La Salle County IL News
Accidents and Injuries

Joseph Carr Drowns
The Illinois Free Trader, Ottawa, Ill, February 26, 1841
Death by Drowning
We learn by the Peru Gazette, that an individual by the name of Joseph Carr, on Monday last, in attempting to cross the river on the ice at that place, broke through and before assistance could be rendered, drowned.

Dr. Aaron Bain Drowned at Ferry
The Illinois Free Trader, Ottawa, Ill, April 2, 1841
Most Melancholy Accident
On Sunday last Dr. Aaron Bain, of this place, was drowned at our ferry. Truly a melancholy accident! Mysterious indeed are the dispensations of Providence! We have lost one of our very best citizens. No man has ever lived among us, who enjoyed more of the confidence and respect of the community. No man has ever had a deeper hold upon the affections and esteem of the people of Ottawa. His real merit as a man - his kindness to all in society - his great skill as a physician, were highly appreciated, and their loss has created a void not readily to be supplied. Taken suddenly from us, in the prime of life and in the full tide of usefulness, his death has cast a melancholy gloom over the minds of all, which time can scarcely dissipate.
This afflictive bereavement to his many friends in this country, acquired during a residence and an extensive and useful practice in his profession of nearly five years, must prove peculiarly distressing to his relatives and acquaintances in the State of New York, whom he expected very shortly to visit, had his life been spared.
Dr. B. had been on the south side of the Illinois River visiting a patient, and on his return, about noon, set out from the south shore of the river on a ferry boat. There were aboard ten or twelve loose cattle, a horse, (Dr. B's) and five men - the two ferry-men, a stranger, Mr. Hopkins and Dr. B. About fifteen rods from the south shore, in a strong current, and amid high waves under a driving wind, the tossing of the boat affrighted the cattle and they rushing to the bow of the boat, it soon filled with water and went under. A scene of confusion and dismay ensued. All were instantly floundering in the stream where the water was about fifteen feet deep and very rough by reason of the wind and current. One of the ferrymen and the stranger by some means got hold of the boat when it rose, and with it floated ashore. The other ferryman and Mr. Hopkins kept afloat until they were taken up by two men who went with a skiff from the north side. Dr. B. was seen to mount his horse as the boat was first sinking - he was afterwards seen floundering in the stream with his horse - a moment afterwards he was seen floating on his back with his head down stream, and but a moment before the skiff reached him he sank to rise no more.
Dr. Bain was a native of Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York, and about twenty-nine years of age.

The Illinois Free Trader, Ottawa, Ill, May 7, 1841
The body of Dr. Bain, who was drowned in the Illinois River at this place, on the 28th of March last, was found on the 1st instant, about 7 miles west of this place, by a member of Mrs. Eels' family. All previous search for the body, which a number of the citizens of this place continued for several weeks, proved abortive. The remains were conveyed to this place on Sabbath last, and deposited in the village cemetery.

Josiah S. Hall Injured by Fire
The Illinois Free Trader, Ottawa, Ill, November 12, 1841
On Saturday evening last the cry of fire was heard in our streets, and upon examination it was found that the alarm originated at the dwelling of Mr. Josiah S. Hall, one of the most worthy and industrious citizens in this place. It appears that Mr. H. is a believer in the Thompsonian system of medicine and whilst engaged in pouring out a prescription of No. 6, the gas was ignited by a candle which he held in his hand and immediately enveloped him in flames, and so severely burnt him that his recovery was considered doubtful immediately after the accident. We are pleased to lean, however, that he is gradually recovering.

Smyth's Wagon and Horses Lost in River
The Ottawa Free Trader, January 3, 1845
On Monday last a valuable span of horses and the front gearing of a wagon, the property of Mr. Smyth, who resides near Vermillionville, in this county, were lost in the Illinois River at this place. The persons in charge of the team attempted to cross the river on the ice, and when about midway between the shores the ice gave way and the team and part of the wagon immediately disappeared under the ice. The hind part of the wagon and box were the only parts saved. One of the men narrowly escaped with his life.

Nicholas Druley Accidently Killed
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, January 29, 1847
On Tuesday last, Mr. Nicholas Druley, a worthy young man of this place, was instantly killed by the falling of a tree on the island below this place.

Three Injured in Stage Coach Accident
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, October 22, 1847
Stage Accident - On Sunday morning the stage from Chicago was upset near Marseilles, and four of the passengers, an old lady and three men, so severely injured that they are still at Dr. Ward's in Marseilles, where they were taken immediately after the accident, unable to leave. We have heard serious charges against the driver, and if the accident is attributable to carelessness he should be dealt with accordingly.

