John Shellenbarger, Comanche County, Kansas Hosted by RootsWeb, the oldest & largest FREE genealogical site. Click here to visit RootsWeb.
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The Western Star, January 28, 1927.


John Shellenbarger, aged about 67 years, was instantly killed at the railroad crossing on east Main-st., in this city on last Saturday as the westbound passenger train, which is due here at 3:15 p.m. was passing through town. He had been doing some work about Geo. Hearldson's barn and was on his way home, carrying a spade and a pitchfork as he went.

As he walked across the railroad tracks, he was seen to stop and turn partly around and walk back a short distance as though for the purpose of picking up something, and then to start to recross the tracks, and just as he did so, the passenger train came down the track and, apparently, before Mr. Shellenbarger knew anything of the approaching train, he was struck by the engine and hurled to a distance of over sixty feet. Two or three parties who were within a block or two of the scene of the accident, heard the train, as it approached the crossing, give three loud whistles, and also saw that some one had been struck by the engine, and hastened to render any assistance possible. The train stopped as quickly as possible and was backed up to the crossing.

It was evident that death was instantaneous. It was found upon examination that Mr. Shellenbarger had been struck on the left arm and side. There was a flesh wound on his arm and severe internal injuries, also a dislocated collar bone. The neck was also found to be broken. The body was taken to the Roberts undertaking parlors, and an inquest was held on Monday forenoon by Coroner Fred L. Holcomb. The facts brought out were as has been stated above, and the verdict of the coroner's jury was that death was the result of injuries received when the body was struck by the train. No blame was attached to the engineer and fireman on the train, as evidence showed that the proper signals had been given and that the accident was unavoidable. The trainmen reported that they had seen a man on the crossing, and saw him turn and walk off the track to the west but did not see him turn to recross the track until it was too late to stop the train.

It was known that Mr. Shellenbarger had his ears well covered, and that fact may account for his having not been able to hear the approaching train. It was known also, that he had been in failing health of late, and that he usually walked rather slowly, and as though he was in a meditative mood. It is quite evident that he knew nothing of the near approach of the train when he started to cross the track. His home was a short distance east of the railroad.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday afternoon from the Presbyterian church, the pastor, Rev. W. T. Walker, being in charge. Burial was made in Crown Hill cemetery.

Mr. Shellenbarger had been a resident of this county for about 42 years, and was well known here. Since the death of his sister, Miss Ruth on March 3, 1910, he had lived alone, having never married. Another sister, Mrs. Mary Russell, and a brother, James Shellenbarger, preceded him in death. The four came to this county from Illinois in the spring of 1885. Their youthful days were spent in Ohio.

Deceased was a quiet, unobtrusive man, scarcely ever mingling with people, except on strictly business matters. He busied himself working at odd jobs about town, and in all his dealings he was absolutely honest and dependable. The people of Coldwater will miss him. He had the confidence and esteem of all. As far as could be learned, Mr. Shellenbarger had no surviving relatives, with the exception of one niece, Mrs. Ethel Russell-Brown, whose home when last heard from was in Chicago. A telegram was sent her, but she was not present at the funeral.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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