04 December 2010

Obituary--Benjamin Meyers

This is one of those obituaries that have the rather explicit details you would never see today, but were oh so common back in the early 1900's.  After describing the death, however, the article goes on to give dates and other vital statistics about his life. 

From the 24 July 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Benjamin Meyers Meets Instant Death While Laying Tile in Excavation--Was Forty-nine Years Old
This community was shocked last Thursday afternoon by the news of the sudden and untimely death of Benjamin Meyers.  Mr. Meyers was laying tile in a drain nine feet deep and two feet wide when the side gave way and literally buried its victim alive.  although vigorous efforts were made immediately to exhume the unfortunate man, life was extinct before the body was uncovered.
Harvey Vanderleest, who was assisting Mr. Meyers and working a few feet behind him in the excavation, noticed the impending danger and shouted a warning which Meyers did not have time to heed.  A long sharp gash on the head indicated that the victim of the accident attempted to protect himself by shielding himself with his shovel but the impact of the moving earth imbedded the implement in his skull and it is believed by some that this blow caused instant death.
Mr. Meyers had taken the contract to build the drain and was working at the time on the farm of Henry Bowman, five miles northeast of the city.
Mr. Meyers was born in Allegan county, Michigan, December 25, 1864.  He was one of a family of nine children, seven of whom survive him.  They are Aaron Meyers, of Seattle, Wash.; William and Henry Meyers and Mrs A. Baars, of Fremont; and John, Harm, and Gerrit Meyers, of Holland.  His parents and brother, Joe, preceded him.
As a boy Mr. Meyers assisted on his father's farm and remained there until he was 20 years of age.  He also worked two years in the bark woods.  He has been a resident of Fremont for about 27 years and was always a familiar figure around the DeHaas hotel where he boarded most of the time while in town.  He was never married.
Few men of the town will be more missed.  Mr. Meyers was always distinguished amont his friends for his rigid honesty and unstinted generosity.  No cause of charity ever failed of his support when circumstances permitted him to assist.  No friend was ever allowed to want when he could render aid.  He was eccentric in many ways but his shortcomings were subordinated to a temperament of generous impulses.
The funeral services were held Monday afternoon from the Christian Reformed church and were largely attended.  Rev. H. Keegstra, pastor of the church, who conducted the services, spoke in both Holland and English.  The body was taken to Holland Monday night for burial in the family lot.
Mr. and Mrs. Baars and son, George, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Meyers and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyers and John and Harm Meyers accompanied the body to Holland.

Aside from the graphic description of the accident, this is a rather charming obituary.  The description of his life and character makes me think he is someone I would have liked to meet.  I love when an obituary gives you a taste of the personality, and not must bare facts.

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