Archive for the ‘Accident’ Category


Teamster Has an Experience

   Posted by: admin Tags: ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 4, 1904

Teamster Has an Experience

Elmer White and Wagon Go Over an Embankment

Wagon Turns Over Completely Burying the Driver Beneath a Load of Rubbish

The next time Elmer White attempts to dump a wagon load of rubbish into the “clear” depths of the Des Moines river he will endeavor to dump only the contents of the wagon and not the wagon, team and himself as he did Tuesday. White, who is a teamster and makes his living by hauling rubbish and generally assisting the board of public improvements, while in the act of backing his wagon to the bank of the rive Tuesday miscalculated the distance between the rear wheels and the edge of the embankment and as a result the wagon performed the difficult feat of turning a back somersault, burying the driver beneath its contents, while the horses, freed from the vehicle by the breaking of the tongue and reach, waltzed down the embankment at a somewhat slower pace to join the driver and wagon forty feet below.

Fortunately for White his plight was witnessed by several men working nearby, who volunteered their services to dig him out. An unusual feature of the accident was that the driver escaped without the slightest injury and the same good fortune attended the horses.

The mishap was the result of the rear wheels going over the edge of the embankment, allowing the full weight of the load to slide to the rear of the wagon. The vehicle started down the embankment and turned completely over, carrying its occupant with it.



   Posted by: admin Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 1, 1905


John Swanson, one of the hands who are employed on the bridge gang, was quite badly hurt by a falling plank one day last week. The plank struck him in the face and resulted in breaking his nose and bruising his face in general.

Little Pearl Chase, of Trenton, North Dakota, arrived in Gowrie Monday  morning. Pearl is going to make her home with her aunt, Mrs. F.N. Brunson and attend school here as there is no school convenient where  her parents live.

Miss Ruby Osborn is sick at present with tonsilitis.

Mrs. Clark left here for Minneapolis Monday evening where she expects to visit with friends for a few days.

Little Gladys and Helen Spangler have been on the sick list lately.

Mr. and Mrs. Chase of Fort Dodge visited with their daughter, Mrs. T.N. Brunson, the fore part of the week.

Wedding bells are ringing. Have you heard their chimes?

Miss Lucy Chock who has been attending school in Clare, is visiting with her parents at present.

Walter Evans of Worthington, Minn. who has been visiting for a few days with his mother, Mrs. O.E. Evans, returned home Monday, accompanied by his two children who have been visiting with their grandmother for sometime.

Mr. and Mrs. Guy Johnson of Callender were visiting friends in Gowrie Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. L. Burgoon of Paton were transacting business in Gowrie last Saturday.

The E.L. social held at the home of Mrs. and Mrs. Wertz was quite well attended in spite of the inclemency of the weather and about $9 was raised (about $216 today).

Mrs. Hibbard of Lorhville is visiting friends and relatives in town this week.

Oscar Lungren who is attending the Ames Agricultural college is home for the Easter vacation.


Man With Shotgun Accidentally Kills His Own Wife

   Posted by: admin Tags: ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: April 2, 1914

Man With Shotgun Accidentally Kills His Own Wife

Badger, April 2 – Special: The accidental discharge of a shotgun carried by Max Lehman was responsible for the death of his wife at their home in Beaver Township. The shot entered her throat and her right wrist was injured. Physicians were summoned but before they arrived, Mrs. Lehman died from loss of blood. Mr. Lehman is prostrated over the accident and the death of his wife. He was not blamed for the shooting, as it was purely accidental.

Mr. Lehman left the house late in the afternoon to drive the cows to the barn. He took with him a shotgun to get stray game. Returning to his home without having found anything to shoot, he saw a pair of doves flying near the house. Mr. Lehman took a shot at them and brought down the feathered creatures. He picked them up and started for the house to show his prized to Mrs. Lehman, who was sitting in an open window.

As he approached the window, Mr. Lehman dropped the gun and the butt struck the ground. The jar caused the hammer to strike home and the cartridge was exploded. As the gun exploded, it was directly in a line with Mrs. Lehman’s face and she received the full discharge.


