A Chapter Of Accidents

One of the saddest cases that happened in this township was the suicide of Mrs. Price, wife of Cyrus Price. She had been complaining for some days and had a deep feeling of despondency, but none thought of such a thing as the violent taking of her own life. She dressed her children and sent them to a neighbor’s house, then went to the woods and climbing up a leaning tree, adjusted the rope to a limb and then tied the other about her neck and jumped off. It was believed from the neck being broken that she died very suddenly. This occurred in the Hamlin neighborhood in the northwest corner of the township. This suicide occurred about 1850.

Another terrible affair, this time an accident, the date, however, is not at hand, was the crushing of a son of John Horsley, who was caught between a heavy loaded ox wagon and a tree, every effort was made to move the wagon but failed, and the tree had to be cut to get him out. He was so terribly crushed that he died the next day.

It was June 1, 1873, that another accident happened in this township, which ended with fatal results. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Doty started to church and while he was shutting the gate the team started. This scared Mrs. Doty, and she sprang from the wagon and broke her ankle, the bone protruding through the flesh. With the help of her husband, and notwithstanding the. condition of her leg, she walked about thirty steps to the house and remained standing, the bone protruding as above stated, while her husband fixed the bed for her. She suffered greatly and died five days after.

On August 30th, 1881, on the farm of Allen Comer, section twenty-nine, township sixty, range twenty-seven, Jarrett A. Comer, son of Allen, while working with a well auger, fell from the lever, and it coming around struck him on the head. From the effects of this blow he died the next day. He was a bright boy, and affectionate son, and his loss was deeply felt by his family.

The Demon, Drink

One of those cases where man’s appetite becomes too strong for his, judgment was found in the suicide of Joseph H. Feurt, March 28.

He had become a slave to the demon of drink, and in his sober moments was, a victim of terrible remorse. He could not conquer his depraved appetite, and so in a fit of desperation, took his own life, on a quiet Sabbath day, by shooting himself through the head with a pistol about ten o’clock, A. M. The ball entered his head near the right temple, and death must have been almost instantaneous. He had made two other attempts on his life, having once arranged a rope over a beam in the smoke-house to hang himself, but was discovered by his wife. The next time he jumped into a public well, but was taken out. He claimed in this last case that he thought his little girl was in the well and he jumped in to save her. This was on the same night of the day he had made arrangements to hang himself. Finding these attempts a failure he took care the next time that it would be a success. He had told his wife several times that if he could not cure his appetite for strong drink he would kill himself. She had tried to persuade him out of the idea and had kept a pretty close, watch, but he accomplished his purpose at last, shooting himself, in the smoke-house, in which he had made the first attempt on his life. It was a sad and fearful warning of the effects of strong drink.

A Snake Story

The snake is not a pleasant theme to dwell upon, neither is it a pleasant thing to meet if it is on the aggressive and belongs to the black-snake, or the species known as the whip-snake, which pursues its victim and finally chokes him to death. The agony of such a death only makes it more horrible, for unless a man is armed, his flight is only a prolongation of his death struggle, for that it must come to at last. It was one of these kind of snakes that Jesse O’Neill believed was following him, and although he escaped death, the scene of that race which he made for his life always sends a thrill of horror through his frame. Mr. O’Neill had taken from the stable a long black halter for the purpose of going to catch a horse. He had ever been terribly afraid of snakes, and generally kept a pretty bright look out, for there were known to be some in that section of the township. In passing through some brush and accidentally casting his eyes back of him he saw a long black snake making for him over the brush. He only caught a glimpse of it, but he broke into a run; every little while looking back he caught sight of the snake sometimes bounding clear off of the ground to reach him. This added not only terror to his mind but speed to his feet, and he kept up the strain until he fell from exhaustion. On recovering and carefully looking around he found that he was not dead, and that the snake was lying at full length upon the ground, one end fastened to his arm. The black halter strap, some six or seven feet long, had chased him several miles, and in his scare be had seen it bound up to catch him. When the full realization dawned upon his mind but here we draw the curtain while he communes with himself, But it really was something of a serious nature, for the exertion was so great that it prostrated him for several days. It was a terrible experience and he often thinks of it with tremulous earnestness. Jesse, however, was no coward, if you kept the snakes away from him. He joined the Confederate forces and became a captain, and in one of his raids captured General Crooks in his own tent. He always admits that the aforesaid snake-gave him the worst scare of his whole life and says that he lived apparently years while running that race, and also admits that a more angry man could not exist than he was when he fully realized the fact that he had the snake with him, actually hanging to his arm. “But just imagine how it would have been if the infernal halter had been a snake,” and he fairly shudders

The Grasshoppers

The year of 1873 was known far and wide as grasshopper year. The great destruction in Nebraska and Kansas and western Iowa and Missouri naturally made people nervous if any were seen around. They put in an appearance in this section of the country on June 23, 1873, and the farmers were pretty badly scared. They came from the southwest and kept coining for three days. There were myriads of them. Some of the people were fearfully demoralized; some prayed, some tried to scare the hopper by wild and frantic yells, and a few began to cut their wheat, but after a day or two, and they did scarcely no damage, the people became more quiet. These scenes actually transpired in Grand River township. The grasshoppers remained, from first to last, about ten days, then leaving and going north. The roar of their wings was plainly heard. They did no damage to speak of; in fact, those farmers who commenced to cut their wheat did far more than the “hopper.” The farmers of Daviess county congratulated themselves upon their escape, for a fearful destruction of crops had marked the path-way of the grasshoppers through Nebraska, Kansas, and the western part of Iowa and Missouri. The greatest loss, however, being in the first two named States. In those States the insects literally destroyed everything green upon their line of march, and the people had to call not only upon neighbors, but neighboring States, for food to keep them from starvation. It was no wonder that the farmer was appalled when in countless millions they invaded his farm and home.

Back to: Daviess County