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Archie Sprinkle (1900)


Posted By: Pat Hochstetler (email)
Date: 8/11/2009 at 12:51:46

Winterset Madisonian – November 8, 1900
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Archie Sprinkle Killed Instantly in the Winterset Roller Mills about Noon Today.

At noon today Archie Sprinkle was killed by being caught in the belting of the mill machinery, where he has worked as engineer since the mill began operation last August. Mr. Miles, the miller, had gone to dinner, and Mr. Younger and Archie were the only persons in the mill. Hearing an unusual noise in the machinery down stairs, Mr. Younger shouted down to Archie to shut off the steam, and fearing something was wrong, he ran down stairs to the basement, where he found the almost lifeless body of Archie Sprinkle caught on the main shaft of the machinery, and revolving at the rate of 200 revolutions per minute. The machinery was stopped and the body removed as quickly as possible, but he expired in a few minutes. In the basement a short belt from the main shaft runs the pump to fill the engine boiler. When the boiler is filled this belt is generally thrown off with a stick or the hand. It is thought that in attempting to throw the belt, his glove was caught by a rivet in the belt. The belt and also the pulley wheel on the pump were broken, indicating that he had passed under the belt. He was an exemplary young man, with a large circle of friends, and was about 18 years old. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Sprinkle, had just received word from Rocky Ford, Col, that John an older brother, was very low with consumption and that his death might be expected at any time. The Sprinkles are well and favorably known throughout the county, and in their sad bereavement have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community.

Winterset Reporter – November 8, 1900
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Archie Sprinkle, Assistant Engineer of the City Flouring Mill is Instantly killed.

At about 12:10 today Benjamin Sprinkle received word by telephone from J. W. Younger, at the Winterset Flouring Mill, notifying him that his son, Archie, was dead, and summoned him to appear forthwith. Mr. Sprinkle went to the place and there lying upon the first floor was the lifeless body of his boy.


A REPORTER man went to the mill in order to procure information, but as no one was there familiar with the direct cause of the young man’s death he went to Mr. Younger’s home and requested an interview which he freely granted.


Archie Sprinkle has been employed at the mill for about six weeks, acting in the capacity of assistant engineer. Young Sprinkle came to the mill at that time and remarked that he was anxious to be instructed in running an engine. He gave him employment and he soon proved himself a good boy and proficient in everything he undertook. At the time of the accident there was no one in the mill but young Sprinkle and myself. A farmer was outside unloading wheat. I heard a thumping sound in the lower part of the mill and running to the stairway called out “shut her down.” I got no response and the thumping continued. I rushed down stairs and there I beheld the body of the young man going over and over a shaft at the rate of 200 revolutions a minute. I immediately went to the engine room and shut down, then went out and told the farmer what had happened and we were compelled to turn the body twice before we could take it from the shaft. We carried the unfortunate young man up stairs and awaited the arrival of relatives.


Running from the shaft to a fly wheel on the pump, a distance of possibly four feet there is a belt that moves very slow. Young Sprinkle, at one time remarked that he believed the pump would run faster if the shaft was wrapped with something and let the belt run on it. It was only a passing remark and little was thought of it by those around the mill. The supposition is that the young man had gone into the pump room, threw the belt off, and was wrapping the shaft while in motion, with waste, as there was a large amount of it around the shaft, that he had one glove on and was in the act of tying a string around the waste, when his hand was caught and without a seconds notice he went spinning over and over on the shaft. The pounding sound that Mr. Younger heard was his feet striking the joist above. A piece was broke out of the iron fly wheel attached to the pump and it is presumed the heel of his shoe struck it.

His neck was broken; also one arm and one leg near the ankle. His shoes were torn to pieces and his stockings were off.

Blood and froth oozed from his mouth and nostrils. Upon the arrival of friends the body was removed to the home of his parents.

This is a painful and sad blow to his parents and many friends. He was an extraordinary young man, about seventeen years of age, possessed of no bad habits, and had a host of friends among his young acquaintances.


Mr. Benj. Sprinkle received word Wednesday that his son John Sprinkle, who left here last spring for Rocky Ford, Col., was very ill and that his death was expected at any moment.

Note: Burial was made in the Winterset cemetery.

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