John N. Serff Killed In Runaway Accident

Fatal Accident Occurred Saturday Evening One-Quarter Mile West of Astoria.

John SerffSaturday evening at 7 o’clock John Serff, a prominent and highly respected farmer residing four miles southwest of Astoria died from injuries received in a runaway accident which occurred at about five the same evening, one-fourth mile west of this city, near Andy Mummert’s residence.

Mr. Serff and wife came to Astoria accompanied by their son, Sherman and wife of Peoria, who had spent Thanksgiving with them. Sherman and his wife were leaving for their home and were taken to the depot by his father in his two seated hack. At about five o’clock Mr. and Mrs. Serff left for their home and when near Andy Mummert’s residence one trace became unhooked and one of the animals, which was very high spirited, began to kick and they both started to run away. The tongue came down and the hack was turned completely over, throwing the occupants violently from the rig. Both were thrown near the fence. Mrs. Serff was only slightly injured, and she immediately went to the assistance of her husband who lay only a few feet away. He was unconscious and she did all in her power to resuscitate him. Grover Derry and Mrs. Lewis Hess were the first to appear on the scene and lend assistance. A physician was summoned and acting upon his advice, the injured man was taken to his home in William Hastings’ automobile.

On examination it was found that he alighted on his head, striking the left temple, inflicting injuries to the brain from which he died at 7 o’clock Saturday evening.

The team ran to Jesse Stambaugh’s farm home before they were caught. The rig was badly damaged.


John Serff was born Jan. 10th, 1853 in York county, Pa. He came to Illinois when quite young with his parents. At the time of his death he was aged 64 years, 10 months and 21 days.

In 1873 he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Flickinger of near Ipava and to them were born three children, namely, Mrs. Carrie Davis, deceased, Mrs. Frank Heath of Astoria and Sherman Serff of Peoria. In December 1886 his wife passed to her final reward.

Mr. Serff was again married in Dec. 1888, his second wife being Miss Minnie Skiles. To them was born one daughter, Mrs. Orley Prather of Astoria. Besides his heartbroken wife, two daughters and one son, he leaves to mourn his untimely death, one sister, Mrs. James Pierce of Rushville.

Mr. Serff was a member of the Union Baptist church and served on the school board in that district for a number of years. He was a good neighbor, an upright citizen and was held in high esteem by all who knew him and had a host of friends who were pained to hear of his sad death.

The funeral services were held Monday at 2:30 o’clock at the Oak Grove church, conducted by Rev. John Davis of Woodland township. Interment in the cemetery near by.


Published in the Argus-Search Light on 12/5/1917

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