submitted by Shirley Plumb, November 27, 2007

Mrs. Rudolph Altekruse is Terribly Burned and Dies in a Few Hours.

A venerable woman whose long career of four score years and more had been marked by a magnificent share of good health and escape from accident was destined to have a most unexpected and distressing end yesterday. Grandma Altekruse, who resides with her son in Seventy-Six township, during the absence of the younger members of the family, was engaged in kindling a kitchen fire shortly after 10 o’clock in the morning, when in some way her clothing caught fire, and before aid reached her she was fatally burned. Her aged husband, who was reading ………ting room, was horrified upon looking through the window, to see his faithful spouse lying prostrate on the rear porch writhing in pain, while fierce flames were devouring her clothing and charring her body. He hastened to the rescue, and with a pail of water quenched the killing flames, but too late to save his beloved wife. The hired man of the farm, who had been at work in the field, was attracted to the house by the sharp cries of distress uttered by the victim and assisted in carrying her into the house, after which he mounted a horse and hastened to town to secure a physician and to notify the unfortunate woman’s son of what had occurred. Before they arrived some of the neighbors had come and applied soothing remedies, but Mrs. Altekruse was too severely burned, and while they were ministering to alleviate her sufferings she sank into unconsciousness. The physician shortly after administered stimulants, and reviving a little she spike a few words in a faint tone complaining of her condition, and then lapsed into an unconsciousness from which she never recovered.

After a painful lingering of nearly four hours death mercifully ended her misery.

The old couple were afflicted with the infirmities of declining years, Mrs. Altekruse having had poor eyesight, while her husband is partially deaf, which accounts for his not hearing the last agonizing screams of his wife.

The younger Mrs. Altekruse had prepared meals for them before leaving for town with her husband, but the old lady wanted a cup of hot coffee, and started the fire.

The appalling calamity falls with keen sorrow to the family, who will have the heartfelt sympathy of friends in this sore bereavement.

The deceased was born in Germany, Dec. 9, 1809, but emigrated early to the adopted country, and for nearly half a century resided in this county.

Besides her husband four children survive, they being Henry Altekruse and Mrs. Sophia Gertz, of Lake township, Mrs. Mary Chapman and R. G. Altekruse, of Seventy-Six township.

The funeral services will be conducted by Rev. J. Fath, of the German Congregational church, at the house Sunday at 10 a.m., and the interment will be made in the family burying ground on the farm.

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