Henry County Illinois
History and Genealogy 

Fires, Accidents, Train Wreck
News Stories


 Francis Fox Killed in Train Accident

The Geneseo Republic and Henry County News, July 29, 1856
A sad accident occurred early last Sunday morning on the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad at Rock River bridge, a few miles from Moline. A man named Francis FOX employed by the company as watchman at the bridge, was run over by the freight train and killed. He was seated or reclining upon the track when the train approached. The usual signals were given, but he did not heed them and it was impossible to stop the train in time to save him. He had heard the approaching train and left the house where he resided on purpose to meet it a few moments before it arrived. What fatality possessed him to remain upon the track it is impossible to conjecture.
Moline Workman

David Walters Killed by Well Cave-In
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., November 26, 1859
Sad Accident
We learn that Mr. David WALTERS of Atkinson, while engaged in digging a well on his farm, was killed by the sand caving in upon him, burying him seven feet deep. He was taken out five hour after, dead. - Henry Co. Chronicle.

Mr. Draper Accidently Shot
The Geneseo Republic, Geneseo IL, January 11, 1860
Serious Accident
Mr. DRAPER, one of our citizens was shot by accident last Saturday and it was a wonder that he was not killed. It seems that Mr. D., with others, was about to return home, from a hunting trip, a few miles south of Geneseo, and had placed his gun in the wagon, with three or four others. By some means or other, when he got aboard, one of the guns, the muzzle of which was but a few inches from his person, went off, the entire charge of shot, wadding, and all, passing through the flesh part of his lage, some three or four inches above the knee, producing a very ragged and ugly wound. Dr. I. Wells, of the firm of Pomeroy and Wells, who was immediately called, and dressed the wound, informs us that Mr. DRAPER is doing well, though he has an ugly customer to deal with for some time to come in the shape of a seriously wounded leg. Too much care cannot be used in handling fire-arms.

Amos Kinnet Accidently Shot
The Geneseo Republic, Geneseo IL, February 1, 1860
Serious Accident
On Saturday last, a son of Mr. Amos KINNET, of this place, had his eye seriously injured by the accidental discharge of a pistol, which he held in his hand. It seems that the pistol had a small quantity of powder in it, and a moment before the discharge, a companion of the Kinnet boy, dropped a small piece of lead into the barrel, which lodged in the ball of the eye. He was immediately taken to the office of Pomroy & Wells, where, after considerable trouble, the lead was removed by those physicians. Dr. Pomroy informs us that the changes of losing the eye fare very strong. This case helps to swell the catalogue of accidents from the careless use of fire-arms, and should serve as a warning to others.

Mr. Dobbs Critically Injured
The Geneseo Republic, Geneseo IL, May 23, 1860
Frightful Accident
On the 15th inst., Mr. DOBBS of this place, in the employ of Mr. Thomas, grain dealer, running his steam works, in attempting to adjust a rope, attached to a horizontal shaft, while the same was in rapid motion, was caught in the rope by the left arm and literally wound around the iron shaft. It first rolled up the forearm, breaking two bones, the outer one, piercing through the soft parts, then the arm bone was wound up, breaking it about the middle; next, winding upon the chest, breaking three ribs and at the same time, carrying the lower limbs loose and whipping them against a joice above, breaking both bones of one leg near and at the ankle, besides dislocating the joint. Eight bones in all, were fractured, besides severe contusions of the soft parts. Though apparently more dead than alive, the fractured bones were immediately put in position by Drs. Pomroy & Wells, and placing the unfortunate man in at least a hopeful condition. These gentlemen inform us that though in a very critical condition, they have strong hopes of the ultimate recovery of Mr. DOBBS.

Lathorn Killed by Lightning
Rock Island Argus, Wednesday, 4 July 1860
LATHORN, Mr. and Mrs., living on the west side of Geneseo, Henry County, were killed by lightning on Sunday. Their 5 children and Mrs. LATHORN's mother, who were all in the house, were injured but survived. [Transcribed by Nancy Overlander Proofed by Mary Kay Krogman]

O'Brian Daughter Injured
The Rock Island Weekly Union, Wednesday 24 Dec. 1862
A daughter of Mr. O'BRIAN of Minersville, Henry County, was seriously injured last Tuesday and is not expected to live. [Transcribed by Nancy Overlander Proofed by Mary Kay Krogman]

Edwardsville Intelligencer, March 31, 1870
The boiler of Andrew & White's steam flour mill, at Anawan, Illinois, exploded Saturday morning, instantly killing Fred. NEASE, engineer, and dangerously injuring Geo. J. BARNES.
NEASE was in the act of starting the engine, and had hold of a large fly-wheel when the explosion occurred. When discovered the wheel was lying on him. It had crushed him frightfully. The loss is about $3,000, with no insurance. [KT - Sub by FoFG]

George Bliss and Cattle Fall Through Bridge
The Henry County News, Geneseo IL January 8, 1880
Narrow Escape
Geo. BLISS of Spring Creek, while endeavoring to drive some cattle over the Bluff Road Bridge at the creek last Sunday came very near being drowned. He was saved only through the exertions of James JACKSON, who happened along. The high water loosened the planks on the bridge. Three of the cattle fell through and were drowned.

