Charles Rockwell "Rock" Rose 1870-1920
Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 12/9/2010 at 21:16:20
A Terrible Accident at the Rock Island
Rock Rose Instantly Killed and George Spoo Injured While At Work Beneath Cars
Switch Engine Backed Into Cars on Track Nine
Marvin Michaels Had Narrow Escape, But Came Through Without Injury – Henry Bundy Fourth Man in Party – A Sad Affair
Charlie (Rock) Rose, a Rock Island car repairman was instantly killed and George Spoo was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon in the Rock Island yards of this city in what was perhaps one of the most terrible accidents in the annals of the Rock Island history. Both men have been employed by the Rock Island for several years. Mr. Rose leaves his father and mother and one sister besides other relatives and Mr. Spoo is a man with a family. No blame for the accident has yet been attached for the accident and will not be brought out until the company investigation has been held.
The scene of the tragedy was across the Rock Island tracks from the Spurbeck-Lambert Co. building at the end of Sixth street. The accident happened on track No. Nine, the south side of the yards. From all reports, four carmen were working on that track making some minor repairs on one of the cars. Three of the men, Rock Rose, George Spoo and Marvin Michael were working between the cars. The other, Henry Bundy, was leaning against the car watching the men at work. He had recently come from another job in that end of the yards. The switch crew which had been working in the other end of the yards came down the main line with five dead locomotives and three empty coal cars. They intended putting the five dead locomotives on track eight, but found they would have to go the track number nine before they could get clearance on track number eight. They accordingly pulled up the main line far enough to get their train clear and backed into number nine.
The carmen are supposed, when they are working under cars in the yards, to put up a flag or sign indicating that there are men at work on cars on that track. The sign is large enough to be easily seen by the switching crew and orders are strict about going past a flag or sign. In this case, no flag was displayed, according to the eye witness of the accident, the men evidently figuring they would have time to make the minor repair in the absence of the switching crew.
When the switching crew came down the track, they caught the men beneath the cars without warning. They backed in on the track with the five locomotives and three cars and hit the string of thirteen cars standing on the track. Six cars from the car they coupled on to was a car with the locking block uplifted. This coupling was not made and the force of the switch was enough to move the cars a good car-length and eight inches. The men under car, caught unexpectedly, were dragged almost that distance.
Mr. Rose was evidently sitting on the rail and took the force of the collision, the back of his head at the base of the brain was caved in by striking the brake beam rail, or some other object, causing instant death. He also received minor wounds on the front of his face. One leg was broken and a deep wound was found on his back. Death was instantaneous. His body was not badly mangled in the accident.
Mr. Spoo, it seems, was on the opposite side and was caught in such a manner that he was doubled up like a jack knife. He received a broken leg and a severe scalp wound. He was rushed to the Coleman hospital which is the official hospital for the Rock Island lines where everything is being done for him that can be possibly done. Ex-ray photographs were taken of his injuries and it is feared at the time this is written that they are of a very serious nature. He was conscious at the time he was taken to the hospital and it is sincerely hoped that he will recover from the effects of the accident.
Marvin Michael, the third man under the car, had a narrow escape. He threw himself flat between the rails and under the car at the time he felt the car move. A couter pin on the brake beam, caught his jacket as it passed over him and tore a large hole in the jacket but he escaped without injury and helped to get his fellow workmen from beneath the wheels of the car.
Men who were in the yard at the time signaled the switching crew to stop at once which they did, and all made a rush to help the unfortunate men. The switch crew had a train long enough that they came into track nine on a curve and could not see the track at the time of the accident. They did not know of the tragedy until some of the workmen came up the track and told them of it. It is the opinion of some of the men that the accident would not have been so serious had the coupling been secured in the middle of the cars that were standing on the track but that is a matter of guess work at the best.
