A Look Back: Tragedies without remedies
Many years ago emergency medical care was virtually non-existent.
If people were seriously injured – for example, in accidents involving horses and mules ridden or pulling buggies and wagons – they had to be taken to doctors’ offices to see what (limited) help he could provide for them. If those who had been seriously hurt had not already expired during this lengthy process, they were taken not to a non-existent hospital but to their homes, where they would have to depend for their recovery on loving–but–untrained family members.
In situations such as this, it was not at all unusual to read their obituaries within a few weeks in the weekly newspaper serving their geographical area.
The following indicate the types of emergencies that frequently resulted long ago.
When a fatality occurred, it was up to the next of kin to take the deceased home and prepare for a funeral.
July 29, 1886—Zeke Madkins of near Danville went to Hartsell one day last week in his wagon, carrying his little boy along with him for company. Zeke got drunk at Hartsell and started home, but his team ran away, tearing up the wagon, nearly killing the boy and doing much other damage.
Aug. 17, 1894—Last Monday morning G. B. Moore Sr., was riding out into the field on his place on Somerville Road to take some of the hands fresh water. It was a colt he was riding, and it shied at something, which made Mr. Moore spill the water on the colt. The animal then became unmanageable and threw Mr. Moore off. He fell on his shoulder, breaking the bone running from his neck to his shoulder and also fracturing the small bone in his left leg. The hurt is very painful, and Mr. Moore will be laid up for some time.
Aug. 18, 1898—Thomas H. Williams, bookkeeper for Brock & Spight in Decatur, had a narrow escape from death yesterday. While riding a mule on his way to visit relatives at Hillsboro, he was thrown by the mule, and as he struck the ground, the mule kicked Williams with both feet, injuring him.
Page BreakNov. 26, 1910—Another fatal tragedy occurred at the Hartselle railroad crossing today, making the fourth fatal accident at or near the same place within the past four years. The accident this morning occurred at 9:18, just as the northbound accommodation from Birmingham was pulling in. Little Roy Stephenson, with his little brothers, was attempting to cross the track just as this train was arriving. Two of the little fellows got safely across. Roy would have it, perhaps, but with them was their disabled grandpa. It is said that Roy, in trying to get his grandfather out of danger, waited too long to start, and the
extended arm from the cow catcher hit him on the head, knocking him about 40 feet. His skull was fractured, and no hope is held out for his recovery. The family occupies the house near the crossing and has lived there for a number of years. The train crew gave every assistance possible and remained here for some time after the accident. Many expressions of sympathy and regret were heard from all who were present at the sad scene. A large crowd gathered at the residence to which the little fellow’s near-lifeless body had been carried by tender hands to his
mother, and many eyes were moist as the mother held the little one in her arms as he gasped for breath.