Youth Sportsman Has an Accident

   Posted by: admin Tags: ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 13, 1905

Youth Sportsman Has an Accident

A Short Tragedy With a Happy Ending is Enacted on The Stage of Boydom

Confidence David and Jonathan

Jimmy Pouler and a Friend Start Duck Hunting With a Target Rifle And Experiencing an Absence of Ducks, Jimmy Holds a Bottle.

Two Fort Dodge sportsmen of tender years betook themselves in search of game Saturday afternoon, and managed to round up a big scare and a slight accident.

The hero of the occasion is called “Jimmy,” and is a son of Jacob Pooler of this city. In company with another boy they departed with a target rifle between them, and with their heads crammed with visions of ducks.

After several hours weary tramp, their visions faded and realities grew space and yearning for excitement like true Americans, one of the boys began discussing his ability as a marksman and finally offered to prove his assertions in any way named. Evidently “Jimmy” had fully as much faith in his friend’s ability as he himself claimed, because he stood up with a bottle clasped tightly in his out-stretched hand and awaited the shot which was to decide the question.

It came. It also hit the bottle well in the middle and scattered it in a thousand pieces one of which hit and imbedded itself in the forehead of the hero, who was felled to the ground in an instant, and over whom the trembling marksman bent, thinking he was a murder (sic).

Perhaps it was his tears which brought the lifeless form back to this world for Jimmy opened his eyes to look into the most relieved and thankful face he had ever seen, and he was tenderly supported to his home where a doctor soon appeared and remedied all ills.


Merton Hook Dead

   Posted by: admin Tags: ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 12, 1907

Merton Hook Dead

Victim of the Dynamite Explosion Dies at the City Hospital This Morning.

Merton Hook, the son of Albert H. Hook of Cedar Rapids, who was severely injuried (sic) last Friday by the explosion of three sticks of dynamite on the Newton & Northwestern right-of-way southeast of the city, succumbed to death this morning at 3:30 o’clock at the hospital. Since the accident he has remained in a state of semi-unconsciousness, a piece of steel the size of a silver dollar having been removed from the base of his brain, hurled there by the terrific explosion.

No funeral arrangements have been made as yet, but there is little doubt but that the body will be taken to Cedar Rapids for the funeral and interment.


Put Dynamite in Oven of Cook Stove

   Posted by: admin Tags: , , , ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 8, 1907

Put Dynamite in Oven of Cook Stove

It Exploded and Three Men are Injured – One Will Probably Die.

Occurred at a Grading Camp

Camp Was Located Four Miles South of City – The Injured Men, Albert L. Hook, Merton Hook and Floyd Wicher Are in City Hospital.

(Editor’s note: There is somewhat graphic description of one person’s injury in the section with the subheading Injured by Flying Pieces.)

As the result of putting three sticks of forty per cent dynamite into the oven of a cook stove to thaw out, this morning, and then forgetting them, two men and a boy, all three employed on the Newton & Northwestern right of way southeast of the city, lie badly injured at the city hospital.  They are Albert L. Hook and son Merton and son-in-law, Floyd Wicher.

The accident occurred this morning about 8:00 o’clock. The cook had been up some time and had breakfast prepared when a member of the party placed the three sticks of dynamite in the oven to thaw out. Shortly after, when seated about the breakfast table, the dynamite exploded, all knowledge of hit having passed from the minds of the occupants of the tent.

Great Destruction.

As the explosion occurred the stove was blown to atoms. Small pieces flew in all directions. The tent had practically vanished for nothing but a few small pieces of it remain near the spot where it once stood. The table, dishes, beds and other furniture of the abode were demolished by the concussion, fire starting in several places from small pieces of bedding scattered about.

Injured by Flying Pieces.

There were seven people in the tent when the explosion occurred. The cook had been standing over the stove, but, just prior to it, had walked out of doors on some errand. As the concussion came a small piece of the iron of the stove struck Merton Hook on the back of the head, laying it open until some of the brains oozed out. Other pieces struck his father, causing several fractures about the lower limbs and Wicher, whose right leg was broken in two places, one below and one above the ankle.

