Philip Ryan, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan Killed by a C. & G. T. Switch Engine.
Rum gets in its work, and the Saloonist has the Satisfaction of Seeing Another of His Victims Rushed without Warning to His Long Home.

Killed on the Nickel Plate in a Drunken Condition in Attempting to Place Him on a Flar Car. -- Crushed Under the Wheels.

Our columns this week are more than usually burdened with details of death's doing; among these none seem more sad, than the death of Philip Ryan, section foreman of the first section of the Grand Trunk railroad west from Valparaiso, which occurred Tuesday afternoon about half past three o'clock.

He had gone out to work with his men to the trestle over Russel Run. The man had separated from him a distance of about one mile and were at work at Clifford's crossing. Mr. Ryan lay down near the railroad track at the curve just west of the trestle work where he was discovered by John Ehretsman, engineer of the switch engine which was moving backward toward Sedley where it was going to assist a freight train up the grade to the depot in this city. The engineer discovered Ryan laying face downward about two and one-half feet from the rails and seemingly about ninety feet in advance of the engine. Mr. Ehretsman immediately blew the whistle and reveresed the engine. The sound of the whistle aroused Ryan who, seeing the approaching engine, attempted to rise, as he did so staggering to one side just enough to be struck by the engine as it was moving along. The engine was stopped within a few feet of where Ryan lay, and its occupants returned to the spot only to find the life of the man extinct. He had been struck on the left side of the hed, the scull being broken open from the left eye upward to the top of the head. The man's brains were scattered about in a frightful manner. Bad bruises were found on other parts of his face and his body, and all appearances indicated that he was not for a moment conscious of his injuries.

The body was picked up and brought to the depot and the coroner summoned. The inquest disclosed the cause of his death to be as we have described, and exonerates Mr. Ehretsman and Mr. W. D. Gilmore, the engineer and fireman, from all blame.

The coroner removed from the pocket of the dead man a bottle about half full of a liquid which was pronounced by Dutlef Munsen, a bartender, to be gin.

Ryan was about thirty-six years of age, and supposed to be a single man, though some rumors are to the effect that he has a wife in Oxford, Indiana. He was an employee of the Grand Trunk when it was first graded through this city. He afterward disappeared for a time, but has been here about two years in the position he held at the time of his death. James Inigley, one of the men working under him and who was acquainted with him in Ireland, says that Mr. Ryan was born in Tipperary county, of that country, and about seventeen years ago came to the United States. He enlisted and served about three years in the army of the frontiers.

The remains of Mr. Ryan were placed by the coroner in charge of Undertaker Lepell, by whom the injured parts were restored to their original position and presented a quite natural appearance. The remains of Mr. Ryan were interred yesterday in the Catholic cemetery.

His absence from his men, and his being asleep on the ground on such a cold day, his staggering as he arose, and the presence of a half billed bottle in his pocket, indicated that Ryan was in a state of intoxication when he met his death, which fact makes the accident most apalling and is a sad comment on the liberty of American institutions which gives one man the privilege of providing his neighbor with that which takes away his senses and causes him to place himself in a perilous position. Such circumstances speak volumes in favor of temperance and against intemperance. Even those who themselves indulge in draughts of intoxicating liquids are horrified when such occasions as this are presented to their minds, and yet they will continue to indulge in that which makes them worse than beasts, prepares them for the commission of any crime, and saps slowly but surely their life fountains. The saloon-keeper all the time looks serenely on, grimly smiling when he sees the deluded beings moving on to their doom.


A man, whose name we did not learn, came from Stoney Island via the Nickel Plate yesterday morning on the local and stopped at the depot of this city. He was very much intoxicated when he came and continued so through the day, a portion of which he spen in the waiting room of the depot. He finally became so noisy and offensive that he was carried from the depot building and placed on a hand car, where he lay in his maudlin condition until the arrival of the local from the east, when those who were with him, and like him drunk, tried to put him aboard a flat car. A brake was loosened just at the time and, the slack pulling up, then man was thrown between the cars and under the wheels which struck his body about the shoulders and chest and crushed him in a frightful manner. He was carried to a house near by where he died about eight o'clock in the evening. The coroner was called and after an inquest was held the body was given in charge of Undertaker Noel for burial. The parties who were with the man and tried to place him on the car, we understand have disappeared, probably fearing they might get into trouble because of the accident. It seems that they all came here to draw their pay for labor performed on the road.

Newspaper: Porter County Vidette
Date of Publication: November 23, 1882
Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 47
Page: 1
Column(s): 5 and 6

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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