E. H. Koop was foreman of the switching crew at the time. The crew was composed of O. F. Manthey, and S. J. Coleman, switchmen, and engineer C. F. Lucas and fireman, H. R. Lytle. Those in the immediate vicinity of the accident at the time it happened were Henry Bundy, Selmer Amdahl, Clarke Warner, Jake Amdahl and R. W. Harter, who called Dr. Coleman. The doctor responded immediately and loaded Mr. Spoo into his automobile and rushed him to the hospital. The body of Mr. Rose was taken to the undertaking parlors of Mahlum and Anderson.
Mr. Rose was the support of his aged father and mother, who live just across from the Jesse Cox scenic studio. He was a man close to fifty years of age and was well liked and admired by all his fellow workmen. His death cast a pall of gloom over the entire city. He was a member of the Odd Fellows lodge of this city, also of the Mystic Workers and the Moose lodges. The Odd Fellows will have charge of the funeral services to be held from the Methodist church at a time not yet determined.
The suddenness of the accident was a great shock to the parents of the unfortunate man. It was, indeed, a shock to everyone, and the heart-felt sympathy of the entire community goes out to them in this hour of sorrow. At this time we are unable to secure the obituary, but it will be published in the next issue of your Vindicator and Republican.
Just as we go to press we learn from the Coleman hospital that Mr. Spoo is getting along as well as can be expected and that he has a fair chance for recovery. This will be encouraging to many of his friends who sincerely hope that it will be only a short time until he is able to once more take his place in the business circles of Estherville. [Note: George Spoo died on April 17, 1920, from the injuries received in this accident.] (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, April 14, 1920)
Obituary of Charles Rockwell Rose
Charles Rockwell Rose was born in Floyd county, Iowa, May 24th, 1870 and died at Estherville, Iowa, April 13th, 1920. Age 49 years, 10 months and 20 days.
When about 17 years old he came with his parents to Estherville where he has since made his home. When the Spanish-American war broke out in 1898 he immediately enlisted in the service of his country and with Company K, 52nd Regiment, Iowa Infantry Volunteers served until the end of the are during which time he went to the Philippines from whence he was returned to receive his honorable discharge.
Mr. Rose was always a home-body, never having known any place where he felt content very long except under the parental roof where father and mother were his true pals. Occasionally he visited his sister, Mrs. Clinton Hill, of Des Moines or some other relative but only for short periods as his heart steadily turned home ward where father and mother were awaiting him. He was tender hearted, kind and thoughtful, never allowing any want or desire of loved ones to go unsupplied if within his power to meet and supply the desire. His little nephew, Clinton Hill, Jr. was a special favorite and was constantly remembered with little tokens of love and appreciation.
Mr. Rose was industrious and faithful at any post of duty. He spent much of his life in the railroad service as fireman, brakeman and in the repair departments in which latter capacity he was serving when on last Tuesday afternoon he suddenly met his death by accident.
The body was prepared for burial at the undertaking parlors and on Thursday morning was taken to the home of his parents where at 2:30 o’clock a great crowd of friends, neighbors, old acquaintances of the family and his fellow workmen gathered for the funeral services. Over 100 men representing various fraternal orders and Railroad Brotherhoods were in line. The floral designs brought by friends and the various organizations were exceptionally beautiful and numerous. Mrs. Albert Mahlum sang “The City Four-Square” and Mr. Fred Albertson sang “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” Rev. J. W. LaGrone, of the Methodist Episcopal church, the pastor of the family, read the funeral services and spoke appreciatingly of the attribute of character most marked in the deceased, that of kindness, and commended the same to others. The body was buried in Oak Hill cemetery, the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows having charge of the services at the grave. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, April 21, 1920)
The Estherville Enterprise adds to the same obituary:
Mr. Rose is survived by his aged father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Rose, his sister, Mrs. Clinton Hill of Des Moines; a nephew, Clinton Hill, Jr.; a brother-in-law, Mr. Clinton Hill; and a host of other relatives in Estherville and elsewhere in the state. The friends of the family deeply sympathize with the father and mother and others in this their great loss.
Emmet Obituaries maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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