Nelson Jepson Killed in Accident
Nelson J. JEPSON, who left his wife and three children about six weeks ago, was killed at Rockford by the cars last Saturday night. Policeman SWAIN of Kewanee went to Rockford this morning to bring the remains home. JEPSON resides on Joseph GIBBS farm about three miles south of Lafayette. When he went away he took his team to Kewanee and left it there, but his wife did not know that he meant to remain away. He had with him about $73. The remains will be brought here to-morrow and buried in the Galva cemetery. [Source: Scrapbook compiled by Peggy Goertzen from the 1890's - transcribed for G.T. by Jackie McCarty]

Charles Butters, Rollin Emery, of Galva, and Maggie Keesler, Bertha Harding of Kewanee Instantly Killed
Galva and Kewanee Young People Meet Death in Kewanee.

Charles BUTTERS, Rollin EMERY, of Galva, and Maggie KEESLER, Bertha HARDING of Kewanee Instantly Killed Last Night.

The worst railroad crossing accident that has ever occurred in Galva or vicinity, took place in Kewanee shortly after midnight last night, in which four young people in the bloom and vigor of early youth were instantly killed, and two horses and a carriage dashed to pieces.

Miss Maggie KEESLER and Miss Bertha HARDING, both of Kewanee, had been visiting in Cambridge and after spending a short time in Galva on Wednesday, started for Kewanee, accompanied by Charles A. BUTTERS and Rollin EMERY, son of John G EMERY of this place. They had a team and carriage from Nott's livery barn and left Galva in the best of spirits in the evening, the girls intending to surprise their parents who were not expecting them.

According to the account given in the Thursday 12 o'clock Extra of the Evening Press, the young people reached Kewanee about 12 o'clock and were crossing the tracks on Main St. on their way to the Harding home when they were struck by the Fast Mail, running 80 miles an hour and all were instantly killed, except Miss KEESLER who lingered in an unconscious condition for 15 minutes. All were more or less mangled, one of the young men being caught on the pilot of the engine, was dragged some distance. No one but the engineer and fireman witnessed the accident. The train was stopped and the crew went back to the crossing, the train remaining in Kewanee for forty minutes. The remains were taken to the Coroner's undertaking rooms, and as we go to press the inquest is in progress.

The deepest sympathy of the entire community goes out to the stricken parents and friends of the young people so suddenly taken away. [Source: Scrapbook compiled by Peggy Goertzen from the 1890's - transcribed for G.T. by Jackie McCarty]

Katie Kneale Shot Dies From Accidental Gunshot
Miss Katie KNEALE Formerly of Galva Receives Fatal Wound from Revolver in Hands of a Boy.

Miss. Katie KNEALE, who resided here until about two years ago, was accidentally shot last Saturday evening while visiting at a friend's in Galesburg.

News of the sad affair did not reach here until Monday evening when Edwin Kewley received a telegram that was intended for Thomas Kewley of Cullom, Ill., an uncle of the unfortunate girl. E. L. Kewley went to Galesburg yesterday afternoon and attended the inquest. He returned this morning and said he was satisfied the shooting was purely accidental. The bullet struck her in the right breast and lodged in the back. She was taken to the Galesburg hospital where she died Monday morning. The remains will be brought here tomorrow and the funeral service will be held in the M. E. church.

The following account of the deplorable affair appeared in yesterday's Glaesburg Daily Mail.

"Smiling at the little fellow who pranced before her with a revolver in his hand, entirely unmindful and unaware that she was looking into the muzzle of what was to be the instrument of her death. Miss Kate KNEALE was shot in the right breast Saturday evening by bullet from a 44 calibre revolver held in the hands of little Harry SHERWOOD, and this morning at 6:30 o'clock died at the Galesburg hospital as a result of the wound. The fatal shooting occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Sherwood at 495 West Brooks street. Miss Kneale in company with Miss Nellie NYDE, had gone to the Sherwood home to spend the evening, and at the time of the shooting the two young ladies , together with Mrs. SHERWOOD, Bradley SHERWOOD, Miss Ella SHADEN and Mrs. Edward HOWE of Bradford, Ill., were seated in the parlor engaged in conversation.

It was about 6:45 o'clock when Harry SHERWOOD, who is but 11 years of age, burst into the room holding in his right hand the revolver, and commanding all of the people in the room to throw up their hands. A smile played on the lad's lip, and the picture he presented as he stood in the center of the room and brandished the big gun caused the entire company to burst in to laughter.

Suddenly, as the lad swung the revolver, there was a flash, a stunning report, a puff of smoke and Miss KNEALE fell from her seat forward. The report of the shot had been as that caused by a blank shell, and every one of the company thought that Miss KNEALE had fallen forward as if simulating that she had been hit. Bradley Sherwood even remarked, "Come here Kate, and I will pick you up."

