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VANNINGEN, Ben 1869-1896


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 2/21/2011 at 11:57:00

The sad death of Ben VanNingen, Wednesday morning, March 18, cast a gloom over the entire community and the bereaved wife and family have the heartfelt sympathy of every citizen in Grundy Center. Deceased was born at Baileyville, Ill., Dec. 6, 1869. In the spring of '88 he went to Storm Lake, Ia., and in 1890 came from there to Grundy county.

February 1st, 1892, he was united in marriage to Miss Carrie Benz of Pleasant Valley township. Two bright little boys were the result of this union, and though poor in this world's goods, their home was a happy one and the ties of love that bound their hearts together and made their brief period of married life a constant source of enjoyment is severed and broken by the relentless hand of death and the loving voice of the devoted husband and doting father will respond no more on earth to the call of his loved ones and the warm heart that throbbed in sympathy with them lies silent in the tomb. But the word of Him who is the resurrection and the life of believers in the Gospel, will console those who are left behind to mourn the departure of one whom the Father hath chosen. Life is but an empty dream; a few short years at most, and the strongest constitutions must succumb to the reaper of the grim monster, death, and pass on to the judgment of Him who shall separate the chaff from the wheat and gather unto Himself the righteous and faithful of his redeemed. How comforting it is then, when we reflect upon the faith of the deceased in Jesus Christ, to know that his faith was perfect and secure and when he was so suddenly and unexpectedly called to go he needed no time to put his house in order but was ready to meet the summons and say farewell to earthly things and take his departure and be with Christ, which, as Paul said, "is far better." Deceased united with the M. E. church last year under the ministration of Rev. B. D. Smith and his loyalty to the Savior was a true and steadfast one, and nothing gives his pastor more consolation than to know that he was growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. To mourn, therefore is to wish him back--back to the mortality of the soul where sorrows enter the heart and life is made miserable in an endless struggle for existence. Let him rest then safe in the arms of Him who died to redeem him.

The funeral was conducted form the M. E. church Thursday afternoon, March 19, at two o'clock, Rev. B. D. Smith officiating. The pastor spoke feelingly of the christian life Ben VanNingen was living and in behalf of his congregation extended sympathy to the bereaved widow and family. All that could be was said to make easy the burden of sorrow that rested upon the stricken family. The choir furnished consoling songs and a male quartet from Reinbeck sang very pathetically and tenderly a beautiful selection. The Knight of Pythias, of which deceased was a member, attended the funeral in a body and took charge of the remains at the close of the sermon. Their burial services are impressive and uplifting and their sympathies went out in full to the bereaved widow and family. The aged father of the deceased and one sister of Baileyville, Ill., attended the funeral and members of the widows family were with her in her hour of trouble. The sympathies of the community are with them and may they put their trust in him who is mightier than the seas beneath us and the stars above.

The following are the particulars of the accident that caused Mr. VanNingen's death: On Wednesday afternoon, March 11th, he took from the barn a young horse which he had been handling for nearly a week, and hitched it to a light driving sulky. The horse seemed very quiet, and he spoke to several about how well she was breaking in. Several of his friends remarked that he seemed to drive very carelessly, and some even advised him to "keep a tighter rein." About five o'clock, as he came up depot street, passing Mr. Travis' blacksmith shop, some parties were trying to get a donkey into the shed, when Mr. VanNingen jokingly reached out with his whip and struck at the donkey, while he held the lines loosely in his other hand. At the sound of the whip and the lively movements of the donkey, the horse he was driving started to run; and being strong and quick, she was under full headway before he could gather up the reins. Had his sulky been strong he might have stopped her, but before he could check her speed, they had reached Main street, and as the sulky struck the crossing there, one wheel went to pieces. At the Methodist church the horse turned north. Here Mr. VanNingen was thrown onto his head--just how, no one knows; the horse became detached from the sulky, leaving Mr. VanNingen tangled in the remains. Mr. J. C. Bourne and Dr. Crouse were the first to reach him, and found him in convulsions. Some of the brethren of the Knight Pythias immediately took charge of him, and conveyed him home in Jacobs Bros.' delivery wagon. From the moment of his injury he never regained anything like full consciousness till at length he expired, Wednesday morning, the 18th at four o'clock.

--The Grundy County Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 26 March 1896


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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