Ryan Conklin, One of Our Oldest and Most Highly Esteemed Citizens Thrown From His Wagon and Instantly Killed
Another old settler has been taken from our midst. Monday morning H. R. Conklin was killed by the running away of his horses. He came to town with a team and lumber wagon, and while crossing the railroad tracks on his way home his team became frightened by the ringing of the bell of an engine and started to run. The engineer seeing this immediately stopped the engine, but it was too late. The team ran north, and running into a large stone near the watering trough by Mrs. Pratt’s, broke the back axle and the wheel on one side came off, letting one corner of the wagon onto the ground. Soon the tongue was loosened from the neck yoke and it was carried along and run into the earth and broke, the shock throwing Mr. Conklin into the air about twenty feet. He fell to the earth, and in a minute the heavy wagon box had fallen on him. Kind hands were ready to help him and he was taken into the store of Michael Black and laid down. Dr. Hand was present and stated that he could not live. He breathed, after being brought in, three or four times and then life was pronounced extinct.
Henry Ryan Conklin was born in New York State in 1823, being the son of Henry and Emma Conklin, his father being one of the veterans of the war of 1812. He was the second of four children. During his youth he helped his father on tbe farm and picked up what education he could in the country schools. In 1848 he was married to Miss Mahala Westfall, and in 1851 he came to Grundy county where he has since resided. He was the father of two children, Etta, the older, now Mrs. Frank McGrath, residing in Kansas, and Henry, who lives about two miles east of Verona in this county.
Of his character little need be said. He was honest in all his dealings. He was open-hearted and generous. Living for so many years in this county he was known to many people and to all favorably. He was a kind father and good husband. He was a neighbor willing to aid in every way possible. He was a member of the Congregational church of this city and was always ready for his duty in whatever form it presented itself. By his kind ways he endeared himself to all who knew him. That death should come to him in this manner is sad indeed. In his death a loving father and thoughtful husband, a kind friend and a true man is taken from us.
Mrs Conklin was notified of the accident and came immediately to town and is staying with Mr and Mrs Otis Baker.
Coroner Abell was telegraphed to, on account of the absence of Deputy Coroner S C Bliss, who was in Chicago, and after waiting a reasonable length of time and no answer coming, Mr Massey was authorized to take the remains. He took them to his store and Justice Gifford was called to act as coroner. He empaneled a jury consisting of Messrs H B Goold, J H Alsdurf, E L Clover, O J Lund, S Riggs and J A Kutz. The jury viewed the remains and authorized Mr Massey to care for them and remove them to the home of the deceased. They then adjourned until Tuesday morning in order to summon witnesses.
The jury impaneled yesterday to inquire into the cause of the death of H R Conklin, met this morning at 9 o’clock in the office of E L Clover to hear the testimony in the matter. From the witnesses examined the jury rendered its verdict as follows:
That H R Conklin came to his death by reason of a runaway, the team taking fright at a locomotive while deceased was driving across the Liberty street crossing of the C I R & P railway tracks in the city of Morris; and we, the jury, believe that the engineer, Lacy, was guilty of negligence in ringing the bell and starting the engine while deceased was on the tracks in front of engine.
And we further censure the C R I & P railway company for not complying with an ordinance of the city of Morris requiring them to put in gates at said crossing, and we further believe that if gates had been placed at said crossing, in conformity with the ordinance, that the runaway and death of H R Conklin would have been averted.
This was signed by the jurors, E L Clover, foreman.
It was also found that no bones were broken as was at first supposed, but that internal injuries were received which were necessarily fatal.
The remains were this morning removed to the late home of the deceased, at which place the funeral was held on Wednesday at l:30 o’clock, and interment in the Conklin cemetery, a short distance from the late home of the deceased.