For a time the other members of the party were thrown into a stupor from the noise and shock. As they regained control of their minds, they began to care for the injured. A farmer, attracted by the explosion, which was heard several miles away, telephoned to Kalo, summoning Dr. C.J. Musser.

Doctors on Scene.

Dr. Musser arrived on the spot about half an hour after the accident, and later Dr. Bowen, of this city, who also had been called for. Together they performed an operation upon the head of the boy, removing a piece of metal larger than a silver dollar from the gash it had torn in the skull of the youth.

Following this the remaining victims were attended, and everything to make and keep them easy and as free from suffering as possible, was done.

Brought Here in Ambulance.

An ambulance was then sent for, and it left the city shortly before noone (sic), returning from the scene of the accident, with the victims, at about 2:30 o’clock.

Further operations were performed on the arrival at the city hospital, and up to a late hour this afternoon the young boy was still alive though in a very precarious condition.

The party was at work changing the channel of a small creek from the right of way of the Newton & Northwestern. Considerable dynamite was used int he work, and keeping it as they had to in a tent, it became damp and froze during the night.

A.L. Hook, who of the three is the least injured, hails from Cedar Rapids and was sub-contracting under Murray Brothers of Cedar Rapids who have the contract for the right of way. In the party there were the two sons a son-in-law and a daughter.


Roy Burkholder Accidentally Shot

   Posted by: admin Tags: ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 23, 1906

Roy Burkholder Accidentally Shot

Discharge of Shot Gun Gives Him a Painful Wound in The Leg

Roy Burkholder, a young lad about fourteen of (sic) fifteen years of age, who resides at 418 1st. Avenue south was the victim of a very painful through not dangerous accident yesterday afternoon.

Young Burkholder in company with another lad started out hunting yesterday afternoon. About four o’clock they stopped at the Central tracks near the Lizzard (sic) creek. A shot gun which they carried was deposited on one of the rails, while the boys sat down on the tracks. The gun became dislodged and fell in such a manner as to discharge the load, which entered the calf of the leg of Burkholder. He was taken to his home where a physician was called. The shot has been extracted and the lad will suffer no serious results from the wound.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 16, 1904

Child Shot After Inviting Death

Four-year-old Marshall Hollis Shoots and Kills His brother Leo.

Says “Shoot Me Marshall”

Boy Pulls Trigger Killing His Brother Instantly – Tragedy Occurs in Bed.

“Leo said ‘shoot me Marshall.’ I didn’t do it the first time, but he toldi me to shoot him again and I wasn’t afraid that time. I put the pistol against his face and pulled the trigger and he felled over and blood came out of his mouth,” was the testimony of four-year-old Marshall Hollis as he sat on  Coroner McCreight’s knee this morning and told the coroner’s jury how he had killed his two year old brother, Leo.

The children are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Hollis, living at 426 Third avenue south, and it was while playing in their mother’s bed at 8:30 this morning that Marshall, the older, found a 38 caliber revolver between the mattresses and on invitation of his younger brother, pressed the weapon against the child’s face and pulled the trigger, killing him instantly. The bullet entered the head at the junction of the nose and upper lip and tore its way until it lodged against the skull at the base of the brain.

Mother Finds Baby Dead.

The mother, hearing the shot, rushed to the room and found her baby dead lying in the bed in a pool of blood. The face was covered with blood from the wound and blackened by the powder. Marshall, the four-year-old child who had ended his brother’s life was in the same bed suffering from a badly burned hand, caused by the discharge of the weapon, which he had held with his left hand supporting the barrel near the muzzle. Aside from surprise that his brother should lay so quiet and still, the child evinced no sings of having realized what he had done.

