Monday, December 26, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 26

December 26, 1911 – John Moes, Minneapolis, who was run over by a street car at First and Washington Avenues last Saturday night, and so seriously injured that his right leg had to be amputated below the knee, is today insisting on a Christian burial for his leg.

As soon as the man was taken to the City Hospital it was found that an amputation was necessary. He was placed under anesthesia and the operation was performed. As soon as he recovered consciousness, the first thing he asked about was his leg, and when he discovered it was missing, he demanded it be properly cared for.

So insistent did he become about the severed member that Dr. Collins, city physician, called up Richard Tattersfield, superintendent of the poor, and asked whether he would undertake to bury the leg with all proper rites. After being told all about the matter, Tattersfield declined to act, as it was found the man had about $50 in his possession.

Moes said he was willing to spend the money and declared if Tattersfield would not undertake the ceremony, he would find an undertaker who would. Dauphine and Ringer were selected and the leg was put in their possession.

Tomorrow, it will be taken to Lakewood Cemetery and placed in the vault until spring, when the formal interment will take place. A casket, silk-lined and with silver handles, has been provided. It is the first time in the history of the city, so far as known, that a man has been partially buried with more than ordinary ceremonies.

Lakewood Cemetery

Tattersfield said this evening that he was willing to take charge of a body and see that it was properly interred when there was no one else to care for it, but he balked at burying a man piece-meal, especially when the man in question had the necessary funds to pay for his own funeral service.

Moes insisted he was taking no chances, however, declaring he had heard all sort of stories about the agony endured by men who had lost an arm or leg and had them buried in a cramped position.

“I have endured pain enough in losing the member,” he said. “I don’t purpose to suffer more than necessary and I have therefore insisted on having my leg properly buried.”

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Man Demands Burial for Amputated Limb. John Moes, Who Loses Leg in Accident, Wants It Properly Laid to Rest. Undertakers Are Engaged and Silk-Lined Casket Is Provided. Street Victim Says He Doesn’t Purpose to Endure Future Agony.”; Dec. 27, 1911; p. 10.

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Dec. 26, 2012, 
as long as acknowledgement included.


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