Untimely Deaths

Untimely Deaths

Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor.  ~Homer, Iliad

Transcribed by Cathe Ziereis & Editor Jim Glasheen


Shawano County Journal

30 May 1872


Drowned – Amos D. Wright (brother of Mrs. D. H. Pulcifer, of this village,) was drowned in the Wisconsin River, near Grand Rapids, on the 13th inst., while engaged in rafting lumber.  He left a wife and three children, who reside in Plover.


Shawano County Journal

Thurs 10 1875


Mrs. Keeler.  Last week we chronicled the dangerous illness of Mr. Keeler, of Keshena.  We are now called upon to record the sudden death of his wife.  She injured herself in trying to lift him, and was taken with bleeding at the lungs, caught cold, and was only sick for two days when death ensured.  Mr. Keeler is still lying very low, and for fear of making him worse the death of his wife has not been told him.


Shawano County Journal

13 Jan 1877


 A boy about seven years old, son of Mr. Churchill, of the town of Lessor, was frozen to death last Tuesday night.  In returning home from school he lost his way and wandered around in the woods until, finally becoming overcome with the cold, he sat down and was frozen.  Search was made for him all night, but owing to his tracks being filled up by drifting snow he was not found until the next morning.



Shawano County Journal

 20 Jan 1877


It is with great sorrow that we announce that Jeff. Murdock, a prominent young lawyer of Oshkosh, was burned to death in the fire that destroyed the Revere House last Wednesday morning.  He was a very sociable and companionable young man, and made friends wherever he went.  His future was bright for a prosperous and prominent career, as he was steadily advancing in his chosen profession, the law.  His untimely death caused many a heart-pang among his numerous friends and acquaintances in this city.



Shawano County Journal

10 Feb 1877


The Marinette Eagle says an accident, resulting in the death of Mr. Joseph Parent, occurred between three and four o’clock on Thursday afternoon.  Mr. Parent was at the time of his death employed by the Boom Co., and engaged about two miles up the river, hauling boom timber.  He drove a large team of horses, using one bob on which the timber was fastened, allowing the hind ends to drag.  When just before entering the main road he encountered a rough place, and in passing over it he must have slipped and the entire load of lumber passed over his body about the middle, in which manner he was found by another teamster about half an hour after the accident, which undoubtedly had caused instant death.  The deceased is a young man about twenty years of age, and is a brother of our townsman, Mr. Thomas Parent, as also to Mrs. C.E. Parent, of Menominee, at which place his father resides.



Shawano County Journal

Thurs 19, May 1877


Capt. John Lynch a prominent citizen of Oshkosh fell through a raft of logs one day last week and was drowned before he could get out.  It was at first supposed that he died of heart disease, but an inquest was held and a verdict rendered of accidental drowning


Shawano County Journal

26 Jan 1878


 A man named Tice, 84 years old, was killed on Thursday evening, on the West Wis. R’y two miles above Humbird, by a passing train.  His wife was walking with him.

Saturday, 16 Mar 1878


Town of Herman, March 10, 1878.  Mr. Michael Berdoll, while chopping down a tree last week, was fatally injured by a falling of a limb.


Shawano County Journal

June 24, 1881


One of the fatal accidents so common to lumbermen occurred last week on the Wolf near Shotgun Eddy. Dick Darrow was engaged in shoving off logs near Shotgun Eddy, when he slipped from the log and fell into the river. He must have hit is head against a stone or log, as he hardly seemed to stir at first. One of his companions caught his bare arm, but the flood was so strong that he could not hold him, and he was carried into the rapids. He struck out feebly once or twice and tried to reach shore, but was so nearly paralyzed that his struggles were soon ended. His body was found the next day and brought to Shawano, buried Monday.

Friday, Aug. 5, 1881 


Last Friday was an unfortunate day for the town of Washington.  Gottlieb Rademan, while preparing a granary for grain that other hands must now gather fell and broke his neck.  He lived only a few hours afterward, but was conscious till his death.


Friday, May 22, 1885 

Mr. Thomas O’Brien of Appleton (Not our Shawano Tom), who was on the drive for McMillan & Co., was drowned last week and brought to Shawano last Sunday, and the next day sent home.  He was probably taken with a cramp, as he was a good swimmer and was drowned in still water.


Friday, May 22, 1885 

A sad accident occurred in the town of Grant last week.  A young daughter of Wm. Plaster was playing in a field where her father was burning brush, etc.  Becoming wearied, the little one lay down by a stump and fell asleep; the fire closed around her, and when discovered every vestige of hair and clothing had burned off from the child, and she was blistered all over.  Notwithstanding this, she walked to the house, some 40 rods distant, and lived 8 hours, when she died in great agony.


