June 23, 1910
Corner--The most gruesome sight we ever witnessed was the mangled and lifeless
bodies of Larkin Hoel, aged 37 years, and his nephew, Frank Hoel, aged 20 years,
who met with a fatal accident, Friday, June 17, when attempting to cross the
Panhandle railroad at what is known as the Robert Dickson crossing in
Springcreek township. Larkin Hoel was a farmer and a tenant on the Mrs.
Melissa Speelman 80-acre farm one-half mile south of this crossing. His
nephew, Frank, was working for him as a farm hand. Aside from their
farming they did an extensive hay and straw baling business On the fatal
day they had driven to the home of Thomas Loughman, west of Fletcher where they
contracted with Omar Loughman, another hay baler, to assist them with his
machine. On their return trip is when the accident occurred that cost them
their lives. The railroad at that point is three-tracked and a reasonable
conclusion is that as they approached the crossing they were watching a heavy
east bound freight train and failed to see the 1:28 west bound local that was
bearing down on them at a high rate of speed, and drove so near the track that
the engine struck the horse they were driving and drew the top buggy and
occupants along side the engine and hurled them against the cattle guard fence
with such force that both the drivers and horse were instantly killed. The
body of the older man as well as the carcass of the horse were rolled or thrown
about two rods beyond the fence and thrown in a heap in the side ditch of the
railroad. The body of the young man lay where it struck the fence.
Before we arrived on the scene more than a score of farmers who had heard the
sad news were there to lend a helping hand if need be. J. C Subers of
Fletcher was there with his ambulance. Dr. I. C. Kiser of Fletcher was
also there but, all that could be done was to await the coming of Coroner Gaines
of Covington who had been telephoned for. The fact that almost all that
were present were either near neighbors or relatives of the men, who only a few
moments before were pictures of healthy manhood but now were lying lifeless
before us, caused a cloud of solemnity to settle over the scene that made the
moments we were waiting for the coroner seem like hours. As soon as he
came, accompanied by Drs. F. E. Kitzmiller and W. J. Kelly of Piqua, they made a
survey of the surroundings and he ordered the bodies removed to the undertaking
establishment in Fletcher were postmortem examinations were made. Frank
Hoel was the son of Mrs. and Mrs. James Hoel who resides in the same
neighborhood. Larkin Hoel leaves a wife and three small children, one son
and two daughters, as will be seen by reading the obituaries in the death column
this week. The railroad crossing where this accident occurred is rather a
dangerous one. Besides having three tracks on which trains are run the
tracks are so much lower than the public road that it makes quite a descent to
get on the railroad with a rig going either way. Then west of the public
road the train is almost hidden from view with high banks on each side of the
railroad extending nearly 40 rods westward. The railroad has to be crossed
there by all the school children that live in the south half of that district as
the school house stands but a few rods north of the crossing. The citizens
of the district have been proposing an overhead bridge at that point for some
time. The expressions we heard from the crowd that day convince us that
this accident will stir the people to action and that a petition will soon be
signed asking for an overhead bridge across the railroad at the crossing.
June 23, 1910
HOEL, FRANK -
Springcreek--Frank Hoel, the second victim of last Friday's accident, an account
of which appears elsewhere, was 20 years of age. He was the son of Mr. and
Mrs. James Hoel, who with three brothers and three sisters survive him.
The funeral was held from the house Monday forenoon and was conducted by Rev.
Kilbourne. Interment at Fletcher.
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