James Voltz Killed in Fatal Accident

The Journal (Minonk) - February 4, 1882


Saturday evening, Jan. 28th, Mr. J. D. Voltz, a brakeman on the way freight bound west, of the W. St. L. & P. R. R. engine No. 451, Mr. Stevens, engineer, train No. 15, Mr. Beyes, conductor; while uncoupling cars caught his foot in the frog, was backed over and instantly killed. The train was at the station, waiting while some switching was being done, near Sycamore street close by Decon Tompkins coal office. The train was behind time. Mr. Voltz was was the "rear brakeman," and was assisting in doing the switching with the engine and tree or four cars. It seems that he was cutting some cars off from the engine to throw on the side-track, and stepped between the cars to draw the pin, which he did. It seems that he had one foot on the outside of the north rail, and the other on the inside of the rail. After drawing the pin with his right hand he partly turned and motioned to the engineer to back up. He caught his right foot in the frog, and before any notice could be given was thrown down, the wheels of car funning over his right leg, left side and arm, mangling him horribly, and instantly killing him. Mr. Stevens, the engineer, noticing something strange in the motion of the car, and thinking that Voltz was an unusual long time, reversed his engine and stopped. Not seeing Voltz, he stepped from the cab and pulled the mangled remains of the poor fellow from beneath the cars. A number of employees were quickly on the spot, and the remains were placed on a grain car door and taken to the freight room of the Wabash road, where they were placed in the hands of Mr. Aug. Strathmann, the undertaker, and put into a coffin to await the coroner's inquest and the arrival of friends from Peoria and Eureka. The deceased was 24 years of age and a single man. He has been in the employ of the company sometime, and was a sober and industrious young man, almost the entire support of an aged, half-crippled father and blind mother, who reside in Peoria. Not an hour before his death he told another brakeman on the train that this was his last rip over the road, as he was going to quit the road when he reached Peoria. About a year and a half ago he had a brother killed on the "down grade" between Eureka and Washington. It will be remembered by the citizens of El Paso that his father, Jacob Voltz, fell down the stairway leading to City Hall some years ago and was severely crippled. Deceased was a brother-in-law of Mr. Henry Tucker, of Eureka. The family used to reside in El Paso. The remains were taken to Eureka for interment.

An inquest was convened at 12:45 a.m. Jan. 29th, 1882, in the freight house at El Paso, Ill, before J. H. Moore, J. P., acting as coroner. The following gentleman were summoned as witnesses: J. H. Stafford, brakeman; Geo. Stevens, engineer; John Moran, brakeman; Sam. Beyer, conductor; Wesley Baldwin and Wm. Burnett. These witnesses testified substantially as above. After hearing the evidence the jury found:

That James Voltz came to his death on the 28th day of Jan. 1882, in the city of El Paso, Ill, while in the employ of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific railroad, by getting his foot fastened in a frog while uncoupling cars while in motion and then being run over by a car. We furthermore find no one to blame for his death.

W. H. Stoner, Foreman

A. S. Kerr

W. T. King

R. Robinson

G. R. Curtiss

A. Strathman