Friday, July 10, 1885 

Frank Laukatka, alias Frank Sett, a young Bohemian who has made his home at the Wisconsin House for the past 4 months, met his death by drowning on Sunday evening last.  He had been on the Richmond side of the mill-pond the greater part of the afternoon drinking beer with a couple of companions.  Crossing the mill-pond on his way home early in the evening, Laukatka, who was very drunk, became impressed with the idea that he needed a bath, and as soon as a favorable opportunity presented itself leaped into the water.  He almost immediately sunk to the bottom, and was hauled out in an unconscious condition by his companions and at once taken to the Wisconsin House.  There Drs. Bold and Williams worked for some time trying to restore him to consciousness and did so partially, but it was of no use; the man died about 2 hours after his immersion.  The doctors are of the opinion that the beer her had drunk did as much to kill him as the bath.  He was buried Monday.


Friday, Aug. 15, 1884

Man Drowned

Just as we go to press we learn that a man running the threshing machine engine for Geo. Allender, was drowned while attempting to cross the Semple bridge last Thursday night with the engine.  The carriage broke though the bridge, precipitating the engine, driver and horses, into the river below.  The horses escaped without injury, but the man was drowned.  His body was found this morning.  Mr. Geo Allender, who was on the engine, jumped off as it broke through the bridge and thus escaped.


Thursday, Dec. 11, 1890 

A son of John Buser, of Wittenberg, aged about 20 years, was instantly killed Tuesday by a fallen tree or limb.  The young man was well thought of in the county.

Thursday, Jan. 22, 1891 


May Carey, Emma Adsit and Jay Briggs were drowned at Appleton last Saturday while coasting.


Aug. Raasch, of Waukechon, who had is spinal column dislocated by a fall from a hay stack about 3 months ago, died on Saturday last, and was buried Tuesday from the Lutheran church in this city.  The deceased was 38 years of age.  He leaves a wife and family of 7 children, in fair circumstances.

Shawano County Journal

March 12, 1891

(Pella, March 9th, 1891)

A sad accident occurred in our town last week, the particulars of which are briefly as follows:  Henry Deletzke, whose farm is on the south-east border of this town, was on Monday afternoon, March 2nd, and engaged in getting timber out, about a mile from home, near Mr. Martin’s.  A tree had been cut which in falling lodged, and as it could not be easily pulled down the horses were attached to it, and just as Mr. D. was about to give the word to the boy who was holding the team to go ahead, he noticed the track of some animal and stooped down directly under the lodged tree to look at it more closely, and while he was thus looking down, the team of young quick horses suddenly started and pulled the tree down, which struck Mr. Deletzke across the back, injuring his spine so that it proved fatal.  He was carried to his home, where he lived until the Wednesday morning following, when at about 8:00 he died.  The funeral was held at the Lutheran church, near which the deceased lived, the service being conducted by Rev. J C Schwan.  The sadly bereaved family has the sympathy of all their towns-people, a large number of whom attended the funeral.

Alfred Deletzke came home from college at St. Louis to attend his father’s funeral last Saturday.

Shawano County Journal

Thursday, April 23, 1891

Drowned In Embarrass River

Julius Nooski (Neuske), an employee of Wm. Smith’s, in the town of Pella, was drowned near there on Saturday last while at work on Smith’s log drive.  He was inexperienced in the business, as well as unable to swim, and in trying to ride a log fell off into deep water.  A companion was nearby, but there being no boats at hand, could render no assistance.  Nooski floated downstream some distance, and made several attempts to catch onto the bridge above the mill as he passed under, but finally sand to rise no more.  At last accounts his body had not been found.  He was about 35 years of age, and leaves a wife and several children.



Thursday, July 13, 1893 

An 8 year old boy by the name of Spuhn, living with his parents in the town of Washington, was thrown from a wagon near Cecil on Sunday last and instantly killed. 



Thursday, Sept. 1, 1893 

George Gates, a section boss at Wittenberg, was struck by a train Saturday afternoon last and almost instantly killed.


Thursday, Sept. 7, 1893 


Relatives in this city and Hartland received news Sunday of the drowning of Herman Krueger at Monico Junction Saturday afternoon, while fishing.  The remains arrived Monday and were buried the same day in Hartland.  The deceased was a cousin of Chas. Krueger.


