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Deadwood City Hall, 1890

Dragged to Death by Runaway Team.


A major hazard of the horse-and-buggy era was the runaway team. Herewith some examples of equestrian mishaps major and minor.

Ohio Democrat / November 1, 1883

A Runaway Team Drags an Iowa Farmer to Death.

Dubuque, Oct. 27 — A tragedy of a horrible character occurred about a mile beyond Thompson’s Mill Wednesday night. Monday last Charles Besanec, a farmer who owned a fine farm in the above vicinity, came to the city with a load of flour. When near his home on his return his team ran away. The wagon was discovered Thursday morning upon the side of the hill between some trees, and the body was found two blocks distant in a slough. There were marks on the ground indicating that it had been dragged, and creating the impression that the deceased must in some way have had the lines fastened about him. His hands were clenched and covered with mud, and the skin had been completely shorn from his side. Seemingly he had been dragged by the heels and here and there upon the stones could be detected traces of blood. His shirt was gathered about his neck, his coat and vest had been torn completely off, and everything about him gave evidence that he had experienced the most terrible fate. He was about thirty-seven years old and leaves a widow and six children, the oldest being ten years of age.

Killed a Horse.

San Antonio Light / May 2, 1893

Yesterday some rude boys were throwing stones on Milam square and one of the rocks struck a horse on a front limb, breaking the leg. Mounted Officer Coy was sent for and as soon as he arrived, an order was given to kill the horse, which he did. An endeavor was made to find the boys but the officer did not succeed.


There will be a phantom party at the residence of Mrs. Cole, on Pecan street, tomorrow night.

The Harmony club will give one of its pleasant hops next Thursday.

A runaway team and wrecked buggy passed down Garden street last night. There was no one in the vehicle, and none could tell to whom it belonged.


Edward Sherman Killed by a Runaway Team.

Stevens Point Journal / May 19, 1883

A fatal accident occurred near McDill last Wednesday morning, which resulted in the death of one Edward A. Sherman, son of A. P. and nephew of S. A. Sherman of this county.

The first tidings of the horror were communicated to our people upon the arrival of the 9:30 train on the Green Bay road from Plover. The engineer, John Long, some three miles below here and near a crossing of a wagon road leading to this city, discovered a large stump lying directly upon the track. The engine was reversed and the train stopped. Men were sent ahead to remove the obstruction, and while thus engaged the body of a man was discovered lying some ten feet from the track. The man was dead. His skull was crushed in and his face was bruised and lacerated in manner fearful to behold. It was evident that death had but recently occurred as blood flowed freely from his mouth and ears.

Leaving the body in charge of some laborers, who in the meantime had arrived, the train came on to this city. A number of people were soon on their way to the scene of death. It was discovered that the unfortunate man had been thrown from a wagon, and killed by a runaway team. S. A. Sherman identified the dead as his nephew, and the remains were taken to his residence some two miles from the place of the accident where they were prepared for burial.

A Journal reporter visited the ground, interviewed Mr. Sherman and learned the following: The unfortunate man had been at work for S. A. Sherman at the mill with his team and had this fatal morning started with a load of pickets for Herren & Wadleigh’s mill in this city. It is supposed that upon arriving at the crossing, the horses became unmanageable, and in attempting to control them the bit on the off horse gave away, throwing all the rein draw to the left, he then being unable to control them.

From the wagon tracks, it appears that the team and wagon crossed the railroad track three different times in a distance of twenty rods, making almost a complete circle. After crossing the track the second time, the load was upset, and the young man must have been dragged a distance of seven or eight rods, where he was found so horribly mutilated. The deceased was 25 years of age, sober and industrious, and his many friends and relatives deeply mourn his sudden and horrible demise.


Lincoln Evening News / June 5, 1905

A team hitched to a milk wagon belonging to J. R. Roberts of Lincoln Normal ran away from near Twenty-first and O streets shortly before noon today. The horses ran east on O street and plunged through a funeral procession, painfully injuring Mrs. Mark Martin of Malmo, Neb., who was driving in a carriage with her son just behind the hearse. The buggy was wrecked. The runaway team was captured a short distance further on. Mrs. Martin’s injuries consist mostly of cuts and bruises and it is not expected that they will prove serious. The hearse bearing the body of Mrs. Kate Smith, recently deceased, had just crossed Thirtieth street when the runaway team came up O street. It cut through the line of teams, striking the light buggy in which Mrs. Martin and her son were riding, totally demolishing it. Mrs. Martin was thrown out and had a narrow escape from being trampled under the horses’ feet.

After a short delay, spent in looking after Mrs. Martin’s injuries, the procession went on to the cemetery. Officer Boegh, who happened to be near the scene of the accident, brought the team back to the city. Spectators say that the horses became frightened at some flying papers and broke away from their hitching at Twenty-first and O streets.


Feared a Runaway Team Dashing Toward Her and Heart Failure Ensued from the Shock.

Fort Wayne Sentinel / July 8, 1902

Mrs. F. A. Young, whose home is on Carson avenue, near the state school for the feeble-minded, passed through a painful and exciting experience Monday afternoon. Leaping from her buggy because she feared a runaway team which was dashing down upon her, Mrs. Young was painfully bruised, and suffered excessively from shock and collapse.

Mrs. Young was driving on East Wayne street near Monroe, when she noticed a runaway team dash out of an alley on Monroe street and come tearing toward her at a terrific speed. A collision between the two carriages seemed inevitable, and to save herself Mrs. Young jumped from her buggy. In doing so she sustained a painful injury to one of her knees, and was almost helpless as spectators rushed to her aid.

The injured woman, suffering from shock and in a state of collapse from heart failure, was assisted into a residence near by, and Dr. S. D. Sledd summoned. Later she was able to be removed to her home. Dr. Sledd does not apprehend the patient will sustain any permanent injury from her experience, though for a time her condition was critical, owing to the weak heart action. The runaway team dashed around Mrs. Young’s buggy without striking it, and as it developed the woman would have been entirely safe had she remained in the vehicle.

Horse Killed.

San Antonio Daily Light / January 21, 1890

A horse belonging to Wagner & Chabot wan almost instantly killed yesterday afternoon near Muth’s garden on Government hill, by being impaled on the tongue of the carriage drawn by a runaway team, belonging to private parties. The horse was attached to a two-wheeled delivery wagon and was driven by the firm’s collector. The pole stuck almost through the animal.



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