Saturday, July 7, 2018

On this Date in Minnesota History: July 7

July 7, 1899 – Edward Hanson, a feeble-minded boy of about 13, met with a frightful death this afternoon at the state school for the feeble-minded in Faribault.


A number of the children had been taken out by the teachers for a ride on the merry-go-round and Hanson was one of the first on the machine. He was placed on the inner circle, or revolving platform, which has a number of seats. The merry-go-round had scarcely started when several of the pupils saw Hanson stand up as if he were giddy. The next moment he fell backward on his head on the ground. He was instantly drawn under the stationary platform or exit steps. No one saw what then happened until they perceived the lifeless body lying several feet away with the head completely torn off. The child’s death must have been almost instantaneous, as he made no sound.

Dr. S. J. Seeley, the coroner, empaneled a jury and began investigating the circumstances. The jury sat until late this evening and rendered a verdict about midnight exonerating all persons from blame, and declaring the death entirely accidental.

The merry-go-round was being run by A. R. Tracey, the electrical engineer and the principal, Dr. Rogers, and some of the teachers had charge of the children. It has a speed six times greater than was being used at the time.

Tracey, the engineer, swore that he had not noticed the boy until he saw him in imminent peril. He then instantly gave the assistant orders to shut off the steam, while he immediately applied the brake to the fly wheel. He saw the child no more until the headless body was carried out and laid on the grass, but gave his attention to getting the other children safely off the merry-go-round, as ordered by the principal.

Edward Hanson was an orphan, and came from Fillmore County, where he had an uncle. He had been on the merry-go-round many times before, and had always seemed perfectly safe and happy.

The Saint Paul Globe; “State Charge Killed. Feeble-Minded Boy at Faribault Has His Head Torn Off.”; July 8, 1899; p. 3.



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