H.E. Hollis, the father, had been employed by the Illinois Central in the capacity of brakeman, but on account of light business had been laid off. Monday night he went to Woodbine, where he expected to secure employment with the Northwestern, and Mrs. Hollis being nervous in the absence of her husband had placed the revolver between the mattresses of her bed. This morning she arose and went down stairs to build a fire in the kitchen stove and Marshall had gone from his own bed into the bed in which the younger boy and his mother had been sleeping. After lighting the fire Mrs. Hollis was called out of doors to show the driver of a coal wagon where to unload the coal. As she was returning to the house she heard the report of a revolver and rushing up stairs found the baby dead. She summoned H.H Porter, the teamster who was unloading the coal, who after going up stairs hurried away from medical assistance. The mother meanwhile carried the child downstairs, but death had been instantaneous and the attention of a physician wa of no avail.

Inquest This Morning.

Coroner McCreight held an inquest over the remains at 10:30 this morning and the jury, composed of J.J. Conway, being shot with a revolver in the hands (sic), J.C. Walburger, and C.H. Smith, returned a verdict which in part read:

“That the said Leo M. Hollis came to his death at about 8:30 a.m., February 16, 1904, at No. 426 Third avenue south, First ward, Fort Dodge Iowa, by act of his four-year old brother, Marshall W. Hollis.”

Child Tells the Story.

The boy, in whose hand was the revolver when discharged, not realizing that he had figured in a tragedy two hours before, readily answered all questions and placidly told what had occurred. He said he had “feeled” the revolver between the mattresses and taking it in his hands had pointed it at his brother. The latter said: “shoot me, Marshall.” This the older child declined to do until bidden the second time, when he calmly pressed the muzzle of the revolver just over his brother’s mouth and pulled the trigger. In reply to a question he held up the first finger of his right hand when asked with which finger he had pulled the trigger. He had held the barrel of the revolver with his left hand and in the discharge that hand was badly burned. Although not fully aware of what he had done, the child realized that he had done something wrong, for after shooting his brother, he had shoved the revolver under a pillow.

(Editor’s note: Sometimes complete lines were printed out of place. There are a few words in the list of jury members that are confusing, but I think should fit in this paragraph in this manner: “That the said Leo M. Hollis came to his death at about 8:30 a.m., February 16, 1904, at No. 426 Third avenue south, First ward, Fort Dodge Iowa, by being shot with a revolver in the hands of his four-year old brother, Marshall W. Hollis.” This is not perfect, as the word “act” doesn’t fit, but is one possible explanation.)


Children Rescue Little Playmate

   Posted by: admin Tags: , ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 25, 1904

Children Rescue Little Playmate

Boy Plunges Into an Air Hold And is Helped Out by Companions.

Brave Act of a Little Girl

Who Helps Form Human Chain – Boy Slides Over Ice and Into The Hole.

What might have been a serious accident, was averted Saturday by the presence of mind exercised by little Beuhla Newsom, who in company with several other children were sliding from the bank of the river out onto the ice. One of the party was a little boy whose name is Scherff and who had discovered a large air hole in the ice and was playing near it. He would slide nearly to it on his sled and then drop off and let the sled and then drop off and let the sled go into the hole and float across to the other side, when he would go around and fish it out.

This worked successfully a few times but on one occasion he forgot to get off in time to prevent being carried into the  hole. The current is swift at this place and threatened to carry the child under the ice, but his little companions came to his rescue and hauled him out of the icy water, nearly exhausted and thoroughly soaked with the cold water.

Little Beula Newsom, who is only thirteen yars (sic) old, lay on the ice next to the hole while her companions held her by the feet to prevent her slipping into the water. She grasped the boy by the hands and after some effort, landed him safely on the ice. Half frozen, with the water dripping from his clothing and turning to ice, the badly frightened youngster was hurried home and now promise to suffer but little from his narrow escape.

The incident was one of the few that have occurred on the river this winter. The children showed presence of mind, creditable to older heads, wh ile the action of little Beula Newsom was in itself heroic.

(Editor’s note: I posted the spelling of Beula Newsom’s name as it was in each case. I’m still not sure of the correct spelling, but if a family member has any proof, I will add it to this note.)


