Postville, Allamakee co. Iowa
May 17, 1928
Takes Nap in Auto Parked on Railway - Ben Bechtel of Ludlow has Miraculous Escape When Train Demolishes Car
One of the narrowest escapes from what might easily have been a fatality happened in east Postville about five o'clock Sunday morning, when a fast Milwaukee freight, eastbound, hit an auto parked on the rightofway (sic) at the McMaster crossing, a half-mile east of town, and little more than woke up its lone sleeping occupant.
As we hear it, a company of folks from Ludlow township were holding a neighborhood dance in the Old Stone House last Saturday night, and among those present was one Ben Bechtel of that locality, there alone in an Oldsmobile sedan. Some time during the wee sma' (sic) hours he got into his car and left, presumably for home. However, in some manner he got off the accustomed trail, highway 51, and came up Postville way by the route through Bethel. On arriving at the McMaster railway crossing, a half mile east of this city, for some unknown reason he drove his car onto the middle of the track at this point with its nose headed eastward and there went to sleep.
At a little before five o'clock that morning an eastbound fast freight, heavily loaded and with a clear block through Postville came tearing down the track at terrific speed and with heavy tonnage and never noticed the car, perhaps, until they were close upon it, and struck it squarely in the tail end, hurled it over 100 feet and the car turned over on its side as it landed. As soon as possible the train was brought to a stop and the train crew rushed to the car to see if anyone was inside and beneath the wreckage, and here they found Mr. Bechtel, not much injured and wondering what all the excitement was about.
In the meantime, Frank Bloxham of this city, hearing the engine whistle for a prolonged period of time, sensed the fact that something must be wrong, hopped into his auto and drove down to the scene of the wreck, getting there just in time to bring Mr. Bechtel up to the Kelleher hospital accompanied by the conductor of the freight. Mr. Bechtel remained at the hospital all day and we understand that a badly bruised hip was all that showed up in the way of injuries, and Sunday evening some of his folks came over from Ludlow and took him home
The back end of the car is badly caved in and the frame bent, also a front wheel was broken, but the front end of the car looks nearly as good as it did the day it came out of the factory. The car has been at the Hecker garage and has proven quite a drawing card. How in the world anybody ever got out of it alive is little less than a miracle.
At the hospital Mr. Bechtel said he had been at some of the neighbors in the vicinity of the accident and endeavored to wake someone up to come and pull him off the track, but not being able to wake anyone had gone back into the car and went to sleep. Inquiry among the residents of the vicinity discloses the fact that no one thereabouts heard any alarm at their doors.
[transcribed by M.D., March 2010
Postville, Allamakee co., Iowa
May 24, 1928
"Pete" Welch is Seriously Burned By Electric Juice - Comes in Contact With High Voltage Line While Repairing Transformer
"Pete" Welch of McGregor, an electrician in the employ of the Interstate Power Co., and well known in Postville, received nearly fatal electrical burns Sunday at Harmony, Minn., while in the pursuit of his duties, when in some unknown manner he came in contact with the high voltage wires and 32,000 volts of the deadly fluid seared and burned his right arm and leg.
As we hear it, Pete went to Harmony to fix something about one of the huge transformers, and he went alone. He threw both switches, which is supposed to cut out all the current, and then, with a big wrench in each hand climbed on top of the transformer to start his work. And that is all Pete can remember. He was hurled from the top of the transformer against the fence that encloses it, and he lay on the ground in awful agony and was screaming at the top of his voice from the grievous wounds inflicted, when a passerby was attracted by his outcries and peering through the fence discovered the unfortunate man on the ground. Being afraid to enter the enclosure, the man hurried for help and the first person he chanced to meet was a woman, and fortunately also a nurse, who rushed to Pete's rescue and directed his removal.
