----- ............Cemetery Walk: An afternoon of discovery! Every stone has a story. And they are waiting to be told........... -----

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Siegrist Children - Part 1

Eastside Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Hutchinson, KS. I spend a lot of time there working on the records and photographing the headstones. Sometimes I come across sad stories like this one.

Babes Hit By Train

Sante Fe Passenger Train No. 10

Struck Two Small Children.

They Were Instantly Killed.

Bodies of Both Being Terribly Mangled.

Playing On The Track

Little Children of Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Siegrist

Residing West of Morton Salt Works

Had Wandered Onto Nearby Track.

The Victims
Elvin Seigrist, aged 3 years. Head crushed off. Emma Seigrist, aged 20 months. Head crushed to pulp. Right leg cut off. Body badly mangled.

With their father looking on, helpless to aid, Elvin and Emma Seigrist, the little son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Seigrist, residing half a mile west of the Morton salt works, were hurled to death by Santa Fe train no. 10 this morning.

The accident occurred about 9 o’clock on the railway track just south of the Seigrist home, and about 300 yards from the house. The children were playing on the track. Both were instantly killed when the train hit them.

Mother Was Sick in Bed
Mrs. Seigrist was sick and confined to her bed this morning. The father had gone across the road to deliver a rack to a neighbor, which he had borrowed.

When he left for the neighbor’s house he cautioned the children to stay away from the railroad track, and told Lamoine, his oldest child, 5 years old to keep a watch on the two younger children, both little more than babies. “Don’t let them get out on the track,” the father cautioned.

Father Arrived Too Late
When the father arrived back home from the neighbor’s, after being gone but a short time, Lamoine came running out to him. “Papa, sister and Elvin are out on the railroad,” he called to his father. “I couldn’t keep them home.”

The father looked out toward the track, about 300 yards away, and to his horror saw the eastbound passenger train coming down the grade, and there on the track directly in front of the on-rushing train the father saw his two baby children, unconscious of danger, playing on the track.

Ran To Their Rescue
The horror stricken father ran as fast as he could toward the track to save his little ones, but it was too late. The heavy train, with a rush and a roar bore down on the little folks so quickly that the engineer had no time to stop.

The father saw the train stop the children, saw one of them hurled into the air, and then – it was all over.

With a sob of despair and grief, the stricken father, barely able to restrain himself, groped his way to the track, picked up the mangled, bleeding form of his little boy and staggered with him to the edge of the right of way.

Carried Body on Engine
The mangled body of the little girl was carried on the pilot of the engine for a distance of sixty or seventy yards. As soon as the engineer could he stopped his train and backed up to the scene of the collision.

What was left of the body of the baby girl was removed from the engine. Her head was crushed to a pulp, however, there being nothing left of it. Fragments of the body, including the right leg, which was cut off were picked up along the right of way.

Hurled Body Thirty Feet
The body of the little boy was hurled thirty feet. His body was not mangled excepting the head, which was crushed into a shapeless mass. Both children were instantly killed.

The bodies were tenderly picked up and carried into the little home nearby.

The mother, who was on a sick bed, rushed to the door, and fell in a faint on learning of the tragedy. The grief of both mother and father was heartrending.

Undertaker Will Johnston arrived very soon after and took charge of the bodies, and Coroner W. H. Williamson was soon on the scene to make an investigation of responsibility for the tragedy.

News of the terrible accident quickly spread and before long there were numerous relatives and friends of the stricken family there to comfort the father and mother. Rev. W. B. Stevens, pastor of the South Hutchinson church was one of the first to arrive.

Were Going to Grandpa’s
The grandparents of the children, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Seigrist, resides on the south side of the railway, and it is supposed the children were wandering along the track on their way to visit their grandpa.

“The children had never however been in the habit of going out on the track, for we never allowed them to play there,” said the father. “But while their mother was in bed, sick, and while I was away for just a few moments they slipped out, as children will. “

“If I had only been back a couple of minutes sooner it would never have happened,” added the father.

Track is Straight
The Seigrist home is located west of the crossing over the Rock Island and Santa Fe Kinsley cut-off tracks, half a mile west of the Morton salt works. The railroads pass along the south edge of the Seigrist place.

There is a straight stretch of track from the west, for a distance of several miles, and no obstructions in the way.

“I can’t understand how the engineer could not see the children,” said the father, A. G. Seigrist. “It seems to me the engineer and fireman certainly could have seen them and stopped in time. But they didn’t slow up and didn’t sound the whistle, and didn’t try to stop until too late.”

The Funeral Tomorrow
The funeral will occur tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 from the new South Methodist church. The funeral procession will leave the house at 1:45. The service will be conducted by Rev. W. B. Stevens. The interment will be in Eastside cemetery.

The coroner’s inquest will be held at the county court house at 1 o’clock Monday afternoon.

Engineer Was Overcome
“Dad” Graham, one of the veteran engineers of the Santa Fe, was pulling no. 10 this morning with engine 1406. As the big-hearted engineer picked up the mangled body of the baby girl from his engine pilot, he broke down.

Tears streamed from his eyes, and his voice was choked as he declared, “my God, I couldn’t stop in time.”

Engineer J. C. Graham is one of the most careful engineers on the Santa Fe main line. He is known as one of the veterans who pull the Santa Fe’s fast trains.

Couldn’t See the Children
The train was in chard of conductor Guile. When he registered at the Hutchinson station, at 9:13 this morning, the conductor was almost unable to make his report, he was so overcome from the horror of the accident.

From the explanations made by the train crew the children were so small that they could not be seen in the distance on the track, and not until too late to stop was the engine crew able to see the little tots.

When they were noticed, Engineer Graham made every effort to stop his train. It was, however, on a down grade and the heavy train was running at a rate of forty miles an hour.

“This is my last run,” solemnly declared Engineer Graham, to a bystander, at the scene of the accident,, while the bodies were being picked up. “This is too much.”

The Hutchinson News 10/21/1911

Railroad Notes

Santa Fe officials went in a switch engine to the scene of the double fatality near the Morton salt works this morning, and took statements of those who were witnesses and spectators.

The Hutchinson News 10/21/1911

[typed as printed]

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