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Pettis County, Mo., Obituary

Sedalia Daily Democrat
January 1, 1876, p. 4

How Joe Wilson Rounded Off
the Old Year in Sedalia

The old year was sadly rounded off for poor Joe Wilson yesterday! He went to work as usual in the morning, at the M.K. & T. depot, on Fifth Street. About nine o'clock he was engaged in cleaning a passenger coach standing on one of the side tracks. He was on the inside doing his work, and when he was through stepped out on to the track with the intention of going to the Union depot after some things. A heavy rain was driving in from the north, and as he started down the track, he bowed his head and pulled down his slouch hat over his face. He had gone but a few feet when he collided squarely with a train of three cars, which were switched about by the pony.

We understand that several parties who saw the approaching cars, halloed to him to get out of the way. He did not hear them in time. The draw-head of a car struck him underneath, where he was caught by a bolt, and dragged about forty yards. His left hand and left leg were thrown between the trucks, and, as they passed over his limbs, the blood splashed upon them fearfully. One strong man who was standing near and who witnessed the ghastly sight, turned sick and vomited on the spot. Other gentlemen who saw it, were horrified beyond description. Finally the train was stopped and the poor, mangled fellow was taken out from the wheels. He did not faint, nor did he become insensible. He was immediately placed upon a mattress and a piece of ladder and conveyed through the driving, cold rain to Murphy's boarding house on Third Street, in East Sedalia.

Drs. Trader, Conkwright and Scott were instantly summoned and soon arrived, as also did a DEMOCRAT representative. As we went in, an Irish lady, who had just viewed the ghastly wounds of the man, was being taken away by two strong men, she having fainted at the sight.

We found Wilson lying on a mattress, surrounded by a number of friends. His left leg, held up by a companion, was truly a sickening spectacle, swollen and torn and clotted with his life blood. His left hand, which he moved about easily, was nothing but a bloody, crushed mass, from the wrist down. He seemed to have a wonderful nerve, and spoke vigorously to the friends who came in to see him. After a short consultation it was decided to amputate both limbs.

Before the work was to be commenced, however, the physician told him he had better attend to any temporal matters he wished to, as there was imminent danger that he could not survive the operation. He assented. Pen and ink were brought, and Father Graham, who was one of the first to reach his bedside, sat down and wrote the will as the dying man dictated it. Wilson was perfectly conscious and did not once hesitate in making out the instrument. When through, he was just able to make his mark. He had considerable property, consisting, we understand, of two flue farms, one near Greenridge, in this county, and one in Canada. He also had two thousand dollars in money. We suppose that his sister received all this, she being the only near relative he had.

The physicians not having discovered that he had received injury other than we have named, were about to proceed with the amputation, when he became suddenly faint, and his pulse fell rapidly. On stripping him they examined his body, and found it terribly bruised on the left side, and the sudden falling of the pulse, led them to suspect at once that he had received internal injury, and was suffering from hemorrhage. All thought of amputation was given up, and by two o'clock, Wilson was dead, having suffered for about an hour the most intense agony. Dr. Trader and a few friends were with him when he breathed his last.

Wilson was bordering on fifty years. He had been in the employ of the M.K. & T. road only a short time, and also that of Mr. John Scullen. He was well known in Sedalia, as an upright, sober, industrious man, always at his post of duty. He had never been married, and leaves but a sister, as near relative to mourn his terrible fate.

Everything that could be done, was done for him, and much credit is due to Father Graham for the generous attentions, temporal and religious, he extended to the dying man.

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Contributed by Cathy Warbritton.