Albert Thurston Accidentally Shot
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, December 3, 1847
Distressing Occurrence. - On Monday last, Albert Thurston, son of the widow Thurston, living at Buffalo Rock, four miles below Ottawa, a boy about seven years old, was accidentally shot by his brother, a boy of 17 or 18. The two were playing with an old musket, which they supposed not to be loaded, but it happened to contain a charge of shot, which was lodged in the younger brother's breast, causing almost instant death.

Wheatland, Lane and McGraw Drown Crossing River
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, January 7, 1848
Fatal and Melancholy Accident
Three men drowned. - While the ferry skiff was crossing the Illinois river yesterday, the wind blowing hard and cold, it unfortunately swamped, there being 6 men in at the time, three of whom (Mr. Wheatland, John Lane the ferryman, and a young man supposed to be a Mr. McGraw) were drowned. Mrs. A. Keefer, Mr. Boles, father-in-law to Mr. Wheatland and Mr. G. Burr, merchant of this place, were saved. Boles and Burr by swimming to the shore, and Mr. K. by holding on to the skiff with which he floated a full half mile down the river before being rescued. Mr. Wheatland leaves a young wife to mourn his loss, having been married but about four weeks. Mr. Lane has been on the ferry for 4 or 5 years. Their bodies still remain in the river.
Great credit and praise are due Reese Morgan, Esq., and Mr. Geo. Belford, for the assistance they rendered Messrs. Boles and Burr, who, in all probability would have sunk within a few feet of the shore, as they were completely exhausted, but for their timely aid.

Wake Family Die of Strychnine Poisoning
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, December 8, 1848
Dreadful Casualty
Mr. Wake, of Troy Grove, a few days since, administered to his children five in number, some strychnine for sickness, of which four of them died immediately. The fifth is still alive. We have not yet learned the particulars, but suppose that no criminal intent is charged against him. But his ignorance, presumption and carelessness are truly criminal. It is a serious and solemn warning to all those who would administer the potent compounds of the drug shop, without a knowledge of their qualities - of disease or tis cure. - Peru Telegraph.

Mr. Burns Drowns
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, July 6, 1849
Drowned - We have heard the melancholy intelligence of the death of Mr. Burns, at La Salle, on Monday. He fell from a canal boat, and while swimming to the shore was probably attacked with the cramp, and sunk immediately. Mr. Burns was a volunteer in the Quincy company, and was in every respects quite a promising young man. He has for the past year been opening a farm near Lost Grove. - Peru Tel.

Richard Phelps Thrown from Horse and Killed
The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, December 7, 1849
Melancholy Accident
A melancholy accident occurred near the barn of Mr. Thorn, of the Mansion House, in this place on Sunday morning, resulting in the death of Richard, son of Benj. T. Phelps, merchant of this place. The boy, about 12 years old, had been in the habit of late of riding a young horse to water, belonging to Major Hitt, a spirited but not vicious animal. While doing so on Sunday morning coming opposite the barn mentioned, the horse seems to have taken fright and commenced rearing and plunging, throwing the boy over his head and then striking him, accidentally it is thought, on the head with a front foot with sufficient violence to inflict a wound which the boy survived but a few minutes. He was a sprightly, intelligent and promising lad and the distress of his parents at this afflictive bereavement may well be imagined.

John Dickinson Killed in Train Accident

Stark County News, Toulon Ill., September 24, 1859
Just as the Burlington train was starting from the depot in Chicago, on Saturday night last, Mr. John Dickinson, of Mendota, attempted to get on the cars, but unfortunately made a misstep and fell. By the pressure of the crowd of people trying to get on the train, he was forced under the car wheel, which ran over his legs, crushing and frightfully severing both of them from his body. He was taken back to the Adams House, where he died next day from the effects of this melancholy accident.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois)
December 29, 1870

An embankment in the deep cut on the Syracuse and Chenango Valley railroad, between Lebanon Hollow and Earlville caved in on the 19th. Fifteen or twenty men were buried in the ruins, several of whom were killed.

Burt Robinson Critically Injured in Train Accident

Burt Robinson Struck by a Freight Car.
Contributed by Tom Mead

Burt Robinson, a 15 year old boy, of LaSalle, was run over Saturday, Sept 19, 1908, by a freight car at Wenona and injured so badly that he died later at St. Mary's hospital in LaSalle. Burt and two neighbor boys decided to ride on a freight to Wenona and got into a box car of the Illinois Central and rode to Wenona. After spending an hour or so there they concluded to return home on a northbound freight.

While the train was switching, the boys got on a car. Burt climbed onto a side ladder of a box car and tried to swing over and get on top of the next car behind the box car. His foot slipped and the boy fell on the rails between the two cars. The wheels passed over his right leg and arm, severing the former just below the knee and the latter in the middle of the upper arm. Six cars passed over the boy before the train was stopped. He was taken at once to the hospital but died fifteen minutes after his arrival there. An inquest was held, and a verdict of accidental death returned. The remains were shipped to Wenona for interment.

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