Jesse Beghtol, a Former Astoria Boy Run Over by a Train at Kewanee.

We take the following from the Kewanee Star-Courier of Tuesday, Feb. 3:

On his way to sweep the snow off the switches of the railroad tracks near the plant of the Kewanee Boiler company, Jesse Beghtol, a young man seventeen years old, was struck by a train and instantly killed, about seven o'clock this morning. The body, head and limbs were terribly mangled and the victim of the accident had not a moment's suffering, so quickly was life wrested from him.

No one witnessed the accident, so far as has been learned. The young man was undoubtedly alone and even if men had been near him at the time it would have been impossible to see him so blinding was the snow storm that was prevailing at the time. On this account the engineer and fireman of whatever train struck him, failed to see him.

The body was first seen by Conductor Tracy, of an extra freight train, which was waiting for the stub train to cross over from the north to the south track, as it came up from Galva. When Mr. Tracy noticed the body it was lying south of the south track at a point directly south of the large office building of the Kewanee Boiler company. Several of the train men went to investigate and found a ghastly scene confronting them.

Remains Mutilated.

The head severed from the body, had been left between the rails, while the body lay a dozen feet away. The left arm had been cut off and the right leg was mutilated in terrible manner. The abdomen had been torn open. The back part of the skull was gone. The remains had apparently been run over by the engine and several cars.

The remains were taken to Kreidler's undertaking rooms where some time elapsed before they were positively identified. One man, Mr. Stewart, was sure at first the body was that of his son, but found to his relief he was mistaken. Nelson Kreidler was the first to be confident of the identity of the young man, recognizing him as one of the helpers in the outdoor advertising work of the opera house.

Lived in West Part of City.

The young man was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Beghtol, living south of the block-house in the west part of the city. He worked some time at the plant of the Boss Manufacturing Co., but of late has been employed with Mr. Empson in out-door advertising. Last night he told his father he would try to secure employment with the Kewanee Boiler Co., and started for the plant this morning shortly before seven o'clock. His father, who is employed at the plant of the Western Tube Co., last saw him alive at 5:45, when the former started for his work. The young man was then seated near the stove with his feet at the hearth.

Came From Astoria.

The shock to the parents and the sister, the only other member of the family, is a severe one and it is with difficulty they can realize the young man is dead. The family comes originally from Astoria, Ill., but moved to Kirkwood, going from there to Monmouth and thence to Kewanee less than a year ago.

Block-operator Huston states that young Beghtol came into the "cabin" about 6:30 o'clock this morning and volunteered to sweep the snow off the switches. It was while about this work that he met his death. The broom which he used was found near the mangled remains.
Conductor Cronien Talks.

Fred Cronien, who has charge of the stub train during the lay-off of Conductor Boggs was one of the first to see the mutilated remains. He was interviewed by the Star-Courier immediately after he came from the scene of the accident and told of the circumstances so far as he knew of them as follows:

"We brought the stub train up from Galva at about the usual time, passing the block-house near the Boiler Company crossing, close to seven o'clock. We came up from Galva on the north track and were crossing to the south track near the Boiler Company's office building when we were stopped by Conductor Tracy of Extra freight train No. 1727, who notified us a man had been killed.

"We walked down the track a little way and saw mangled remains of a boy or young man. The head was completely severed from the body and lay between the rails of the south track. The body which was terribly cut up, was south of the south track, ten feet or more away from the head.

Tracy Sees Remains.

"Conductor Tracy was the first man to see the remains. He had come down from the east with his train and was waiting for our stub train to cross over to the south track. When his train backed up, he saw the body.

"We found the body was still warm and there was little snow upon it, although the storm was then in progress. This showed the body had been lying there only a few minutes. We were under the impression that train No. 12, the fast east bound passenger train had struck the man. This train was late and pulled out of Galva at 6:43, just a few minutes ahead of our stub train.

Little Snow on Body.

"No, it was not train No. 7, that fast mail which struck him as that train went through here before six o'clock and the body would have been seen in the intervening hour and would have been well covered with snow."

Deputy Coroner Palmer impanelled a jury which is holding an inquest this afternoon.

The funeral service will be at the house at 2:30 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, the Rev. A. C. Roach being in charge.

* * *

Jesse Beghtol was born in Astoria August 19, 1886, and departed this life February 3, 1903, aged 17 years. He spent most of his life in Astoria. Jesse was an industrious boy and it was while assisting a friend before the dawn of day in a terrible snow storm that he met his death. His casket was covered with flowers presented by his young friends. His death has cast a gloom over the entire community. He leaves a father, mother and one sister, and a host of friends to mourn the loss of a beloved one. Funeral was held Thursday in Kewanee, and as the sun was sinking low in the western sky the beloved one was laid to rest.

Our loved one is gone to endless day
To sigh no more but with Jesus stay
He left our hearts enwrapped in gloom
By going away from us so soon.
Unto you my friends who are now near by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.


Published in the Astoria Search Light on 2/12/1903


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