foul play. The jury composed of William Dermer, Clayton Brown and Guy Ryther returned the following verdict:

“Joseph Sheker came to his death at Tara on the night of July 3d, by being run over by a train.”

It was brought out in the testimony that the man had been drinking, but that he did not appear to be intoxicated when at Tara, shortly before he met death.

It was also stated that the man’s knuckles looked as if they had been fighting, as they were bruised. Others say this could have been secured when he was hit by the train.

Born in County

Joseph Sheker was born in Webster County March 12, 1890. He secured his early eduction in the rural schools. For some time past he has been employed by the Illinois Central railroad as a pumper at the water tank near Tara. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mrazek, his father Frank Sheker, one sister Clara Sheker and several half-brothers, all of this county.

Funeral services will be held from the later residence near Tara tomorrow noon. Interment will be made at the Elkhorn township cemetery.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: July 5, 1913

Pumpman for I.C. at Tara Killed by Train Last Night

Joseph Sheker, 23, Found Early Yesterday

Watch Stopped at 11:30

Three Tramps Tell Engineer G.M. Alger of Death

Inquest Held This Morning

Sheker’s Body was in Awful Condition, Having Been Ground Up By Train – Foul Play is Suspected – Had Been Here July Third.

Joseph Sheker of Tara, pumpman for the Illinois Central Railroad, was run over and killed by an Illinois Central train some time during the night of July 3. He was a young man tweenty three years of age and was single. He has been living with his step father about two miles west of Tara for the past two years.

The exact circumstances of the death of Sheker probably never ill be known. His body, crushed and torn to pieces with his head severed from the rest of his body was discovered yesterday at 5:30 a.m. by an Illinois Central freight crew about one fourth of a mile west of Tara.

Tramps Tell Trainmen

G.M. Alger, a member of the crew on the train was one of the first to reach the body of Sheker. He said this morning that they had just pulled into Tara when three “bums” came running up and breathlessly informed them that there was a man lying all cut up on the track.

With others of the crew, Alger immediately went to the place and there discovered the body of Sheker cut up almost beyond recognition. A paper with the name of Sheker on identified the man. Coroner Lowry of this city was immediately notified and this body of Sheker was brought to this city.

Watch Stopped at 11:30

It is probably that an Illinois Central fruit train which passed through Tara shortly after 11:00 p.m. was the one that ran over Sheker. The watch which he carried was found in  his clothes and had stopped at exactly 11:30. It is also known that Sheker left friends in Tara about 11:00 and at that time was starting for his home.

Spent afternoon here.

Sheker came to Fort Dodge about 2:00 p.m. July 3. He spent the afternoon in the city, cashed a check and left for his home with another young man. The two drove in a buggy.

The two arrived in Tara about 10:00 p.m. They stopped at the Banwell residence and talked for some time. According to those who talked with Sheker then, he had been drinking some although he did not appear to be drunk. George Banwell was probably the lst to talk to Sheker whom he left at 11:00.

Friends of Sheker this morning declared that the circumstances surrounding the death of the young man give a possibility of foul play. Sheker came to this city with over fifteen dollars in money and a check for $29 which he cashed at 7:00 p.m. He left for his home at 8:00. When his body was discovered the sum of $11 in paper was found in his sock and some silver amounting to $2.17 in his pockets.

“Sheker drank a little in Fort Dodge but was perfectly sober when he reached Tara” said one of the young men who talked to him a few minutes before he was killed. “It does not seem reasonable that he would have been in the way of the train and then what became of his money? I believe that he was robbed and maybe killed after which his body was thrown on the track.”

Inquest this morning.

The inquest over the body of Sheker was held before Coroner Lowry in the court house this morning. The verdict was that Joseph Sheker met his dath some time during the night of July third, being run over by an Illinois Central train. The jury was composed of William Dermer, Clayton Brown and Guy Ryther.

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