Manford Litchfield Instantly Killed In Auto Crash Thursday On Route 31 West Of Astoria

Two Others Seriously Injured Were Rushed to Hospital; Driver Turns Car In Front of CocaCola Truck; Accident As Unavoidable

Manford Litchfield, aged 73 years, a life long resident of this community, was instantly killed in an automobile crash, which occurred on Route 31 three miles west of Astoria, Thursday afternoon at about 4:30 o'clock.

Mr. Litchfield and wife in company with Allen France and wife, were returning from a Woodmen picnic held near the Christian Neck church.

The elderly couple planned to stop on their way home at the Guy Aten home to leave a sale bill. In the front seat of the Ford touring car with Mr. France, owner and driver of the car, was Mr. Litchfield. When almost opposite the Aten home, which is on the pavement, Mrs. France, it is said, remarked to her husband, not to forget the sale bill, whereupon, according to testimony at the inquest, he turned the car suddenly across the road directly in front of a ton truck driven by Donald DeSollar, aged 18, of Beardstown, who was driving west. The truck hit the touring car in the right front and carried it back west and crushed it. It was turned on its left side near the center of the pavement and the occupants thrown violently to the pavement.

The four aged people were partly pinned under the Ford car. Members of the Aten family hurried to the scene. It was found that Mr. Litchfield was dead. Mr. and Mrs. France were rendered unconscious. They were carried from the wreckage while Mrs. Litchfield was able to walk as she was only bruised. Dr. H. T. Baxter of Astoria was called. Upon his arrival he administered first aid to Mr. and Mrs. France, who were found in a serious condition and then rushed them to the hospital at Rushville.

It was brought out at the inquest that the truck, which was a Dodge and belonged to the Rink Bottling Works at Beardstown, continued some 300 feet from the point of the collision before it stopped. DeSollar was accompanied by Howard Brown, also of Beardstown. They were returning to Beardstown with the truck loaded with empty bottles.

A witness testified at the inquest that France held out his hand, signalling that he was turning across the pavement, but such a signal is no signal at all to the approaching driver, for he had the right-away in this case. The signal would have been all right for a car following. It was also brought out at the inquest that Mr. France's eyesight is defective. There was nothing to prevent him from seeing the approaching truck some distance at this point.

The truck driver testified that he was going 25 miles an hour and that France turned across the road when the truck was only 20 feet away. He said his brakes were all right before the crash, although other witnesses testified that an examination after the collision showed the brakes were loose. An 18-inch strip where the truck's tires had dragged on the pavement just before the collision indicated that DeSollar's contention had basis.

Guy Aten, who did not see the collision but looked up and saw the truck go on past afterward, testified that the truck was going more than 35 miles an hour after the crash.

Coroner C. Lambert of Canton was notified and an inquest was held at the Horton undertaking establishment at a late hour that night, with the following Jurymen: E. E. David, W. W. Cassell, P. A. Arthur, Ed Benton, Fred Tedrick and O. D. Hibbs. The witnesses were: Mrs. Guy Aten, Guy Aten, Harry Danner, Keith Danner, Dr. H. T. Baxter, Claude Leighty and Charles Bankes.

A verdict was rendered finding that Mr. Litchfield's death was due to an automobile accident which was unavoidable.

Mr. and Mrs. France are still in the hospital and it is thought that Mr. France is the most seriously injured of the two.

Neither of the boys on the truck were injured. The truck was only slightly damaged.

States Attorney G. R. Senift, Sheriff E. M. Rorer, and Deputy Sheriff Harvey Williams were present at the inquest, also a representative of the insurance company carrying insurance on the truck.


Manford Theodore Litchfield, son of James and Jane Litchfield, was born in Astoria, Fulton Co., Illinois, March 15, 1856 and departed this life on August 29, 1929, aged 73 years, 5 months and 14 days. He grew to manhood on the old Litchfield homestead west of Astoria and received his education in the local schools. He spent his entire life in and around Astoria. Mr. Litchfield was united in marriage to Cleressia Adelade Bryan, March 30, 1881 and the two walked down life's journey, sharing the joys and sorrows of life for over 48 years. To this union six children were born: two daughters and four sons, Mrs. Clarence Ball of Peoria, Ill.; Miss Sabina Litchfield of Quincy, Ill.; Frank Litchfield of Montgomery, Alabama, Rev. Clarence Litchfield of Sherrard, Millard Litchfield of Sciota, and Dewey Litchfield of Industry.

About 35 years ago he united with the Pleasant Ridge U. B. church, serving the church for a number of years as steward and trustee of the church and parsonage. He later united by transfer with the United Brethren church of Astoria of which church he was an honored member at death. He was a very conscientious, faithful follower of his Lord, having his family devotions and bringing his children up in the admonition of the Lord, which service and devotion resulted in fruit that was a joy to them as they came down to the end of life's journey and to know that their children were following them in kingdom service and their hearts rejoiced that the Lord had called one son, Clarence, into the ministry and others into active church work.

Last Sunday he had planned to go to church with his son, but thru a misunderstanding on the part of his son he did not get to go, so he contented himself with his worship in the home by reading from the Word of God.

Mr. Litchfield was widely known and dearly loved by many who knew him best. Honest and upright and a fine neighbor. He leaves to mourn his departure, the sorrow stricken companion, the above named children, fourteen grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held at the U. B. church in Astoria, Sunday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock by the pastor, Rev. W. R. Seitzinger, assisted by Rev. W. T. Nichols, pastor of the Christian church. Interment was made in the Astoria cemetery.


Published in the Argus-Search Light on 9/4/1929

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