An ambulance was at once secured and Pete hurried to Mercy hospital Cresco, where his injuries were cared for. Pete's right arm suffered most, it being terribly burned, the hand being almost charred. His right leg also suffered severely. For a day or so he had no control whatever of either the leg or arm, and it was for a time feared he might never use them again. However, he is gradually recovering the use of the leg. It was also thought at first that it might be necessary to amputate the arm, but the latest advice from the hospital is to the effect that the arm will also be saved, which is indeed gratifying news to both Pete and his many friends.
It is a terrible mishap and the unbounded sympathy of all is with Pete in his affliction. How he ever got out of his dilemma alive is the wonder of all. The mystery of the whole affair is how did this accident happen when both switches were thrown open?
Christ Ruckdaschel Born in Mid-Ocean 75 Years Ago
Last Thursday marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the birth of Chris Ruckdaschel of this city and to commemorate the event the children and their families were invited in for a picnic supper and had a most enjoyable time. Those present were Messrs. and Mesdames F.C. Ruckdaschel, Vic Ruckdaschel, Walter Ruckdaschel, Ed Oldag and E.K. Ruckdaschel. It may not be generally known, but Mr. Ruckdaschel is one man, at least, in Postville, who is absolutely unable to visit the exact place of his birth as he was born "somewhere in mid-ocean" while his parents were enroute to this country to make their home.
Two Weddings of Local Couples at Charles City
On Saturday, May 12th, Kenneth Ellis of this city and Miss Agnes Olson of Clermont hied away to Charles City and were joined in wedlock. The groom is a son of Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Ellis of this city and the bride a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Olson. The Herald joins their numerous friends in the wish that health, happiness and prosperity may be theirs abundantly.
Howard Leui, a son of Mr. and Mrs. John Leui was married on May 17th to Miss Elizabeth Wells, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Wells of route 1, Postville. The happy event took place at Charles City. With numerous friends of the contracting parties the Herald joins in extending its well wishes.
Miss Lois Harris Given Farewell Party Sunday
Miss Delores Welzel gave a neat surprise on her friend, Lois Harris, by inviting a number of Lois' friends to a picnic dinner at her home Sunday. Those present report having an enjoyable time. The following were present: Irving Deering, Miss Gertrude Schultz, Clifford Rounds, Miss Jeanette Bloxham, Harry Gordon, Miss Lois Harris, Kenneth Schultz, Miss Esther Deering, Milo Gericke, Miss Frances Casten, Willard Schutte, Miss Florence Casten.
An Old Resident of This Vicinity Passes Sunday
Harvey French was born Feb. 14, 1853, in Ripley county, Indiana, and died May 20, 1928, in Postville, Iowa, thus attaining the age of 75 years, three months and six days. In 1880 he was united in marriage with Orpha Payne. Ten children were born to this union, two of whom preceded their father in death. The eight children who, with the widow, survive are: James French of Freeport, Ill; Jane of Seattle, Wash.; Mrs. Will Dundee of Volney, Mrs. Frank Wertz of Elgin, Mrs. Cora Lennon of this city, John French and Evelyn still at home and Leroy of Elkader. Besides these he is survived by eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and three sisters, Mrs. Jonathan Southward of Glenwood, Minn; Mrs. Will Kenyon of Cambridge and Mrs. Elizabeth Kenyon of Ortley, S. Dakota. Mr. French was confined to his bed almost six months with acute arthritis and ofttimes suffered intense agony, but he himself was patient. He was an industrious, law abiding citizen and kindly disposed, being held in high esteem by all who knew him. He was baptized February first and received into St. Paul's Lutheran church. Frequently did he pray to God for deliverance from evil, and the night before God took him home he asked his pastor to pray with him, and when he had finished he said, "I am ready." A blessed sleep. The funeral was held from St. Paul's church in this city at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon and was largely attended. Interment in Postville cemetery.
