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Clay County

Genealogy and History


News Stories about
Floods, Fires, Accidents, and other Calamities



During Thursday Morning’s Storm At Northeast of Rinard
Thursday morning during the electrical and rain storm which passed over this section, lightning struck and killed a 12-year-old son of Chas. Henderson, and shocked his 8-year-old son. A son of Ren Trotter, aged about 12, who was visiting the Henderson boys, was also killed.
The three boys were on the Henderson porch when the bolt of lightning came. They live on Big Elm creek, about four miles northeast of Rinard, in Wayne county, near Jordan school house.
[Source: Flora Journal Record (16 August 1923). Transcribed by Angelia Carpenter]

St. Anthony Hospital Fire
Effingham, Illinois
St. Anthony Hospital in Effingham, Illinois burned on April 4, 1949, killing 74 people (of those, 7 were listed as unknown or missing--3 of these were not found in the ruins). There were 54 survivors--1 of whom died later at another hospital. Of those numbers, 2 of the dead and 6 survivors were from Clay County.
The following information is taken from "Report of Illinois State Fire Marshall on the St. Anthony's Hospital Fire At Effingham, Illinois April 4, 1949"

Official report of Helen Wiseman (to Haderlein & Appanaitis) -Registrar, at 2P.M. and later, April 8th, after search for bodies was abandoned. The names of the dead and the survivors as received from Miss Helen Wiseman, Registrar, and Mrs. Suzanne Warren, Assistant Registrar, are as follows:
Mrs. Herbert Lee, RR. 2 Flora, Ill. - Adult Female
Mrs. Norma Petty, Clay City, Ill - Adult Female

Jeff Bible, Louisville, Ill - Boy 16 yrs
Joyce Bruner, Flora, Ill. - Adult Female
Herbert Phillips, Clay City, Ill - Adult Male
William Pierson, Louisville, Ill - Adult Male
Richard Scammahorn, Louisville, Ill - Adult Male
Orville Young, Louisville, Ill - Adult Male

Last Saturday morning on the hard road three miles east of Salem a Nash car bumped into a Ford, causing the death of Logan Brubaker, and the injury of Wm. Brunton and son, George, riding in the Ford. Mr. Brubaker was 64 years old and lived at Salem.
Mr. Brubaker had been out at his farm just east of Salem and was walking home, when Mr. Brunton and son, George, aged 12, drove along and picked up Mr. Brubaker, giving him a lift home. Their car was struck by a Nash, driven by Emil Strop of Jefferson Clty, Mo., accompanied by John K. Belding of Seymour, Ind. They were jailed at Salem, awaiting verdict of the coroner's jury.
The three injured men were rushed to the Centralia hospital, where Mr. Brubaker died at 11:40 p.m.Saturday. Mr. Brunton and son were severly injured, but are expected to recover. The two Bruntons live just west of Xenia on the hard road.
[Source: Flora Journal Record July 8, 1926]

Last Friday Afternoon When Illinois Traction System Train Struck Their Motor Truck Three Miles West of Edwardsville
One of the worst tragedies in the history of the city of Flora occurred last Friday afternoon, June 5th, when two of our well-known citizens, L. B. Keith and Richard McCracken, were instantly killed by Illinois Traction Train No. 9 at Center Grove Crossing, three miles west of Edwardsville, Ill.
News of the tragedy came to Flora about 5:30 when the editor of the Daily Intelligencer at Edwardsville called by phone the editor of the Journal-Record and said that at 4:10 that afternoon two men had been killed by a traction train at a crossing near there and that the bodies were then being brought into their city. He stated that on one of the bodies was found a membership card in the Flora Commercial Club with, with L. B. Keith’s name thereon. He enquired who the other man was, as there was nothing on the body to identify it. Harry Keith was at once notified and he said Richard McCracken had accompanied his father on the trip. Harry at once had Edgar Hancock, Jr., start for the bodies in their funeral car. Frank Chaney accompanied Edgar and the remains were brought to Flora at 5:00 o’clock Saturday morning.
Mr. Keith and Mr. McCracken had driven to Granite City for a load of stoves, which they were selling and had three of them on Mr. Keith’s truck. They had started home, but concluded to drive through Edwardsville, where Mr. McCracken expected to buy a radiator for his auto, which had recently been put out of commission by collision with another car. The truck was demolished and the bodies suffered skull fractures and internal injuries causing instant death.
The crossing is known as dangerous, there having been several deaths there previously. There is a deep cut for the traction system and down grade on the hard road. It is said the set of signals were working and the truth will probably never be known why they drove onto the track. It is difficult to see the train on account of the deep cut.
A coroner’s inquest was held at Edwardsville on Saturday.

The funeral of Mr. Keith was held at the Baptist church Sunday afternoon at 3:00 o’clock, and was attended by people from many miles distance, for deceased was well-known to many in this section. The floral tributes were profuse and beautiful. The sermon was preached by Rev. G. C. Mitchell of North Vernon, Ind., a former pastor here. Interment was in Elmwood cemetery. The Modern Woodmen, of which deceased was a member, were present at the funeral services and also used their funeral rites at the cemetery.

