A Page County Neighbor Passes

The Journal – Clarinda, Iowa

Date of Death 9-4-1901


Nodaway Township Farmer Killed By Bridge Collapse

 Transcribed and Submitted by Jeanette Lawson

 [H. H. Sunderman is the great grandfather of Jeanette Lawson]


Was Guiding Threshing Machine Engine When Structure Went Down Without Warning

Henry Sunderman (with beard) standing by  that fell on him 4 Sept 1901.

 Two sons, Philip and Albert are shown on the machine.

[Click on photo to view a in full size.]

Survival Four Hours – Sketch of His Life – His Funeral Held Today


     Henry H Sunderman a familiar figure in Clarinda and vicinity, is dead, the victim of an accident. The end came suddenly, Wednesday, at five thirty p.m.  Four hours previous he was a well man, engaged in that occupation which none but a healthy man can carry on, that of threshing. He was not in the act of threshing when the accident happened, but was guiding a portable threshing machine engine, riding up on the engine. The engine went through a bridge. Timbers from the bridge and platform and coal box of the engine fell upon Mr. Sunderman. Steam from the engine scalded him and forced its way down his throat.

     He fell but eight or ten feet. The bridge was ten feet long. Part of the engine had cleared the structure. In a moment Mr. Sunderman would have been clear of danger, but that moment for him was not to come. The back part of the engine crashed through the bridge and its giving away meant the loss of a human life.

     Mr. Sunderman stopped the engine before he drove it up on the bridge.  He sent Willie Boo ahead to report upon its condition, and, the messenger reported as he saw it, that the bridge, was “all right”.   The bridge  however, proved deceptive.

    The accident took place about halfway between the homes of John Steeve and his brother, William Steeve, in Nodaway Township. The machine was being moved from John’s farm to that of William being bound about a mile north. The bridge was located near the house of Harman Otte.

    In the accident Mr. Sunderman’s left leg was broken just below the knee, the right leg was broken near the thigh, his left hip broken, and both arms, left side and left leg were scalded by steam, his hip and side being badly scalded.

      Mr. Sunderman’s right leg was stiff which caused him to limp as he walked. On this account his friends often spoke of him as “Lame Henry Sunderman” to distinguish him from others of the family.


    Those about Mr. Sunderman when the accident occurred gave him every assistance possible, which at best could be at little, and telephoned immediately for Dr. D. H. Killingsworth of this city (Clarinda), and Dr. O. O. Parriott of Yorktown. Both physicians hastened to render such help as they could. Dr. Killingsworth took J. W. Sellards with him. The physicians dressed the wounds. After giving their help to the injured man, he died about one and one-half hours later.


    Mr. Sunderman’s home was six miles northwest of Clarinda. The accident was two miles from his residence. He was the owner of a good farm and in comfortable circumstances. He had been in the threshing business for his fellow farmers for twenty-five years. He was born in Jackson County, Indiana fifty-four years ago the twentieth of last February, and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Sunderman, neither of whom ever lived in Page County, and both of whom are deceased. Henry came to Page County twenty-nine years ago. He married here in 1874  to Miss Elizabeth Steeve, daughter of the late Henry Steeve, and a sister of William and John Steeve. Mr. Sunderman left besides his wife, seven children – four sons – Philip, Frank, Albert and Jacob and three daughters – Elizabeth, Rosetta and Rosa.  He also left four brothers, John,  Louis, and Harman, all of Nodaway township, and Gust who is located in Texas.

The late Mr. Sunderman was a gentleman whom to know was to highly esteem for his noble qualities. He was a good, honest, conscientious, industrious citizen, and will be greatly missed by those who knew him.

    The funeral was held at ten o’clock this morning at the family residence, with services conducted by the Reverend C. Jobst , Pastor of the German Lutheran Church of Nodaway Township, in the cemetery of which church the burial was had.