Thursday, Sept. 7, 1893 

E H Rummelee, for many years chief engineer of the Lake Shore road, was killed at Parish Saturday afternoon last while attempting to save the life of a child which had crept onto the tracks in advance of an approaching train.  He succeeded in getting the child off the track, but lost his own life in the attempt.



Shawano County Journal

Thursday, May 9, 1895


Mr. A. Wagner, of Maple Grove, called at the Journal office yesterday and reported the fact of a fatality from lightning stroke in his town, though unable to give but the meagerness particulars. During a severe electrical storm which prevailed on the evening of Saturday lightning struck the house of a man by the name of KITCHENMASTER at Rose Lawn and instantly killed that gentleman, the bolt passing through the roof of the building and striking the bed on which the man lay, strange as it may seem, his wife who lay beside him on the bed, was uninjured.



Shawano County Advocate

Thursday, Nov. 14, 1895


Aug. Westphal, of Pella, was accidentally killed Friday while engaged in sawing wood with a wood sawing machine run by steam.  The belt ran off the wheel on the engine and wound around the shaft.  Mr. Westphal made an attempt to get to the engine and turn off the steam, and in doing so had to go between the sawing-machine and the engine.  In less time than it takes to tell about it the belt pulled the machine over and against the hot boiler with Mr. Westphal in between.  He was terribly mutilated and lived but a short time after the accident occurred.  The funeral took place last Monday.


Thursday, April 8, 1897 

Indian Found Dead

James Wahsiequenette Drowns In Eight Inches Of Water

There was considerable excitement in Shawano Sunday afternoon when it was reported that an Indian had been foully murdered on or near Pulcifer’s farm.  It wasn’t long before Sheriff James F George and several others were hurrying to the place and there they found the dead body of James Wahsiequenette.  The body was found by Louis Gautheir and Charles Fishnotette while driving into Shawano from Keshena Sunday afternoon.  They saw the young man lying in the field downward and immediately investigated.  As soon as they saw Wahsiequenette’s face they knew that he was dead and immediately drove on to Shawano and notified the authorizes.  The exact causes of the man’s death are unknown but it is possible that he drowned himself in about 8 inches of water.  Several persons testified that they saw Wahsiequenette in Shawano Saturday evening evidently under the influence of liquor.  It is generally believed that while in this condition he started for his home on the reservation.  Getting as far as the Pulciifer farm, he climbed over the fence and lying down on the ground went to sleep.  It happened that he choose a portion of ground that was low and when the heavy rains of Saturday night fell, the place where he lay was soon several inches deep in water.  It was in this way he probably suffocated.  A post mortem examination was held before Justice Bold, Drs. Partlow and Williams officiating.  The jury returned a verdict of death due to asphyxiation or drowning due to disease and alcoholism.  It seems that three Indians tried to carry him home on Saturday night but were finally compelled to leave him as they could not induce him to go further.  The post mortem examination showed that the Indian was suffering from acute inflammation of the bowels and it is doubtful if he could have lived more than a few hours even if he had received medical aid.  A portion of the intestine was found almost rotted away with gangrene.  Wahsiequenette was a Menominee Indian between 25 and 30 years old, married and had a comfortable home on the Keshena reservation.




Shawano County Journal

Aug 12 1897


Shadow of Death falls on the campers of Shawano Lake

Dewey George, the son of D H George killed

by the accidental discharge of a shot gun

The boy dies before aid arrives

Camp and City Sympathies.

Shawano Lake, West Shore, Aug 10. Darkness has fallen upon the merry party assembled on the shores of Shawano Lake and that dreaded visitor, Death, has claims one of the members of Canvas City for its own. It was but this morning that a cooling breeze gently stirred the waters and all seemed unusually happy and serene. The pencil that was sharpened to describe the excitement of a yacht race or to dwell upon the passing follies of life in camp is by sad force of circumstances compelled to dwell upon the most serious subjects that confronts life. It was well along in the afternoon that the Old Lady of Lake was sailing in a fair breeze when she was hailed by a rowboat in which were Mr. Humphrey, Mr. Wallrich, A C Weber and Prof. Reynolds. It was impossible to understand their message at first and when it was finally learned that Dewey George had accidently shot and killed himself, we all most earnestly hoped that there was some mistake.