Grading of Williams street from the Herald office corner has been in progress this week by Arthur Swenson and son Hall preparatory to the spreading of crushed rock. There seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the manner in which this work is to be paid for, someone starting the rumor that the town was paying for the hauling of the gravel. This report is in error. The property owners pay for the crushed rock and its hauling, while the town pays for the grading only, just as it does were the street to be paved.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred J. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Huebner and son George, leave Postville today on what looks like a most delightful outing by auto. Their first objective is Baltimore, then Washington, D.C., New York City, and Niagara Falls. In New York they will visit the Otto Albert family. They expect to be gone about a month and here's hoping the trip produces all the pleasure anticipated from it.
Alton Harris Passes Away at His Home in Minneapolis, Minn.
Alton Harris, son of James M. Harris and his wife Margaret Jemison Harris, was born on the 29th day of January, 1881, in Postville, Iowa, and died at his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Saturday, May 19, 1928, at 9:33 a.m., thus attaining the age of 47 years, three months and 20 days. He received his education in the public schools of this city, where for many years he operated a tonsorial parlor, afterward moving to Minneapolis, where he worked at his trade as barber until a few weeks previous to his demise. For twelve years he had been afflicted with cardiac dilation, from which medical aid seemed to afford only temporary relief. About two weeks ago he was taken to the hospital but an operation at that time seemed inadvisable, and consequently his wish to be removed to his own home was granted. His condition under a new treatment seemed to be improving. However, bronchial pneumonia set in, causing his immediate death. It is not for us to eulogize or criticise the departed, and little would it matter if we did. Suffice it to say that he was eminently loyal to his country, party, parents, family and friends. In late years the family attended and was interested in one of our newly organized English Lutheran missions and received the ministrations of Rev. R.H. Gerberding. Those of the immediate family who mourn his early demise are his aged parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Harris, of this city, his wife, Edith Wegner Harris, and his daughter Genevieve. The funeral was held from St. Paul's Lutheran church in this city at two-thirty on Tuesday afternoon, Rev. E.T. Finck officiating, and the large number of people who attended to pay a last tribute to the memory of one whom they had known, and the numerous beautiful floral tributes all bore eloquent testimony of the many friends he had. Interment was made in Postville cemetery.
Card of Thanks.
We hereby extend to our many neighbors and friends of Postville and vicinity our heartfelt and sincere thans for their many kindly acts, and expressions of sympathy in our recent sad bereavement, the loss of our beloved and only son. Also we [remainder cut off]
Miss O'Boy Passes.
Miss Mary O'Boy of Castalia died at St. Joseph's hospital in New Hampton on Monday, May 14, 1928 of intestinal obstruction. She had been ill since February 25th, this year, and a strenuous fight for her life was made by physicians and her loved ones, but their efforts were of no avail. She was born in Postville, Iowa, May 14, 1886, and was the daughter of Patrick and Rose O'Boy. In 1898 the family moved to Castalia which has since been her home. It will be noted that her death took place on her birthday anniversary. In the death of Miss O'Boy, Castalia people keenly realize their loss. She was a true friend and deeply devoted to her loved ones. While she has gone from the scenes, the conflicts, the sorrows and pleasures of life, she will still live in the hearts of those who knew her best. She was a kind, loving daughter, and her devotion to the family circle had no limit. Funeral services were held Friday morning, May 18th, from St. Francis church, Ossian. Very Rev. M.J. Thiltgen officiating. The pall bearers were Wm. Beckman, E.E. Malley, P.M. Mitchell, Earl Bachelder, Elzie Albright and James Floody. -- Ossian Bee
She is survived by her mother, Mrs. Rose O'Boy; her brothers, Patrick of Seattle, Wash; John of Miles City, Mont; Tony of New Bedford, Mass; Fred at home and one sister, Mrs. Rose Duffina of Newport, R.I. who arrived some time ago to assist care for her sister during her illness. Those from a distance who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. John Galagher of Waverly, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Gallagher of Mason City, Mrs. James Hardy of Des Moines, Mr. and Mrs. Tony O'Boy of New Bedford, Mass.
