26 February 2010

Obituary--Louis Putnam

In another of the unusual deaths, I present Mr. Putnam. This is another where the reporting is so different from what would be found in a community weekly paper today.

From the 9 October 1913 Fremont Times Indicator


Louis Putnam, Aged 58 Years, is Strangled to Death When Sleeve Catches in Machinery

Louis Putnam, Aged 58 years met a violent death in Wolters Bros.' grist mill in the north side of town about five o'clock Tuesday afternoon. No one witnessed the accident and it is not definitely known just how it occurred, but the position of the body when found indicated the probable course of the accident which caused the man's death.
It is believed that Mr. Putnam went up to the third floor of the building to inspect some machinery. While there his sleeve caught in a sprocket wheel from which the chain had been removed. It appears that one of his arms was drawn violently across his neck and over his shoulder thus strangling him to death. The sprocket wheel upon which his sleeve caught was revolving at the rate of sizty revolutions a minute. The bones of one arm were broken in severaal places, but the body was not mutilated.
Mr. Putnam was seen for the last time about 20 minutes before the body was discovered. He was then assisting John Wolters, one of the members of the firm, in preparing a grist for a patron of the mill. He was grinding flour just previous to this.
After he had disappeared Mr Wolters discovered that the belt on the dynamo was sliping and he shut down the machinery. Before starting up again he went through the mill to notify the employees, a precaution always followed, and found the miller's body suspended from the machinery on the third floor.
Mr Putnam has been in the employ of Wolters Bros. for about three years and came here from Shelby. During his residence here he has made many friends and has been popular with those who have become acquiainted with him.
Besides a wife he leaves three sons, namely Frank Putnam of Kalamazoo, Harold Putnam of Benton Harbor and Albert Putnam of South Haven.
It is probable that the body will be taken to Niles for burial.

And sure enough, a note in the paper a week later said:

The funeral services of Louis Putnam, who was killed in Wolter's grist mill last week Tuesday, were held at the family residence in the northeast part of the city last Thursday afternoon. Rev. J. F. Bowerman, pastor of the Methodist church, officiated. The body was removed Friday to Niles for burial and was accompanied by the members of the immediate family.

Thankfully these work-related injuries like this and some of the previous have been prevented in recent years for factory workers.

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