Gasoline Brings Awful Disaster

   Posted by: admin Tags: , , , ,

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 24, 1906

Gasoline Brings Awful Disaster

Bartender is Almost Burned to Death

Rushes from the Colby Building a Human Torch of Flame.

5 Gallons Exploded

Acetylene Lighting Plant Exploded With the Rest

Saloon is Wrecked

Francis Cannot Survive … Lou Chapman Also Burned

Fred Francis is burned in such a manner that it is not thought possible for him to live through the day. Lou Chapman was seriously burned and the fixtures of the Colby saloon were wrecked by a gasoline explosion which occurred in the place about 6:30 this morning.

The Explosion.

Francis, as the time of this writing, is confined in the hospital unable to speak of the manner of the disastrous accident, but the most authentic accounts which can be obtained are to the effect that on opening the saloon bur business this morning, Francis, the bartender, started to light the fire with gasoline. Chapman was standing with his back to Francis, who was pouring gasoline from a five gallon can into the stove. The first that he knew of the explosion was when he was nearly knocked off his feet by a shock which struck him in the back. He rushed out of the rear door with his clothes partly on fire where he was caught by a couple of hackmen and the fire extinguished.

Francis a Living Torch.

Jake Schmoll, from the window of his saloon across the street from Colby’s was an eye witness to the burning of Francis. He says that he happened to be looking out the window and saw a blinding sheet of flame leap out of the front of the Colby building. An instant late (sic) Francis ran shrieking out of the doorway, a living torch. With flames darting about his body and enveloping him form head to foot he turned form the door of the saloon and started into the livery barn. He was about to rush down into the basement where the horses are kept when oneof (sic) the men called frantically to him to stop. He turned then, apparently wild with fright and ran out door (sic) again. He tripped just outside the door and fell on the sidewalk.

Two men with blankets were on him in an instant trying to smother the flames. The first blanket that they attempted to wrap him in burned in their very hands. With the second they succeeded in stifling the flames and Francis, naked except for his shoes, his body blackened with smoke and a mass of burns from head to foot was carried to the hospital.

Firemen Do Quick Work.

The efforts of the firemen who were on the scene in record time probably saved the entire Colby block from destruction. After the gasoline can in the hands of Francis exploded, the interior of the saloon was soon a mass of flames. Just as the fire wagon turned Sackett and Haire’s corner the acetylene lighting plant blew up. They state that they distinctly saw a sheet of flame shoot out of the entire front of the building a distance of fifteen or twenty feet, blowing out the plate glass windows and the glass in the door. They expected to have hard work in saving the livery barn, but after an hour of fire fighting extinguished the last spark, the flames and smoke having ruined nothing but the fixtures and the interior of the saloon. The damage in this quarter will be about five hundred dollars ($11,975 today). It is covered by insurance.

Death of Francis Hourly Expected.

Francis is in a most pitiable condition at the hospital. His body is a mass of burns and he is suffering great pain. The doctors state that he cannot recover and that his death may be expected at any moment. Chapman’s burns are confined to his back and hands. Physicians state that he will be able to be about in a few days.

An examination of the Colby saloon gives a good idea of the force of the explosion. Pieces of plate glass are found scattered out in the stret (sic) a disetance (sic) of ten or fifteen feet where they were thrown when the windows were blown out and the entire front of the building seems to have been shaken.

A give gallon gasoline can was found inside, a twisted broken mass of metal, and the can used to contain the gasoline used in the lighting plant was found to be in a similar condition. It is supposed that the lighting plant caught fire and blew up when the interior became enveloped in flames, from the first explosion.

Francis is a man about forty-five years of age. He has lived in Fort Dodge for a number of years. He has several children living in this city, all of whome are well known. Chapman lives at 505 Central Avenue. He has been imployed as a hack driver by Colby Brothers for about a year.

Accident Teaches Lesson.

Though it seems unnessary (sic) to say anything on the dangers attendant to t he use of gasoline, particularly if it is used carelessly, yet the accident above described seems to warrant a few words on the subject. Gasoline at best if a dangerous compound. Unless the utmost care along many lines is used, one knows not the hour or the instant that death and deconstruction may break forth through its agenty.

