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William Jordan Ellis 1893-1942


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 7/9/2013 at 21:39:14

Wm. Ellis and John Heidecker Killed Monday Evening When R.I. Train Hit Their Truck
Accident Happened at Jensen Corner Short Distance North of Graettinger
Wm. Ellis, 47, Graettinger, and John Heidecker, 27 [33], Wallingford, were killed at five o’clock Monday evening when the truck in which they were riding was struck by the south bound evening passenger train at the Jensen railroad crossing two and one-half miles north of Graettinger. Mrs. Ellis was killed instantly and Mr. Heidecker lived a short time.

The truck which was loaded with lumber, was traveling from east to west. Apparently the engine struck the middle of the truck. The box and lumber were thrown to the east side of the track. The cab and chassis were carried some distance and then thrown to the west side of the track. The bodies of the two unfortunate men were taken aboard the train and brought to Graettinger. The Emmet county coroner was summoned and the remains of the two men were taken to Estherville.

The truck was totally demolished and crushed.

The cause of the accident, other than the weather conditions, will probably never be known. At the time of the accident icing conditions were bad and roads and grass were covered with sleet.

Mr. Heidecker is survived by his wife and by a 5-months-old child. He is a brother of Romaine Heidecker, Wallingford. Another brother Alfred is in Texas. The father, Julius Heidecker, is located in the west.

Mr. Ellis is survived by his wife and by three daughters and a son. The eldest daughter is employed in Washington state and the other two girls and the boy are student in the Graettinger high school, although the boy has been helping at home lately. The family has resided in this locality for around ten years. At present they are farming the Barbara Hoff place north and east of Graettinger.

When the train pulled in at the station here and the news of the accident spread, many people gathered at the depot. Among the crowd were the two daughters of Mr. Ellis. They did not know their father was one of the men killed. They continued to wait in town for him to come and get them. Ben F. Reeves and H. A. Eisenbast took the two girls to their home. It wasn’t a pleasant task to inform them of the sad and tragic news.
The sympathy of the entire community is extended to the grief stricken families.

The Times does not have further particulars for this week’s issue. (Graettinger Times, Graettinger, IA, December 24, 1942)

Double Funeral Held Saturday, December 26
Wm. Ellis
John Heidecker
In the last issue of the Times the particulars of the truck-train crash in which Wm. Ellis and John H. Heidecker lost their lives, was given. The date of the accident was Monday, December 21. The double funeral was held Saturday, December 26, at Wallingford. Many Graettinger people were in attendance at the sad rites. Both men were very highly regarded and had a host of friends in the community. The Times extends sincere sympathy to Mrs. Ellis and the members of her family and to Mrs. Heidecker and child in their sorrow.

The following obituary notice is taken from the Estherville Vindicator & Republican:

Sleet and ice on windshield and highway is believed to have caused a collision between a farm stock truck and Rock Island passenger No. 20 at 4:15 Monday evening that snuffed out the life of John Heidecker, 33, of Wallingford, and W.J. Ellis, 49, of Graettinger.

The tragedy occurred south of Wallingford north of the gravel pit where old highway No. 17 crosses the track. The men were hauling wood from the Ellis farm to the Barbara Hoff home in Wallingford. Heidecker was driving the car and according to witnesses he attempted to stop but skidded in to the path of the train which stopped, picked up the men and took them on to Graettinger. Ellis was killed instantly. An Estherville ambulance was called but Heidecker had died before the ambulance arrived.

Both victims of the crash were family men.

Heidecker is a native born son of the Wallingford community, born there Jan. 8, 1909. His mother, Mrs. Julius Heidecker, was killed two years ago in an auto crash. Surviving are his father, his wife, the former Vera [Verga] Archer whom he married ten years ago, one son, Duane, and two brothers, Albert and Romaine.

Heidecker worked as a trucker and laborer in his home community.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellis had celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on November 28. They have been residents of Iowa since shortly after their marriage and of Wallingford for the past several years, Mr. Ellis coming to that community as an employee of the gravel company. The past year they have resided on a farm. Besides the widow [Cora Dahle Ellis], three daughters and one son survive, Hazel of Washington state, Dorha, Joyce and Billie at home, also his mother, Mrs. John Ellis of Salt Lake City, and several brothers and sisters. Born Dec. 17, 1893 in Toronto, Canada the deceased had spent most of his younger life in North Dakota. (Graettinger Times, Graettinger, IA, January 7, 1943)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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