But even as he spoke he rose to go to her assistance the belief having entered upon the persons in the room then that Miss KNEALE had fainted. As her dress was being unfastened blood was seen on the front of her waist, and the truth was revealed. The blood was flowing from a tagged bullet wound in her right breast.

Medical aid was at once summoned and Drs. Morris and Luster responded. The shock of the accident rendered Miss KNEALE unconscious for about then minutes, but when she again became conscious she realized that she had been hit hard and said that she had no home to which to go. She was at once removed to the Galesburg hospital where she clung, tenaciously to life, but gave up the uneven struggle this morning.

Mrs. SHERWOOD in talking with a Mail reporter stated the facts as given above and then said:

"Harry got the gun out of the bureau in Mr. SHERWOO's room. where it was always kept. It belonged to our son, Roland, who was killed some weeks ago while at work on the Burlington, and we kept as a keepsake. It had always remained unloaded until three or four days ago, when Bradley loaded it with the intention of killing a cat.

"When he put it back in the bureau he left three loads in the chamber, but when Harry secured it, unknown to any of us, he did not know it was loaded. The thought of the gun being loaded did not enter the head of any one in the room. Even when the explosion came , we thought the cartridge was a blank one until the truth was revealed. We cannot speak in words the feelings of our family, as Miss KNEALE was a frequent caller in our home."

The young lady who came to such an untimely death, has made her home in Galesburg for a number of years. She had been engaged in the past as a domestic at the home of Mrs. Fred DEAN, Mrs. D.W. FLYNN and at the time of her death at the home of Mrs. Hannah REPINE, 149 East Brooks St., having taken the position in the latter family about a month ago. She was about 25 years of age and was spoken of in the highest terms by her employers.

She came here from Galva, which was her home before coming to Galesburg, but little beyond that is known of her. Efforts are being made today to locate relatives. Her father and mother are both dead and there are no brothers and sisters. It is supposed that an uncle lives at Galva and also an uncle in Missouri , and Mr. SHERWOOD is at Galva today in an effort to find kin of hers.

During some time past she had had as a companion Miss Nellie NYDE, who is employed at the home of J. L. BURKHALTER, and a pathetic chapter in the unfortunate affair is that Miss KNEALE was to serve as bridesmaid at Miss Nyde's wedding tomorrow evening.

The remains were taken from the hospital this morning to the undertaking rooms of Kimber & West, where an autopsy is being held this afternoon and where the coroner's inquest will be held at 3 o'clock. the revolver, which is a 44 calibre British bulldog, will be presented in the evidence." [Source: Scrapbook compiled by Peggy Goertzen from the 1890's - transcribed for G.T. by Jackie McCarty]

Vallie Swanson Accidently Shot
While Earl ROOT is Handling a Rifle it is Discharged and Bullet Strikes Vallie SWANSON

Vallie SWANSON was accidentally shot last Friday afternoon about half past two o'clock while playing with Earl ROOT and Leland NDERSON at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John ROOT in the northwest part of town. Earl and Vallie had been hunting during the forenoon and Vallie had taken dinner with Earl. Shortly after dinner Leland ANDERSON, son of Nels F. ANDERSON, came and the three boys went out into the barn yard. Earl had his rifle under his arm and while putting on his gloves, the hammer accidentally hit against a work bench he was near and the gun was discharged, the bullet striking Vallie about two inches below and a little to the right of the lower part of the breast-bone. The boys were about eighteen feet apart, Vallie standing to the northwest of Earl. Vallie sank to the ground and Earl and Leland rushed to his assistance.

They soon found that he had been shot and one getting on each side of Vallie they raised him up and helped him to the house. When they got into the house Vallie collapsed and Mrs. ROOT carried him from the kitchen to a lounge in the sitting room and telephoned for a doctor. It was only a few minutes until Dr. Dryden arrived and after a hasty examination began to administer restoratives and Vallie soon manifested signs of rallying. Dr. Thompson arrived in a short time and the physicians continued to work over the injured boy until evening when he was placed on a cot and carried home.

By Saturday morning his condition had improved and he has gained steadily since and now the doctors have great hopes of his recovery. On account of the boy's condition little effort was , made to find the bullet until last evening when Dr. Thompson succeeded in location it in the back and a little toward the left side.

The accident was a great shock to Vallie's parents and to Mr. and Mrs. ROOT, and for two days Mrs. ROOT was prostrated.

The physicians and the parents are now very hopeful, and unless unexpected complications should arise, Vallie will be able to be around again in the course of a short time.
Earl is fourteen and Valley is about the same age while Leland is a year or two younger. [Source: Scrapbook compiled by Peggy Goertzen from the 1890's - transcribed for G.T. by Jackie McCarty)

Two Subtle Humorists Drowned by their Joke
The Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis, Minn, August 21, 1905
Geneseo, Ill., Aug. 21.— Herman MELIN of Moline and Ben BROOKS of Osco, camping at Rock River, were drowned yesterday. In company with two young women they went out rowing. Thinking the water shallow, they threw the young girls overboard. Scrambling back, the girls threatened to throw the young men out. The young men jumped into water fifteen feet deep and were drowned. [KT - Sub by FoFG]

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