Posts Tagged ‘1913’


Children Find Mans Body in Pool of Water

   Posted by: admin    in Death

The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 28, 1913

Children Find Mans Body in Pool of Water

While playing around the old Crawford mill in Gypsum this afternoon shortly after 2:00 two little boys looked into the shaft which is now filled with about forty feet of water and saw the body of a man, face down, floating on the surface of the water. County Coroner Lowry was summoned from this city and men are now taking the body out. It is thought that he committed suicide. Nothing is known about his age or who he is.

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Duncombe House Was Bombarded by Rockets

   Posted by: admin    in Crime, Fire

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: July 5, 1913

Duncombe House Was Bombarded by Rockets

Fire Truck Makes Two Runs – No Damage

The Duncombe hotel received a regular old-fashioned bombardment last evening about 10:30 oclock (sic) when a party of hilarious celebrators began shooting sky rockets from the Third street viaduct. A veritable shower of rockets began to fall about the hotel and W.E. Duncombe complained to the police; but before the celebration could be stopped a rocket lit on the roof of the hotel and burned a large hole in the south roof of the building.

An alarm was turned into the Central fire station but the fire was extinguished before the truck arrived.

Earlier in the evening some celebrator touched off a rocket and sent it hurling thru two panes of window glass into a room in the hotel. The fire gained a good start but was extinguished by a bucket brigade. The damage was slight.

“Such a manner of celebrating should be stopped,” said Mr. Duncombe this morning. “The shooting of rockets onto dry shingle roofs should be made a punishable offense. It endangers life and property and is absolutely inexcusable.”

False Alarm

Some joy-riders, thinking to cause a little excitement, turned in an alarm from Third avenue south and 6th street about 10:30 Thursday night. The fire truck made the run in fast time, which probably satisfied the celebrators, as no more trouble was encountered during the night.

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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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Child Scalded to Death

   Posted by: admin    in Accident

The Fort Dodge Messenger: July 5, 1913

Three Year Old Scalds Himself; Dies

When Albert Porter, the three year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Porter, living on the West side, took hold of a pan of boiling hot water Thursday at 3:00 p.m., he upset the pan and his little body was drenched with the boiling water. He died yesterday at 4:00 p.m. The funeral will be this afternoon at the residence at 3:00.

Mrs. Porter, mother of the little boy had just poured the water into the pan and was to use it for washing. The boiling water scalded the boy’s body and he suffered terriby (sic) at first but later became unconscious.

A peculiar feature about the accident is that in May of this year, Albert nearly lost his life when he took a dose of (unreadable) poison. Physicians worked for some time over the boy at this time and h is life was saved.
Albert leaves besides his parents, one older brother and a baby brother a few months old.

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: July 5, 1913

Child Scalded; Died Yesterday

Baby Was Almost Two Years Old – Had Mastered Art of Walking Few Days Ago.

Death came to the relief of eleven months old Albert Daniels, son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniels, residing near the Bradshaw Brick yard, yesterday afternoon. The lad had been suffering from burns received Thursday afternoon at four o’clock when he pulled a pan of scalding hot water from the kitchen range while his mother was in another room. In spite of all the aid rendered by physicians the lad could not survived as the burns were too much for his frail body to withstand. The boy suffered for twenty-four hours, being unconscious a large part of the time.

Had the child lived until the fourteenth of August he would have been two years old.

Funeral services were held from the residence this afternoon at three o’clock. Rev. Leitzell was in charge. Interment was made at Oakland cemetery.

This is an interesting contrast in articles. I’m positive that both articles are about the same child, but they give different names. I will have to do more research in order to determine what the correct name is. Also, the Chronicle says that the boy is 11 months old, but would have turned two in another month – that is clearly wrong. The Messenger says that he is 4 years old – again, more research is needed to find the truth.

This does bring up the fact that although newspapers are a great source of information, they aren’t always accurate. Speaking as a current newspaper employee, I know that the reporters try hard to get the facts straight, but in some cases it boils down to what people tell us – or don’t tell us.

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: July 3, 1913

Mother Tried to Kidnap Child She Gave to Another

Band Concert at Public Square Scene of Attempt

Police Intervene Promptly

Child was Being Tugged by Both Women

Mother is Mrs. A. Smith

Mother By Adoption is Mrs. Olaf Nelson – She Had Offered to Let Mother See Her Children But In a Frenzy, Mrs. Smith Ran With One.