Acetylene lighting systems seem also to be dangerous things to handle, and in the case this morning the greatest damage resulted was through the explosion of the lighting plant.

Superintendent Clark of the Light and Power company examined the tank in which the gasoline and compressed air for such a plant is kept, immediately after the accident this morning. He states that he measured the thickness of the iron and found it to be 1-33 of an inch, and of poor quality English iron. Experiment tables show that iron of this kind in such thickness is made to stand a pressure on the head of the tank of 1,250 pounds, whereas, to get a strong light, a pressure of 15,000 is needed. This makes a pressure of seven tons against a surface which is meant to withstand only about one half of a ton.

He states that in cities where an engineer is employed to inspect lights, factories and machinery, such appliances are not allowed within the city limits, and further that the same pressure is placed staging that thin sheet 1-32 of an inch in thickness that is withstood in the tanks of the Light and Power Co., which are a full inch thick, made of the best quality of cold drawn steel and stamped by a government inspector.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 26, 1906

Fred Francis Dies From Burns

Man Injured in Colby Saloon Explosion Succumbs to His Injuries.

Death Came at 4.30 Yesterday

No Chance for Recovery From the State – Funeral Occurs Tomorrow – Deceased Leaves Four Children – Three Live Here

Fred Francis, the bartender at Colby Bros. saloon, who was the victim of one of the most appalling accidents of recent years in Fort Dodge yesterday morning, when the explosion of a five gallon can of gasoline enveloped him in a fiery furnace from head to foot, died at the  hospital about 4:30 yesterday afternoon, after nearly ten hours of suffering.

Burned From Head to Foot.

Francis was in a most pitiable condition when taken from the scene of the tragedy. It is almost impossible to gain a correct idea of the extent of his injuries. His body was burned from head to foot. His hair and beard were singed from his head, and when the flames were finally stifled the only part of his clothing that remained upon his body consisted of his shoes. A grewsome (sic) object which shows only too well the awful nature of his burns was found near the Colby barn about eight o’clock. It was nothing less than the skin and flesh of the inside of his left hand, containing intact several of his finger nals and of nearly a half inch in thickness.

Recovery impossible.

The doctors i (sic) attendance stated from the first that there was absolutely no hope for his recovery and that at the best it would not be possible for him to live more than a few days. Francis was conscious from the first, but immediately on his removal to the hospital was kept under the influence of anaesthetics (sic). All day long the nurses and physicians administered to him, seeking to allay his agony and striving to keep alive the spark of life.

Francis did not at any time realize how badly he was injured and those in attendance hesitate to tell him that he was doomed to death. He kept saying, “I’ll be all right in a few days,” and during his talking told in full how the accident happened. He stated that he was lighting the fire by throwing gasoline from a cup into the stove in which some fire was still burning and the can was on the floor. While occupied in this manner a sheet of flame burst from the stove door and set his clothing on fire. It was then that he ran from the room and it is supposed that immediately after the flame reached the can of gasoline and the big explosion took place. He said he had lighted the fire in that manner hundreds of time and ended by saying, “I guess it was once too often.”

Francis has been a resident of Fort Dodge for about ten years or more. He has been employed by Colby Bros. for about four or five years, working part of the time in this city and the remainder in the saloon of  the firm at Vincent. He leaves four children, his wife having preceded him in death about three years. Of his children, Miss Florence and two young boys who are in school reside in this city at the family home which is located on North Seventh street, in the rear of Corpus Christi church. James, a young man about twenty-five years of age, joined the navy about two years ago. It is stated that the wife of hte deceased was a cousin of “Buffalo Bill” and that she received a visit from that person on his tour through this section a number of years ago.

The Funeral.

The funeral of Mr. Francis will be hed (sic) tomorrow morning, at nine o’clock in Colfax township, where friends of the family reside. His father, who lives in the eastern part of the state has been notified, and wil (sic) arrive in the city tonight. Other relatives will also be here to assist at the burial.