Early Days of Greenbush

EARLY DAYS IN GREENBUSH: Three Fatal Accidents


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About three miles west of Avon on section 22 in Greenbush township, Warren county, Illinois, on the public highway there is a covered bridge across a small stream. Up the bill, a short distance east of this bridge, William Lloyd was killed, January 21, 1862.

On that day, James Marshall, who had been engaged in making a sleigh for himself, was going to Israel SpurgeonÔs to return some tools he had borrowed, and had put his shotgun in the sleigh thinking he would find some prairie chickens before he returned. He met his uncle, William Lloyd, on the hill east of the bridge, and stopped to talk with him. Lloyd, thinking he would play a joke on James, reached for the shotgun; and as he took hold of it, the horses started and the gun was discharged, killing Mr. Lloyd, the whole charge striking his head and fracturing the skull.

At the place where the covered bridge now stands, in October 1885, Thomas Crabb was engaged in building a bridge. He had in his employ Stephen Balderson, who then lived west of Avon in the edge of Warren county. They were placing the stringers or girders across the stream, and Balderson had placed a prop under one end of a long heavy stick of timber; this prop slipped out and the timber fell on Balderson, injuring him so badly that he died the same day, in the evening.

In the fall of 1888, Charles West was running a steam threshing-machine in Greenbush township. He had finished a job of threshing at Simon SailorÕs, and on the eleventh day of September, 1888, he started from SailorÕs to Wm. SmithÕs to thresh for him. George Stuckey rode on the engine with West and Harvey Gordon; Edward Long and Joseph Balderson rode on the separator. When they came to the bridge across the stream where the covered bridge now stands, West got off the engine and examined the bridge. Stuckey and Gordon also got off and crossed over the bridge. West said the bridge was dangerous and told Long and Balderson to get off. He then mounted his engine alone and started across.

When the engine reached the center of the bridge, bridge and engine went down with a crash, breaking steam pipes and other portions of the engine. West was caught between the engine and the tank wagon. He was immediately enveloped in steam, so that the men could scarcely see him. They found that one of WestÕs hands was clinched on the throttle and the other on the steering-wheel. After removing him from the engine, they placed him on bed quilts and carried him east, up the hill, to the residence of B. C. Welsh. Drs. Clayberg and Weaver were called who attended to his injuries. It was found that one leg was broken and his jaw was also broken; he had a bad scalp wound, and also injured by inhaling hot steam. This accident occurred about noon, and West died that night about eight or nine oÕclock.

It is said of Charles West that he had been a good railroad engineer, and was the man that placed the locomotive vane on top of the passenger depot of the C., B. & Q. R. R., at Galesburg, Illinois.

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