Genealogy Trails
Jackson County, Illinois

Car Wheels Take Toll



Just in what manner did Perry Wilson meet his death? That question has been heard hundreds of times here in Murphysboro since the tragedy of 2:40 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern passenger depot in West Murphysboro. C. S. Reeves, day operator for the Iron Mountain and probably the one eye witness to the tragedy, gave a Republican-Era representative the following version of it fifteen minutes after it happened.
" I hope I may never have to look upon such a sight again. He boarded a coal car at about the middle of extra coal train No. 460 directly in front of the waiting room here. I had seen him on the platform some little time before the train pulled out.
" I saw him hop the train and thought little of it. My attention was centered on him, however, when I saw his body strike a baggage truck which stood near the south end of the platform. His hold on the car handle was broken by the impact of the jar against the truck, and I can tell little more of the story. I saw his body fall, head foremost, it seemed to me, beneath the train. Then it was rolled. Some times I could see it, then again I could not.
" I saw the body picked up some thirty yards from where he boarded the train. I believe he was killed almost instantly. Life seemed extinct a minute after his body hit the truck.
" No, I did not talk with him before he boarded the train. He did not buy a ticket. It was not a local train and did not carry passengers.
" I did not know the engineer's name. Conductor Walker was in charge of the train."

Was Going to Farm.
Attorney W. P. Wilson's determination to reach his farm near Gorham Wednesday and attend to pressing business led to his death. In company with his friend, W. H. Roberts, Attorney Wilson bought a ticket at the Iron Mountain depot Wednesday morning. He intended to board the early morning passenger train for Gorham. Because it was delayed hours by a freight wreck on the road at DeSoto, both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Roberts are said to have sold their tickets to the station agent later Wednesday morning.
When asked shortly after noon Wednesday if he was to attend the funeral of the late George N. Kennedy, Attorney Wilson said to State's Attorney Isaac K. Levy that he could not very well do so, as he had to get down to his farm. Later in the afternoon he learned that an extra northbound train would pass through the city at 2:40 p.m. and he determined to take advantage of what was seemingly his only chance to get down to the farm where hands were gathering some 10,000 bushels of corn, which he proudly talked of as the item of his 'start' as a farmer.
And here is a little incident story in the life of this honest, moral young man: Speaking to a friend a short time ago Attorney Wilson said, "I was born on a farm, my people are still farmers; were it not for giving up the practice of law I have built up here in Murphysboro, I would gladly become a farmer and live on my farm in the bottoms. I like it better."

Wife Prostrated.
Grief prostrated Mr. Wilson's young wife when she learned of his sudden death shortly after it occurred. Neighbors and friends did all they could to pacify her to her loss. One of her little children tugged at her skirts and said that papa would soon be home. But the body that had been so full of vigor and manly honor remained in the morgue. It was thought best to keep it from the sorrowing wife. The hard car wheels took their toll in a stern way. What need recite in detail the injuries?

Sketch of Life.
W. P. Wilson was the oldest of three sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Wilson of Kinkaid township. Harrison and John Wilson are his juniors. Besides these he leaves three sisters and his parents. In his teens the boy learned practical farming and attended school. later, when he showed an inclination for more schooling, a better education was given him.   When a young man Mr. Wilson began reading law. After years of study, for he was thorough in everything he undertook, the young man was admitted to the bar October 3, 1906. October 26 of that year he graduated.  September 4, 1907, he took to wife Miss Harriett Downen. The marriage ceremony took place at the courthouse in Murphysboro.   Of the three children who are left with the young mother, Russell is the oldest, or four years of age.
Mr. Wilson's age was 32 years, 4 months and 14 days.

Moral Business Man.
Soon after beginning his practice of law in Murphysboro Attorney Wilson concentrated his mind on business. He delved in politics and other things. Morality and honesty seemed the platform of his life.  In a race for a seat in the senate from the 25th congressional district, he was defeated by Senator R. J. McElvain. But he made that veteran statesman a worthy race.  Later he began investments in lands and insurance. He became involved financially purely as an impetus to save and pay. At the time of his death he owned one big farm and was interested with Attorney J. M. Herbert in another valuable piece of farm land. He had so arranged his insurance and other matters that he would soon have been able to raise $20,000 to cover his investments. A $10,000 policy is due the widow, besides other moneys. 
Preceding City Attorney Robert P. Martin in that office here, Attorney Wilson kept strictly within the law and did not purge individuality into his administration as some thought he might. He was fair with everyone as well as himself.

His Standing.
As a lodgeman Mr. Wilson was high in the esteem of Leonidas lodge, K. of P., and the Modern Woodmen. As a professional man he was vice president of the Jackson County Bar association. As a businessman he was president of the Murphysboro Building and Loan association.
The funeral services will be conducted at the Free Baptist church Friday afternoon, at 1 o'clock, under the auspices of the Knights of Pythias lodge. The members of the Jackson County Bar association will act as honorary pallbearers.
The body will be taken to Ava Friday afternoon via the Mobile and Ohio railroad, accompanied by the relatives and a retinue of friends. The burial service will be heard at the Evergreen

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