Bates County, Missouri
Genealogy and History

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Bates County Missouri
Accidents and Tragedies



R.H. Johnson
An accident occurred in the well of Mr. Hurt yesterday evening which came near proving fatal to Mr. R. H. Johnson, who was operating in the well at the time.  Mr. Johnson was putting in a blast of poder and just as he had everything completed and was getting ready to ascend, he became unconscious and it was with almost difficulty that he was drawn to the surface.  After several efforts to extricate him, a rope was let down, and he seized it with a death grip and was drawn to the surface.  It was some time before either his hands could be relinquished or his consciousness restored.  Upon experimenting afterwards, it was found that a candle would not burn ten feet below the surface, owing to the "damps" or foul air with which the well seemed filled.
Source: The Bates County Record, Butler, MO., July 11, 1868

Pitts
A sad accident occurred at the residenceof Mr. Pitts, near Pleasant Gap, a few days since, which will doubtless result in the death of a son, some thirteen years of age.  The boy was holding a coal oil lamp in his hand when it burst, and the burning oil covered his clothing.  He was completely enveloped in flames, and his father at once wrapped him in a blanket which was near at hand.  Supposing the fire was extinguished he removed the blanket, when the flames burst forth again from his boot, and before it could be extinguished he was so badly burned that his life is despaired of although at last accounts he was alive.
Source: The Bates County Record, November 2, 1878

Spain
A son of Mr. Wm. Spain, living on the Miami, was bitten by a rattlesnake on Wednesday evening last.  Dr. Frizell was summoned and having ascertained that the boy had taken large draughts of whiskey, assured the parents that all had been done that could be to insure his recovery.  We are glad to learn that he is considered out of danger.
Source: The Bates County Record, Butler, MO, July 4, 1868

Steele
The little daughter of Mr. John Steele died Saturday, of diptheria.  This is the second child Mr. Steele has lost within the past ten days of that disease.  We extend our warmest sympathy to the bereaved parents.
Source: The Butler Weekly Times, Butler MO., Dec. 28, 1881

Walter Murphey
Saturday evening between the hours of 6 and 7 oclock the citizens of the town of Adrian, located on the railroad bout ten miles north of this city, were startled at the report of a pistol shot and the announcement that Walter Murphey, a prominent young man of that town, had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a pistol. The facts in regard to the cause of the young man taking his life, as obtained from parties in Adrian by a Times reporter are as follows: Saturday evening Murphey imbibed too freely of bad whiskey, and becoming boisterous and disorderly on the streets it became the duty of city marshal, Will Highly, to arrest him. Seeing the marshal advancing toward him, Murphey retreated to the grocery store of his brother L.H. Murphey, taking refuge in the rear of the building. The marshal followed Murphey into the store and told him that he would have to go before the mayor and answer to the charge of being disorderly on the streets.

At this juncture in the proceedings Murphey became wild with rage, and pulling off his coat and drawing a pistol declared that he would not be taken by any city marshal. The marshal also drew a pistol and was making ready to defend himself, when he was seized from behind by Joe McDonald, a bystander, and firmly held. Taking advantage of the opportunity Murphey, pistol in hand, passed by the marshal and made his way to his sleeping apartments up stairs over the store closely followed by his sister Miss Anna, a young lady 18 or 19 years of age. As the two entered the room at the top of the stairway Miss Murphey embraced her brother tightly around the neck and began begging him to put up his pistol, when the young man in a fit of rage pressed the muzzle of the pistol to his head, behind his right ear and fired, the ball passed through his head and lodged just under the skin over the left ear. Death was instantaneous and the lifeless body was eased to the floor by the loving arms of a devoted sister.

The deceased was about 20 years of age and leaves an estate of $5,000 or over which he obtained a few months ago by the tragic death of his father, John Murphey, who our readers will remember was killed on the streets of Adrian by being thrown from his horse, his foot hanging in the stirrup and the animal dragging and kicking him to death.
Source: The Butler Weekly Times, Butler, MO, Sept. 17, 1890
 
Mr. Webb
of Deepwater township had his leg broken on last Wednesday evening by a team running the wagon over him in some way. Jas. Reynold's team was running at the same time. Mrs. Webb who was driving a buggy some distance ahead narrowly escaped.
Source: The Butler Weekly Times, Butler, MO., Sept. 17, 1890





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