STRUCK BY A TRAIN  Robert Aten and Wife Killed
*NOTE: This must have come from the Rushville Times, November 14, 1900.  They are my direct line.  Sara Hemp.

Aged Couple Killed
Robert Aten and Wife, of Oakland Township, Die Together

Run Down by a Train Two Miles North of Vermont Tuesday Afternoon

Inquest at Table Grove

  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Aten, two of the aged and most respected citizens of Oakland township, were killed yesterday afternoon by a passenger train on the C. B. & Q. road two miles north of Vermont.

Mr. Aten and wife left their home, two miles north of Ray, yesterday morning to go to Table Grove to visit their son, Henry C. Aten, who has resided in that locality several years.  They stopped at Vermont a couple of hours, making a pleasant visit and taking dinner with their daughter, Flora Ann { married to Milford Matthews}.  It was after 1 o’clock when they started on their journey from Vermont, which proved to be the last journey of their long lives.  While they were crossing the railroad two miles north of Vermont, the afternoon train struck their buggy.  Both were killed instantly and the vehicle was reduced to kindling wood.  The old gentleman was somewhat deaf, and both were bundled up to keep them warm, hence they did not see nor hear the approaching train.

  The train, which runs between Rushville and Galesburg, was in charge of conductor Shull, and Engineer Potter was at the throttle.  The train was immediately stopped, and the crew picked up the torn and bleeding bodies, put them on the train and took them to an undertaking establishment in Table Grove, where an inquest was held by the coroner of Fulton County last night.

  Mr. Aten was 82 years of age and his wife was 72.  They were married in 1852, and they were the parents of nine children, all of whom are living: Mrs. Morris {Edward Page and Nancy Lynnia}, Henry C., W. A. F., Robert B., Mrs. Thomas Ashwood {Sarah Jane}, James G., Daniel W., Flora Ann {Mrs. Milford Matthews}, and John Q.  The aged couple have resided in Oakland Township since 1850.  They were members of the Presbyterian church.
  *NOTE: above article found in a scrapbook in Roswell, New Mexico by Nancy Harvey while going though her mother’s things after her death.  "The scrapbook is one which my great grandmother, Amanda Bryan Wetzel, or perhaps my grandmother, Nettie Wetzel Dean, pasted lots of obituaries of family and friends.  These families were from around McDonough, Fulton and Schuyler Counties.  These obits are probably around a hundred years old or may be more."

Their Buggy Was Struck By a Passenger Train North of Vermont Thursday Afternoon, They Were Both Killed Instantly.
  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Aten of Oakland Township {Schuyler County, Illinois}, aged 80 years, were instantly killed at a railroad crossing two miles north of Vermont {Fulton County, Illinois} Tuesday afternoon, while on their way to Table Grove {Schuyler County, Illinois} to visit their son, Henry. They attempted to cross the track in front of the Rushville and Galesberg passenger train, going north and were hurled to instant death. The two bodies were picked up just inside the fence along the "Q" right of way, 100 feet from the crossing. They lay side by side, and neither showed signs of mutilation, tho the bodies of both were badly broken.
  The engine was running at a rate of 40 miles an hour when the accident happened. Mr. And Mrs. Aten drove onto the track from the fireman's side and were not noticed by the engineer until he was upon them. He sounded the whistle and their horse seemed to stand still from the fright. The buggy was struck between the two wheels, and very vestige of harness stripped from the force, even collar and bridle. The front wheels remained on the crossing, but the top and buggy bed were wedged on the pilot of the engine and remained there until the train was brought to a standstill 300 yards beyond the crossing. The train was in charge of Engineer Potter and Conductor F. A. Shait.
  From particulars at hand, no blame can be laid upon the trainmen for the accident. At the point where the accident happened, known as the Page crossing, the wagon road runs almost parallel with the track for a distance of a mile and then makes a right angle turn at the crossing.
  Mr. and Mrs. Aten were driving in a top buggy with all the curtains on; it was a cold day and they were well bundled up, and it is fair to present they did not hear the approach of the train. When the bodies were found Mrs. Aten wore a hood, and a cap, with ear flaps down, worn by her husband, was picked up along the track.
  The train came to a standstill and ran back to the crossing, a gang of section men who were working near there came up to ( ) the trainees.  None of them, however, recognized the bodies. Henry Page, who lives a few rods east of the crossing saw the accident and it was from him that the identity of the persons was learned. He recognized Mr. Aten and supposed the lady was his wife. It was on his suggestion that the bodies were taken to Table Grove, where Henry Aten, son of the deceased, resided.
  Mr. and Mrs. Aten were on their way o their son's home in Table Grove when they met their death. They had driven up from Oakland Township in the morning and had taken dinner with their daughter, Mrs. Milford Matlows {Matthews - Flora Ann Aten} in Vermont. They left Vermont at 3:45 and were killed at the crossing a half hour later.
  As soon as the accident happened Mr. Aten's children were notified, and Mrs. Matlows {Flora Ann Aten Matthews} and the three were from Oakland Township drove to Table Grove. The bodies were prepared for burial to that village and were brought to Ray {Oakland Township, Schuyler County, Illinois} on the 12 o'clock train yesterday.
  A coroner jury held so inquest Tuesday night. The section men and a family living near the crossing were the only witnesses, and they testified the engineer sounded the whistle for the crossing and took all due precaution.
  The death of this aged couple brought sorrow to the many homes where they were known so well. They were old settlers of Oakland Township, having resided there since 1854. It was in 1851 that Mr. Aten married Mary Jane Allison, ( ) for nearly half a century (near) here, enjoyed the companionship of a happy ( born) life. Both, were ( ) and hearty for their years, and they ( ) a great interest in the welfare of one another and their family of children, of whom there were nine. Both Mr. And Mrs. Aten were members of the Presbyterian Church.
  Mr. Aten was a large land owner in Oakland Township and he engaged externally in stock raising. Of late years his sons have leaded big farms, but he never considered himself on the retired list. The sudden death of both father and mother was a real blow to the children, who had parted with them in health and vigor only a short time before.
  ( ) means that I couldn't read the word from the paper. {clarifications by Sara Hemp}
  They were coming back from town in the buggy. It was a bad day and they had the storm curtains fully closed. Storm curtains gave only a small view out the front so they couldn't see any where but out the front. No one thought that Robert or Mary Jane knew that the train was coming. The horse balked so the buggy was on the tracks and when the train hit the buggy it pulled the harness right off the horse. I heard the horse wasn't hurt except for cuts and bruises from the harness. (Sara Hemp <cryssara@merr.com>


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