Mr. and Mrs. John Dulin returned to heir home in Oskaloosa Wednesday morning after a week's visit here in the home of her mother, Mrs. C. Beucher. John is just a bit weak at present, having just emerged from a hospital in his home city, where he underwent a serious surgical operation. He is roadmaster on the Rock Island and has been inthe railroad service for 47 years, working [remainder cut off]
There was a large a happy gathering of relatives Sunday at Clermont, where good eats and splendid sociability made it an occasion long to be remembered. Those present were Messrs. and Mesdames George Schultz, Arthur Schultz, Alvin Schultz, W.J.H. Schultz, Carl G. Welzel, Lawrence Welzel, Cevert Meyer, Glen Meyer, Wm. Baltz, Otto Oldag, Henry Oldag, F.C. Schultz, J.P. Welzel, Emil Aulerich; also Harvey and Pauline Schultz, Mrs. Conrad Welzel.
Alvin Snodgrass and son Hilary of LaCrosse, Wis., were Postville visitors Sunday and called at the home of Mrs. J.S. Dresser and Lawrence. Alvin will be remembered as the husband of the late Gertie Harman Snodgrass. His son has just completed a term of enlistment with the U.S. marines and has done a heap of steamboating having visited the Philipines and China among other countries during his term of service.
[transcribed by S.F., November 2007 and M.D., March 2010]
Postville, Allamakee co., Iowa
May 31, 1928
G.M. Country Club Held Last Meeting of Year
The Grand Meadow Country Club held its last meeting at the home of Mrs. Otto Oldag last Thursday. The meeting was called to order by the president and after a short business meeting the following program was given:
Song by Club
Reading by Hazel Moritz
Piano Solo by Delia Moon
Song by Club
Following this, Louisa Oldag, leader of the project work, gave the first lesson on undergarments, after which the hostess served a very delicious luncheon.
A Happy Picnic
There was a happy gathering of friends at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Duwe last Sunday and all in attendance report a very enjoyable time. Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reinhardt, Clarence Reinhardt, John Burrow, Fred Hensman, Henry Althouse and their families, Mr. and Mrs. Will Busacker, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Busacher, Mr. and Mrs. W.J.H. Schultz, Harvey and Pauline Schultz, Mrs. Minnie Welzel and Milton Schierholz.
Walter Clarence Gran, the blind impersonator, who will present "The Sign of the Cross" at St. Paul's Lutheran church in this city on Wednesday evening, June 6, at eight o'clock. Mr. Gran lost his sight through accident at the age of 17 years, and is a graduate of the North Dakota school for the blind. His poise is so perfect and his gestures are so natural and graceful it is hard to believe that he is totally blind. This is one of the highest class attractions ever brought to Postville and no one should fail to see and hear this talented man.
Wm. Koenig, Aged 82, Passed Away Sunday.
William Frederick Koenig was born Aug. 19, 1845, in Lever Soender, province of Westphalia, Germany, and died at the home of his son, Fred, west of Postville, on Sunday morning, May 27, 1928, aged 82 years, nine months and eight days. He was received as a member of the Lutheran church as a child through baptism, and later became a member through confirmation. In 1868 he was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte Meyer. Their union was blessed with nine children, one of whom died in infancy. In 1871 they moved to America, at first settling in the vicinity of Garnavillo, then in Monona and in 1884 the family took possession of a farm in Winneshiek county. In 1904 deceased retired but he and his wife continued to reside on the home place with his son Fred. His fathful wife passed away thirteen years ago. He was an honest, hard working man, a good citizen, friend and neighbor, held in high esteem by a wide circle of acquaintances and friends. Those who mourn his departure are his children -- Mrs. Louise Kaiser of Monona; Mrs. Minnie Poesch, Mrs. Mary Schroeder and Mrs. Rosella Ruckdaschel, all of Postville; Louis Koenig, William Koenig and Fritz Koenig, all of Castalia; Mrs. Lena Christofferson of Cedar Rapids; also 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends. The funeral was held from St. Paul's Lutheran church in this city at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon, Rev. E.T. Finck officiating, and was largely attended. Interment in the Postville cemetery.
[transcribed by S.F., November 2007]