“She is my baby,” shrieked Mrs. Alonzo Smith as she seized her little four year old daughter from the arms of her adopted mother, Mrs. Olaf Nelson at Public Square during the band concert last evening. With the child safely in her arms, Mrs. Smith attempted to make her escape through the large crowd in the park last night.

Mrs. Nelson Followed too fast for her, however, and very soon both mother and adopted mother were fighting for the possession of the baby. The conflict might have ended disastrously but for the timely interference of a police officer who settled the dispute by taking the child. The entire party went to the police station where the child was turned over to Mrs. Smith only to be given back a few hours later to Mrs. Nelson when the latter produced the adoption papers.

Kissed Child First

(First sentence unreadable due to condition of microfilm.) Mrs. Nelson was sitting on a bench in the park with her adopted child of a week in her lap. Mrs. Smith, the mother, approached the child and commenced talking to Mrs. Nelson. According to those nearby, Mrs. Smith reached over and kissed her child before she attempted to take it. Mrs. Nelson was with her husband and Mrs. Smith was with a party of four people.

Mrs. Nelson has recently adopted the two daughters of Mrs. Smith. The elder of the two was adopted some time ago while the younger whom Mrs. Smith attempted to take was adopted about a week ago. Mrs. Nelson has legal adoption papers for both of the children.

Could Come and See Child

According to members of the Nelson family this morning, Mrs. Nelson has told Mrs. Smith that she could come and see the children any time that she desired. They claim that there have been rumors of threats made by Mrs. Smith that she would secure possession of the child.

A daughter in law of Mrs. Nelson who was at the band concert that night and saw the whole affair, said this morning that when Mrs. Smith first came to the bench that night that she attempted to take the child in her arms but that Mrs. Nelson told her that if she wanted to hold the child, she would have to sit on the bench.

Commotion at Concert

The trouble over the child caused a great deal of commotion at the band concert last night. The attempted kidnapping happened while the band was playing and for a while it looked as though the concert would be brought to a rather sudden halt. A great throng followed the po9liceman, child and women to the police station.

Mrs. Nelson lives at 622 Twelfth avenue south.

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: July 3, 1913

Argument Centers About Small Child

Mother of Child (Who) Had Been Adopted Wanted to Kiss Baby – Was Refused and Trouble Resulted

Because she was refused permission to kiss her child, which had been legally adoptd by Mrs. O.C. Nelson, according to a member of the police force, Mrs. Emma Smith started to take the child away from her foster mother and trouble resulted. The incident occurred at the city park during the band concert last evening. The girl is only two years of age.

It seems that Mrs. Nelson was sitting in the park listening to the strains of the Iowa Military band, appearing in weekly concert. Mrs. Smith walked up to her and asked for permission to kiss the child. This she was refused and then, it is said, she started for her  home with the baby. Mrs. Smith’s brother-in-law arrived on the scene and tried to take the child away from her. Intervention by the police probably saved trouble and injury to all parties concerned.

Not understanding that the child had been legally adopted by Mrs. Nelson, the officer escorted Mrs. Smith and her daughter to the American house, where she is employed. On learning of his mistake later the officer notified Mrs. Smith and she returned the child to her foster mother.

(Editor’s note: I placed the two articles side by side in order to show the contrast in information. One article states the child is four, the other that she is two. One refers to Mrs. Smith by her husband’s name, the other by her own name. Mrs. Nelson is referred to as adoptive mother in one article and foster mother in the other – even though she clearly has adopted the girl, as evidenced by her bringing adoption papers to the police.)

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Interurban Strikes Second Autmobile

   Posted by: admin    in Harcourt, Interurban

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: July 1, 1913

Interurban Strikes Second Autmobile

Traveling Man is Injured When Interurban Hits Auto at Harcourt – Injuries Not Serious

(Special to the Chronicle)

Harcourt, Iowa, July 1 – As he was crossing the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern road at Harcourt Dan Reese, a traveling man for a Hardware company of Rockwell City was struck yesterday by the afternoon interurban which leaves Fort Dodge at three o’clock. Reese was approaching the crossing when he killed his engine. He was unable to stop the auto in time to avoid being struck.

The car hit the auto about in the center. It was carried for about forty yards, resting on the cow catcher. When the interurban was stopped the auto was one complete wreck. That Reese was uninjured except for a few bruises is considered miraculous. None of his injuries are expected to result seriously.

