submitted by Neal Carter, Sept. 28, 2007


An Old Resident, Eden Brown, is Struck by the Wilton Train and Killed Instantly

May 7, 1891

A well known pioneer in this locality, Eden Brown, had his long and useful career unexpectedly and shockingly closed early yesterday morning, when he became the victim of a fatal railroad accident. Mr. Brown was remarkably hale and hearty for a man who lacked only two years of attaining three score years and ten, and with his implements on his arm was actively wending his way to J. Scott Richman’s farm, where he had a contract for laying tiling. He was walking along the railroad track and reached the middle of the bridge over the creek near Gerndt’s slaughter house, when the Wilton train swept through the cut and around the curve at a high rate of speed and remorselessly dashed its victim into eternity.

Engineer McCoskry saw the man approaching, apparently unaware of the danger he was exposed to, and after sounding the whistle a number of times and immediately applying the air brakes, the old gentleman was noticed looking up and was on the point of retracing his steps on the bridge when the engine struck him and hurled him fully fifty feet away, killing him instantly. The momentum of the train carried it a hundred yards beyond the scene of the accident before it was stopped, when the train crew alighted, and going back found the mangled form, which they placed in the baggage car and brought to the city, where he was taken charge of by Undertaker Day, who prepared it for burial.

There were abrasions of the face, the left foot was crushed to a pulp, the right arm broken at the shoulder, and the right leg mangled besides some bad gashes in the back of the head.

An inquest was held on the remains by Coroner Austin before a jury composed of A. M. Winn, J. W. Rankin and John Koehler. The testimony submitted corroborated the facts as related above and furnished the additional information that the train was moving down grade at a rate of 40 miles an hour and brought out the fact that Mr. Brown’s hearing was impaired, which probably accounts for his non-attention to the blowing of the whistle. The jury exonerated the Rock Island road and its employees from all blame.

The deceased was a native of Sciota county, Ohio, but emigrated to Iowa when a young man and has lived in Muscatine county for 30 years.

For a long period he was the proprietor of Brown’s ferry on the Cedar river, and afterwards moved to this city where he gained a reputation as an honest, industrious citizen.

He leaves three daughters, Mrs. Wm. Fishurn, of Bloomington township, Mrs. B. F. Greiner, of Moscow, and Mrs. Oregon T. Hess, of Goshen, besides a sister who lives in the western part of the state and two brothers, Harvey of Columbus Junction and Peter now in Missouri.

The funeral is to occur at 2 p. m. to-day from the residence of Benj. Greiner and the interment will be in Oak Hill cemetery.

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