Causes of Death, Part 2
A. Two tragic accidents with funerals at Orthodox Church
1. Man 35, killed October 1915, being “trampled to death by horses in
Colorado while ploughing beets.”
Body was shipped to Kearney and funeral was held at the Syrian Orthodox
“Rev Yanny was called from his regular visitation trip” to Oklahoma and
northern Texas to attend the funeral.
Boy 10, died in April 1926 - of strangulation when being dragged by a team
of runaway horses.
The boy had gone to the field with his father, who was ploughing a field.
He was playing near two horses which were tied to a hayrack.
They became frightened, broke free and started to dash across the plowed
A rein looped around the boy’s neck and he was dragged until the father
could stop the horses.
The father rushed him to the hospital but it was too late.
(Since the lot where the boy is buried was owned by the Orthodox church,
presumably that is where the funeral was held.)
August 1938 – Woman, 70, living upstairs in the Bolte Building [21½ W
22nd] in Kearney, died of a fractured neck
[death possibly from a fall?] and was buried in a lot owned by the county.
Who was she and why was she buried by the county?
1920 census – Widowed,
born in Kentucky, living with daughter, 18, born in Oklahoma, and
born in Nebr
Son-in-law was from
Pleasanton and was working for the railroad at the roundhouse.
He died in July 1929 and is buried in the Kearney cemetery.
He was riding on the rear of the tender of a switch engine backing out of
the round house.
A large truck loaded with furniture was coming down the Lincoln Highway from
As the driver neared the siding, the engineer blew his whistle and applied
The truck swung wide while crossing the track, hoping to avoid a collision,
which he did,
but passed so close to the engine that the son-in-law’s chest was crushed.
1930 census –
Still widowed, living with daughter, also widowed, and her two children.
Son, born in 1923 in Nebraska; daughter born in 1926 in Nebraska
Lady had worked as a cook on a ranch but was unemployed at time of census
between 1930 and 1938 that would leave this lady all alone to be buried in a
county lot in an unmarked grave?
1940 census – Daughter had remarried, not in
Buffalo County, to a man who was born in Texas and was 8 years younger
were living in San Jose, California where the new husband was a soft drink
according to 1940 census - new husband was living in San Jose, California
Daughter and her children were still in Kearney,
so they had not married yet)
So sometime between 1935 and 1938 the
daughter moved away, leaving her mother in Kearney
Her new husband probably
made only enough as a laborer to support the family, not enough for the
daughter to come back to Nebraska when her mother died, or to buy her a lot
in the cemetery
The daughjter died in Santa Clara, California in 1978
C. Four (Five)
1. Three homicides
A family of 3 sisters and 3 brothers grew up on a farm in Kearney Co.
between Minden and Kearney.
early 1929 one sister was hospitalized in Hastings and one in Omaha, both
with mental problems.
third sister had gone to Omaha and obtained a nursing job at the sister’s
hospital so she could help
with her care.
In February 1929, one brother went to Omaha to visit his sisters at the
He shot and killed them both and then took his own life.
He left a short note in the hospital room saying he had sent a letter.
He had sent the letter to his wife describing how he wanted the funeral
service, which was to be for all three
of them at once.
He did not
say why he had done this.
People were surprised he had a gun.
before the shooting, he had gone into Bodinson’s Hardware and purchased a
.32 caliber pistol.
asked why he was buying it, he said that living out in the country he might
need it for protection.
As for motive, that was not clear.
However, recently he had been depressed and expressed the fear that he might
also be subject to the mental
problems from which his sisters suffered.
2. Two homicides
Sometime in 1930 this man’s wife left him and, with their adopted son, 21,
she went to her father’s home in
Spirit Lake, Iowa.
[Descriptions of this man's behavior would lead
one to conclude he was an alcoholic.]
On Dec. 8th the man hired
a cab from the Whippet Cab service in Kearney and had the driver take him to
They started at 8 am arrived at 6:30 pm.
they got to the father-in-law’s house, the man told the driver to circle the
block a few times.
The driver got about a block away and heard a shot so he drove to the police
Shortly after he arrived, the wife called the police to report a tragedy
Here’s what happened:
the man walked in, his wife’s father, 72, stepped up to intercede for her.
He pulled a gun and fired, wounding his father-in-law in the shoulder.
The son walked into the room and his father turned and shot him, killing
The father-in-law got hold of a piece of stove wood and hit his son-in-law
over the head killing him.
The man was brought back
to Kearney for burial. The son was buried in Spirit Lake.