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The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: June 28, 1913

M’Creight Tells of France Death

Was Riding on the Interurban Car When Accident Happened

Charles France Died Shortly After Accident

Operation at Mercy Hospital Fails to Save Man’s Life – Chest Was Crushed

That Charles M. France met his death thru no fault of the Interurban which struck him Saturday afternoon at the crossing of the Hawkeye highway at south 20th street, is the opinion of Dr. McCreight, who was on the car. “I was on the incoming three o’clock car when the acccident happened,” he stated to a representative of the Chronicle. “It stopped for the block of the Great Western road and had just started up again. It was going slowly and I remember hearing the bell ringing. Whether or not the whistle was blown I do not remember. As we approached the crossing road bed the car slowed down, but did not entirely stop; just then it was jarred and it seemed as if the car had gone off the track. Then came a regular shower of glass from the windshield. The interurban was stopped within its own length. I was in the smoking apartment at the time and it seemed as if the auto had hit the car near the baggage end.

When I first saw France it was from back platform. He was lying but a few feet away with his head towards the car and his body down the embankment. As I was going towards him he gave a few gasping breaths and was still breathing when I reached him. We carried him into the shade and the first passing automobile was requested to take him to the hospital. We did this as it was far quicker than waiting for the ambulance. He was taken immediately to the operating room where examination took place. It was found that he had severe injuries on his chest, just as if he had been crushed by the steering wheel, and a punctured wound over the right eye. Everything was done to revive him and before his death he rallied enough to tell us his name. He did not realize what had happened or where he was. He was put to bed and died within fifteen minutes at 4:15 o’clock. The car was the most complete wreck I ever saw. It was carried not quite the length of the interurban and was squeezed between a telephone pole and the car. It was twisted twice around just as a towel would be wrung. The car was evidently a new one as the speedometer registered just three hundred miles. The crossing is very clear there and how it happened I cannot say. To avoid the car he could have turned down 22nd street.

Old Resident of Iowa

Charles M. France had lived in Iowa for a number of years, having settled on a farm near Webster City some years ago. He was born in Wisconsin in 1858 and since last March has been a resident of Woolstock, having moved there from a farm near Webster City. He is survived by his wife and one child, Mrs. E.A. Turner of Webster City. The funeral services will be held tomorrow from the house at 3 o’clock.

A photo of C.M. France as a young man

Photo of C.M. France as a young man is provided courtesy of Jane Curtis, the great-granddaughter of C.M. France.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 30, 1913

C.M. France Was Motor Accident Victim Saturday

Woolstock Man Succumbed Shortly After Hurt

Body Sent to Woolstock

C.M. France of Woolstock died at Mercy hospital Saturday afternoon a few minutes after he was hit by the 3:00 p.m. interurban car of the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern. France was driving his automobile across in front of the interurban car at the east end of the city limits where the Hawkeye highway crosses the interurban tracks. He was rushed at once to the hospital and every effort was made to save his life but he injuries were of too serious a nature. The body was sent to Woolstock yesterday morning for burial.
The interurban car was just entering the city whent he accident occurred. France according to the motorman on the car, when he saw the approaching interurban speeded up his automobile until he was on the tracks when either the engine of the machine was “killed or he attempted to put on the brakes to back off. The car came to a dead halt on the tracks and was hit full force by the interurban.
France was a man of about fifty years of age. He leaves a wife and son in Woolstock. From the time he was hit by the interurban until he died, he was conscious only long enough to give his name.

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EXTRA! Man Hit by Interurban

   Posted by: admin    in Interurban, Woolstock

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: June 28, 1913

EXTRA! Man Hit by Interurban

Man Hit by Interurban While he Was Crossing Track in Automobile – Taken to Hospital

While crossing the Interurban tracks at Fourth avenue south and 22nd street in an auto this afternoon C.M. France was hit by the three o’clock interurban. He was taken to the hospital and surgeons are operating upon him in order to save his life.
It was stated this afternoon by an eye witness that the man was either trying to beat the car to the crossing, or was unable to stop. At any rate the car went halfway onto the track and was badly damaged.
This afternoon it was stated by physicians that he man’s right chest was caved in, and that it was doubtful if he lived thruout the night. Death is inevitable.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 28, 1913


Interurban Hits Woolstock Man in Automobile

The 3:00 interurban southbound hit an automobile driving by C.M. France of Woolstock at the crossing of the Great Western Railroad. Mr. France was badly hurt and was rushed at once to the hospital. The extent of his injuries are not known but he is believed to be in a critical condition.

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