Mr. Keith carried $2,000 insurance in the Woodmen, $1,000 in the Royal Neighbors, and $1,000 in a Wayne county company. A rather unusual incident was the fact that although he had written 200 policies for the Industrial Mutual, the new insurance company recently organized in Flora, and had written a policy for Richard McCracken, Mr. Keith failed to take out a policy for himself.

Mr. McCracken had lived in Flora for several years, moving here from near Enterprise, in order to school his children. Funeral services were held at the family home Sunday morning at 9:00 o’clock, conducted by Rev. I. B. Sipes, pastor of the M. E. South church, after which the remains were taken to the Barth cemetery, near Enterprise, for interment. He leaves a wife and six children, besides other relatives, to mourn his untimely, tragic death.

A double inquest was conducted Saturday afternoon by Deputy Coroner Fred L. Leadley over the bodies of L. B. Keith and Richard McCracken, a verdict that death was due to being struck by a McKinley train. There was nothing to hold the crew or anyone else directly responsible for the double deaths.

J. H. Mucholls, the motorman, G. F. Wedeking, the conductor, and Emmet Power, Wallace Henry and Edna Taylor were the witnesses examined. The last three were driving a car west and had stopped for the crossing to permit the car to pass.—Edwardsville Intelligencer.
[Source: Flora Journal Record (11 June 1925). Transcribed by Angelia Carpenter]

Clydene Stanford Fires Fatal Shot From “Unloaded Shotgun” at
Home Southeast of Flora Wednesday Morning.
A most deplorable tragedy occurred Wednesday morning at 9:30, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Stanford in the Mt. Zion neighborhood, about six and one-half miles southeast of Flora, in Stanford township, when Clydene Stanford, son of JesseStanford, accidently shot and killed his sister, Ruby.
From Frank Bissey, who was in town Wednesday afternoon, and, being a neighbor, was at the scene of the shooting within fifteen minutes, and who also served on the coroner’s jury, we obtained the following story of the tragedy:
Mr. and Mrs. Stanford have four children and they were trading in Flora, having along one of the children. Clydene, who is 14 years old, and Ruby, 12 years old, were playing in the house, like children will, and Ruby had closed the door of a room and placed a chair against the door. Clydene noticed a shot gun hanging over the door, securing it, and supposing it to be empty, he placed the muzzle at the key hole of the door and pulled the trigger. The charge entered the little girl’s abdomen and produced a fatal woulnd, she shortly passing away.
Coroner Pearl Speaks was notified and during the day held an inquest, with a verdict by the jury of accidental death in accord with the the above story of the tragedy. It is the old story enacted once again of the “unloaded gun” and its terrible consequences. The funeral will be held at the Olive church Friday afternoon at 2:00 o’clock. Burial will be made at Mt. Zion cemetery.
[Source: Flora Journal Record (1 July 1926). Transcribed by Angelia Carpenter.]

Tuesday Night When Ford Car Sideswiped His Motorcycle on State Highway No. 25 Six Miles From Here
On Tuesday night about midnight, a tragedy occurred on the hard road between Flora and Louisville, about two miles south of the latter place, causing death of Jesse Chandler of Salem, and injury of his daughter.
According to the story, Mr. Chandler and his wife and three daughters, Misses Margaret, Mildred and Babe, were returning from a trip to Indiana, where they had been called to attend the funeral of a relative Reaching Louisville, they halted for a few minutes to put on raincoats, it looking stormy. Continuing the journey, when about two miles south of Louisville, they met a Ford car. Mr. Chandler, alarmed by the Ford encroaching on his side of the highway, steered the motorcycle to tho west edge of the pavement, thinking to avoid the car, but the driver of the Ford put out his lights and sideswiped the motorcycle.
The impact almost tore off Mr. Chandler’s left leg and broke the left leg of his daughter, Mildred, 16 years old, who was riding in the seat behind her father. The mother and Margaret and Babe were in the side car and were thrown into the road side ditch, but not severely injured. Mrs. Chandler walked to the nearest farm house and gave the alarm.
The family were brought to the Flora hospital, where Mr. Chandler soon passed away from the injury and the great loss of blood. Miss Mildred is getting along nicely. The McMackin funeral car came over early Wednesday morning and the remains of Mr. Chandler were taken to Salem. Later in the day the wife and two daughters went home.
Sheriff Cogswell and his deputies and the Flora police force were early searching for the Ford car, but it had escaped. It is not known just how many fellows were in the Ford, as the curtains were down, but there seems to have been three or four, according to the best information. There are some clews on which the officers are working.
State Highway Patrolman Capt. Bigelow of Salem, was at once notified and came in 20 minutes to the scene. Mr. Chandler, who was an electrical engineer for the C. & E. I. railroad at Salem, was a neighbor and personal friend to Capt. Bigelow and when not on duty with the railroad, did special patrol duty for Capt. Bigelow. He is remembered by many Flora people, for he was here during one of the big foot ball games last year, when several state traffic cops were in Flora looking after matters. He was a tall man, with a smiling face and a very pleasant
fellow to meet.
Coroner Pearl Speaks held a short investigation Wednesday morning, but there was no verdict returned, the matter being left open for further developments.
All good citizens are hoping the Ford and its occupants can be apprehended, so that the matter can be further investigated.
[Source: Flora Journal Record (8 July 1926). Transcribed by Angelia Carpenter.]



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