Slowly the boat pulled for Gumaer's and the sad news was substantiated. Lying in the boat was the body of Dewey George. Willing hands and tender hearts were those that lifted the precious burden and started on towards Shawano for the final homecoming. Here is the sad story as told by John Winans, the companion of the unfortunate boy; "It was along in the morning that Dewey and I started for ducks over on Loon Lake. Arriving there we went to a Little lake some rods to the east known as Kemp's lake. Here we found an old scow half filled with water. We started to bail her out and after we had most of the water out Dewey told me to go ahead and bail out the stern and he would get the guns and push the bow of the boast into the water. Dewey picked up my guns and started into the boat. He must have caught his toe or something, anyway he fell striking the gun against the boat with sufficient force to badly bend the half-cocked triggers. I had my back to Dewey when I heard the report of the gun, I turned around and saw him falling into the water on his face. I picked him out of the water and put him on the shore. "Go for the doctor", were the only words he said to me. For a minute I stood there. I did not know what to do. I looked at Dewey who was unconscious and then ran for the Kemp's house a few rods away. Sending them to where I had left Dewey, I threw off my shoes and ran to camp. There I found Mr. George and told him of the accident. Then I returned to where I had left Dewey showing the place to many friends who hastened to the place in hopes of being of some service." There were plenty of most willing person's to offer aid but when the boy's body was reached he had passed beyond "the smiling and the weeping." There was on his face no look of pain and he seemed to have fallen into a deep sleep. It was a great comfort to know that death which must result from such a wound, was mercifully swift and there was not one when the sad news was learned but felt it a real privilege to share in the awful blow.

The news was first brought to Shawano by Mr George, who as soon as John Winans told him that Dewey was shot, harnessed up his horse and drove to Shawano, returning in an incredible short time with Drs Cantwell, Partlow and McComb. The physicians say that the boy must have died within a minute or two, he having received the full charge from a twelve-gage shell in the abdomen. Not only was the camp under the shadow of gloom which spread with the news of the accident, but all Main street seemed hushed and silent Tuesday evening. Everywhere men and women were speaking of Dewey, and each took a special pleasure in recounting some unforgotten kindness received at the boy's hand. Among his friends, too, there was manifested genuine and sincere regret. As for his special chums, they seemed to appreciate their lost most deeply, and each in his own way paid some special tribute to his memory. As for his parents, his brothers and sister, their grief is much too sacred a thing to be spoken of by an outsider.

Only those who have experienced a similar loss can appreciate such sorrow as must be theirs. There were hosts of friends of the boy and his parents who were most anxious to contribute their sympathies or be of some assistance, and there were many more who longed to do something but feared to do so, feeling that such a privilege belonged to only the dearest and nearest of friends. There have never in times past when sorrow has fallen upon our city, been more willing hands to help the affliction than have those of Mr George and his family. Of Dewey I need say but little, the memory of his life is still to fresh in the hearts of everyone. He was a manly fellow, 18 years old, fond of manly sports, and if he was bold and daring, he was as tender-hearted as he was fearless. Perhaps his most beautiful characteristic was his great love for his mother, but this too, is a sacred thing and an outside friend must only mention it. Perhaps I will be pardoned for being purely personal for a paragraph. The last time I saw Dewey George I was starting for the lake. He wanted to know how I was going up and when I told him I was going to walk he insisted on letting him drive me up. The next time I saw him, he was being Borne home, his lips hushed in death. This is only an incident but it is characteristic of all friendship with him. Alan S Rogers.

The funeral services were held from the home this afternoon and were conducted by Rev. J V Hughes, of Merrill. The bearers were the former associates of Dewey George; Charles Anderson, John Winans, Louis Grimmer, Alvin Andrews, Frank Porter and Jay Wright. W W Pennington and Mrs Pennington, sister of the deceased, of Bassett, Iowa, the immediate members of the family and a great number of friends were present at the funeral. There were many beautiful flowers and pieces sent in by loving friends. The internment was in the family lot in the Shawano cemetery. The north shore of Lake Shawano is now deserted.



Thurs 17 Nov 1898

Dear Hunter Shot

Aug. Wendt, Jr. of the Town of Fairbanks met with a tragic end yesterday.  He was hunting deer in company with two others, and they had seated themselves on a log when a rifle shot was heard in the vicinity and Wendt fell, saying “I’m shot.”  “Give my regards to father and mother—good bye” he continued, and was dead.  The bullet entered his back near the spine and came out of the right breast.  Frank Graef and Chas Engel, of Caroline, brought the news to the Journal office this morning, and up to the time they left home it was not known who fired the fatal shot.  Deceased was about 22 years of age and is the son of Aug. Wendt, a farmer who resides in the eastern part of the town of Fairbanks.