26 July 2012

Obituaries: Hazel Hopkins

I missed Tuesdays post again due to connectivity problems.  Hmmm.  I wonder if all the road construction in town is interfering with our connection?
Anyway, this is not technically an obituary, but it is a report about a girls death.  Sadly this type of death seems to have been all too common.  And it still occasionally happenes today.  

From an unspecified paper.  The only date on it is "1930 -31?" hand-written across the top.


Hazel Hopkins, 14, Succumbs After Kerosene Explosion

Hesperia, May 31.  One girl is dead and another is near death in a Fremont hospital following the explosion of kerosene used by the children in an attempt to start a fire in a stove at the farm home of Jesse Marten, two miles south of here about 8 o'clock Wednesday evening.
Hazel Hopkins, 14-year-old sister of Mrs. Marten, died at 2 a. m. Thursday in Fremont hospital and Florence, 12-year-old daughter of the Martens, is in critical condition.
Mr. and Mrs. Marten and their four smaller children were visiting a neighbor at the time of the accident.  The home was not damaged to any extent from the fire that followed the explosion.
According to a story told by Hezel just after the explosion the two girls were filling a lamp with kerosene and also were using the oil stove, The oil exploded and enveloped both girls in flames.  Hazel dashed from the house and ran across the road to the home of Duncan McCallum, owner of the farm on which the Martens lived.  She hurridly told her story of the accident and McCallum  rushed to the Marten home and found it in darkness.
He tried several doors before he gained admission to the house and then he could not find Florence at once.  After a search he found her unconscious in a bedroom.  Her clothes were virtually burned from her body.
McCallum carried Florence to his home and a physician was called.  Both girls later were removed to Gerber Memorial hospital in Fremont.  According to McCallum, Hazel's clothing was burned from her body when she arrived at the McCallum home and she was soon lapsed into unconsciousness from which she never recovered.
The Martens have lived on the farm about a year.

This was followed, apparently in the next week's paper by the following notice.


Hesperia, June 6.  Hopes are held for the recovery of Florence Marten, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Morten, who was severely burned by explosion of kerosene, which caused the death of Hazel Hopkins, 14, sister of Mrs. Morten.  Miss Morten is in a hospital at Fremont.
Funeral services for Miss Hopkins were held Monday at the Lambers chapel at Hesperia and the body was taken to Fremont cemetery for burial.

Several things come to my attention on reading these clippings. 
One of course is the causal attention paid to the spelling of names.  Hazel became Hezel just a few lines later.  And the Marten family became the Morten family a week later.
The second is trying to identify the paper.  Because of the byline noting Hesperia, at first thought it would be the Fremont papers.  But the people are from the Hesperia area, so perhaps the articles are from the Hesperia paper.  The only thing that puzzles is again the Hesperia byline at the beginning of the articles.  
But until I can get my hands on Hesperia microfilm, which I am not sure exists, I guess I will have to continue puzzle about.

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