Friday, December 8, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 8

December 8, 1914 – John McCarthy, 75 years old, lost his life this morning when he attempted to rescue a young woman who had thrown herself in the path of a passenger train. The woman was unhurt.

McCarthy, who was a flagman stationed at the Eagle Street crossing of the Milwaukee Road in St. Paul, was in his shanty at about 7 a.m. when he saw a girl lie down across the rails in front of a Milwaukee passenger train. McCarthy rushed from his shack, but before he could reach the would-be suicide he was struck by a Soo Line train going in the opposite direction on the other track.

McCarthy’s head was cut off. The young woman, who gave her name as Minnie Sellman, changed her mind at the last minute and rolled away from danger.

Miss Sellman is believed to be demented. She told the police that she was unemployed and in want, but investigation showed that she has been employed at a Midway hotel, and has $196 in a savings bank.

McCarthy had no family.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Aged Flagman Gives Life Trying to Save Woman. Sees Girl Throw Herself on the Track Before Milwaukee Passenger Train. He Is Struck by Another Train, While Girl Rolls Out of Danger.”; Dec. 9, 1914; p. 4.


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