18 November 2010

Obituary--MIner Vanderheide

One of the rather explicit obituaries so common in the earlier years of the local papers.  It has plenty of details plus local color.  It not only gives the details of his death, but also included are hints of the size of the town, compared to today, and some of the businesses at this time.  What it doesn't give are many personal details of his life, like birth date, and where he was born.  

From the 29 April, Fremont Times Indicator:

Miner Vanderheide Meets Untimely End When Horses Become Frightened By Paper in Street
Miner Vanderheide, age 32 was thrown from his wagon and instantly killed, the result of a runaway accident which occurred in the west part of the city Monday afternoon.
Mr. Vanderheide was going to the warehouse of the Co-operative Produce Co. with several cases of eggs and had reached the P. M. tracks when his team became frightened by a piece of paper in the street.  As the horses plunged forward the tongue of the wagon dropped and the animals became uncontrollable and ran toward the building of the produce company, where the wagon struck the platform.  The team then turned toward the street, the wagon striking a telephone pole, throwing the driver headlong over the front of the wagon with terrific force and killing him instantly.  It was evident from the marks on the body that the wagon ran over the head and neck of the unfortunate man.
The body was removed to the undertaking rooms of Scott and Crandell and was taken to the home Monday evening.
Mr. Vanderheide was unmarried and lived with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Vanderheide, three miles south and a half mile west of the city.  He was the only child
The young man was one of the progressive farmers of this community and had a large number of friends who will mourn his untimely death.
The funeral services will be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from the First Christian Reformed church.

The strange thing was that as I read this obituary, I could picture the exact location, and see the exact buildings.  The Co-op is still there--even the platform. 

And so are the tracks, busy today with box cars being loaded with shelled corn from the Co-op.  While they no longer handle eggs there, it is still a striving business.  So too is the now renamed Crandell Funeral Home, although that was moved west of town a few years ago.  Life in a small town, some things change a lot, and other things change very little.

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