Yesteryears

OLí DAVE MURRAY

 

Olí Dave Murray,

He went in a hurry.

 

With a dynamite stick,

His life went quick.

 

 It sure beats the band,

How it blew off his hand.

 

Now he lays in a seven foot hole,

Where itís better for his soul.

Accidental Explosion of Dynamite Instantly Kills David E. Murray, Metamora Herald January 4, 1935

 

            An accidental explosion of two sticks of dynamite which he intended to use as a salvo to the New Year, cost the life of David E. Murray a few minutes past midnight on the street at the northeast corner of the square in Metamora Monday night.

            His body, shattered about the middle by the blast was discovered by Marshal Christ Hellweg a few seconds later, at the moment the fearfully injured man was gasping his last breath, and only by the same space of time did the officer, who was walking toward the unfortunate man, miss being a possible victim of the tragedy also.

            Marshal Hellweg relates that he was walking northward on the sidewalk northward on the sidewalk on the east side of the square. Bells had just tolled the passing of the old year and rang in the new. The street lights had just gone out and it was quite dark. On the sidewalk near the post office two figures attracted the marshalís attention. As he watched them, one disappeared and the other cut across the street to the intersection opposite the bank and there stopped. The marshal had reached the Tippy store corner by this time and stopped there for a moment. The figure remained motionless and the officer decided to approach. He had reached the middle of the street north of the Tippy store and was within about 25 feet of the motionless figure when there was a terrific explosion and a blinding flash. The officer was almost knocked off his feet by the concussion. As quickly as he could recover his composure he proceeded to the spot where the explosion occurred and drew his flashlight. He immediately recognized the explosion victim as David Murray and called him by name. A slight groan and gasp was the only response.

            The marshal called help from Naumanís restaurant, where a group of young men still lingered, and sent calls for Dr. Jos. I. Knoblauch, Coroner Dr. J. T. Wyatt and Sheriff Mars. Dr. Knoblauch viewed the body and made a cursory examination and upon advice of the coroner it was removed to the Mason funeral parlor, pending the arrival of the coroner and sheriff. The sheriff and Marshal Hellweg interviewed several persons who had been with the deceased during the evening and the information gathered indicated that the explosion was accidental. It was learned that Mr. Murray had procured two sticks of dynamite, with which to usher in the New Year, as was his custom. He had dried them in a stove in his home and afterwards reported that he had attached fuses and was ready for the stroke of midnight. He had planned to fire one on a street in the north side of the village and the other at the southeast corner of the square, according to one informant.

            The explanation accepted as most plausible is that Mr. Murray was carrying the dynamite sticks in his coat pocket on the left side and that in holding his lighted pipe in his left hand at his side, or thrusting it into his pocket, a fuse became ignited. Marshal Hellweg believes this is the only manner in which the fuse could have been lighted, since he had been watching closely for some time and saw no match lighted.

            Coroner Wyatt conducted the inquest at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, the following serving as jurors: J. Ed Meek, foreman, Menzie Frerichs, Clifford Fehr, J.D. McLaughlin, Joseph Paluska and Calvin Carrithers. Dr. Knoblauch, who examined the body, and several who had seen or been with the deceased during the evening testified as witnesses. The verdict of the jury was death due to shock, concussion and lacerations resulting from an explosion of dynamite in possession of deceased.

 

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