Boone County Indiana
Friday, March 16, 1906
Surnames: Abney, Armbruster, Camplain, Chambers, Clark, Hedge, Jackson, Kernoodle, Lewis, Mitchell, Penry, Ready, Scott, Steele, Wyatt, Underwood& Young
THREE MEN ARE KILLED
Odd Fellows Building and Armbruster’s Grocery a Complete Loss
Five Others Seriously Injured
Victims Were Discussing the Danger When the Fatal Crash Came
The dead are:
Samuel Lewis, aged 66
George Scott, farmer, 35
Chas. Hedge laborer, 41
R.T. Abney, right shoulder blade broken and two or three ribs broken on right side: bruised on body and face.
Joseph Jackson, both ankles wrenched and feet badly bruised.
Oscar Wyatt, bruised on body.
Julius Underwood, leg slightly bruised.
On Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. Jamestown and vicinity was thrown into gloom and grief by the collapsing of the I.O.O.F. building which was undergoing repairs. The one story brick building adjoining the Odd Fellows’ building on the west and occupied by John Armbruster with a grocery was crushed like and egg shell by the falling of the Odd Fellows building. In the grocery at the time was Mr. Armbruster, Samuel Lewis, Geo. Scott, Charles Hedge and R.T. Abney and only two of them escaped with their lives.
Mr. Armbruster had just stepped into the back to draw a can of oil for Mr. Hedge when the crash came and crushed out the lives of the three named above, and injuring Mr. Abney. Mr. Armbruster wasmade a prisoner for a time but was uninjured, and by almost super human strength managed to make his exit through the fallen roof by cutting through a screen door and breaking out the door frame making it possible for him to crawl out over the debris.
Fire started immediately in the grocery store but was soon extinguished by water and the fire engine that was brought to the scene.
The Odd Fellows building was built about thirty- five years ago the order owing the upper story and J.H. Steele and John Camplain the lower rooms. The lodge recently purchased the lower part and were making it into one room. The partition wall was recently taken out and steel pillars were put in. Wednesday the workmen, who included Wm. Mitchell, Joseph Jackson, Oscar Wyatt, Julius Underwood, Tom Young and Fred Penry were engaged in putting in the iron front which necessitated the removal of the stone caps over the door and the windows replacing them with steel beams. They had placed one beam in position and the stones removed for the second one when without a moments warning the building collapsed.
When the crash came Messrs. Jackson, Wyatt and Mitchell were on the scaffold. Underwood was on the ground inside the building, Young and Perry had temporarily left he building to get tools to work with. At the first sign of the building giving Julius Underwood started to run towards the back part of the building but had hardly started when something hit him knocking him down. He jumped to his feet and started again when he was knocked down again and his feet and legs were slightly bruised. Joseph Jackson had time to jump from the scaffold and alighted on the cement pavement below. His ankle and feet were badly hurt from the jump but he kept on and got out without being hit by the falling building. Mitchell and Wyatt had no time to jump and went down the wall. Wyatt was completely covered with the brick and timbers but was only slightly bruised. Mitchell suffered a worse fate, a heaver portion of the wall falling upon his left leg crushing it and dislocating his ankle.
Mr. Abney had a miraculous escape from death. He stepped into Armbrusters grocery and remarked he was afraid the front of the Odd Fellows building would fall in, that it looked shaky. Uncle Sam Lewis replied, “Well, if itwould,how much safer would we be in here than out there.” And one of the men said they would be safer out of doors as then they could run. Mr. Abney then started for the door, when the crash came. He was hit on the right shoulder and knocked to the floor between a barrel of fish and the refrigerator which held up the heavy beams and their load of bricks and kept him from being killed.
As soon as the people who were attracted by the noise had recovered from the shock and the injured had been removed the work of extricating the dead bodies was begun. The first to be taken out was Charles Hedge who had evidently started for the door. He was found laying on his belly., with his neck and both legs broken. Mr. Lewis was the next to be taken out. Both legs were broken and the inside of his face crushed. Mr. Scott’s body was then recovered. His neck was broken and his body otherwise mangled. At the time the accident happened Mr. Lewis was sitting on a table by the stove on which was stacked canned goods and Mr. Scott was sitting on a chair on the north side of the stove putting on his overshoes. When found he had one shoe on and the other in his hand which was doubled under his body. The bodies were removed to the undertaking establishment of Smith & Kernoodle where they were prepared for burial. The bodies of Mr. Lewis and Mr. Scott were taken to their homes that night but the body of Mr. Hedge was kept by the undertaker til yesterday morning when they removed it to his home.
D.M. Clark, of the firm of Clark & Shaw, who run the hardware store directly across the street, was eye witness to the catastrophe. He said: “I was standing in our store near the stove, when I heard a terrible crash. I turned around just in time to see the front wall of the building falling towards me. A man who was standing in front of our store was hit with one of the bricks. The falling of the front wall was soon followed by the falling of the side and west walls next to the grocery and at the same time the roof caved in. I saw the grocery building shattered before I knew what had happened and both of the building lay in ruins and I knew that bodies were underneath. I believe the cause of the accident was from the weight of the heavy snow on the roof, for the walls were not too strong and with the front wall under repairs, I believe that the weight was too much for the old building to stand.”
The cause of the falling of the building is no doubt given by Mr. Clark as well as can be explained by anyone. Fully a dozen persons witnessed the catastrophe but hardly any two saw it alike. Some say the front wall fell first, and some say the west one first, but most eye witness contend that the east was the first to give way.
Mr. Lewis was one of Jamestown’s most substantial citizens and had been a resident of the town for over forty years. Long ago he operated a woolen mill which was later converted to a burr four mill. He was a member of the Christen Church and was a Knights of Pythias. He was a Mason but lately had not affiliated with the organization. He leaves a widow and two grown children.
Mr. Hedge was a poor man but respected by all his acquaintances. He leaves a widow and two children in almost a destitute situation.
Mr. Scott was a well known farmer living about five miles north east of Jamestown near Hickory Grove. He leaves a wife and two children and boy and a girl.
Luther Lodge I.O.O.F. No. 227 , was organized in 186(1 or 4) and has a membership of 135. The order has long been in fair condition financially, owing as it did, the upper part of the building in which it had it’s home and the beautiful cemetery north of town, with money loaned out. The wreck, however leaves it badly crippled but not crushed, for plans will soon be made to erect a new building on the site of the wreck. The Pythias has tendered their unfortunate sister lodge the use of their hall and the meetings of the different branches of the order will be held therein until different arrangements can be made.
The regalia and paraphernalia belonging to the three branches of the order, the subordinate Rebekas and the Encampment were in the property rooms in back part of the building is almost intact. It was taken out yesterday afternoon by Walt Chambers and Milt Abney through the back window.
The property of the three branches is worth about $1,000.
The total loss to the lodge, Mr. Armbruster and Haynes and Ready of Indianapolis, who owned the building occupied by Mr. Armbruster is estimated to be between$5,000 and $6,000.
Dr. Guy Shultz, coroner of Boone County, was summonsed and held an inquest yesterday but had not rendered his verdict at the time we went to press.
The funeral of Charles Hedge occurred yesterday afternoon with burial at the Lowery cemetery. The services were held at the house conducted by Rev. Newlin.
The funeral for George Scott will take place this morning at 11 o’clock with burial at I.O.O.F. cemetery.
The funeral services of Samuel Lewis will be held at 2 o’clock today under the auspices of the Knights of Pythias. Burial at I.O.O.F. cemetery.