Tuesday, November 6, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 6

November 6, 1898 - The railroad crossing at Oak Street and University Avenue (today right in front of TCF Stadium on the University of Minn. Minneapolis campus) was the scene of an accident at about 5:25 this afternoon. In spite of the gates that were recently placed there, one man was killed and two others miraculously escaped the same fate. The gates were not down, as they should have been.

A switch engine coming into Minneapolis from the yards near Midway struck Theodore Hamm’s carriage, demolishing it and causing the death of the coachman.

Theodore Hamm1

Mr. Hamm is the president of the Theodore Hamm Brewing Co., St. Paul. His nephew, William, 23 years old, recently came from Germany for a visit. Being a pleasant afternoon, Mr. Hamm took his relative out for a drive, and also to show him Minneapolis. It was while they were on their way home that the sad accident occurred.

Hamm family home (far right) looking down on their brewery2

 Mr. Hamm had his fine double carriage drawn by a spirited pair of horses. His coachman, Fred Graham, was in the front seat, and the brewer and his nephew sat in the rear.

When they approached the tracks at the place where the accident occurred they saw that the gates were up. The horses were going at a slow trot. When in the middle of the track the headlight of an engine was seen. It was too late, however, to turn back, and a horrible crash ensued. When the engine stopped 100 feet beyond, Theodore Hamm was hanging to the footboard of the locomotive. He had escaped with a few minor bruises, although the sole of his right shoe had been torn off. The coachman was picked up beside the track. He had been dragged the distance the engine had moved after striking the carriage.

The firemen at Engine Co. No. 19, a half block away, rendered valiant assistance. C. W. Osborn, Truck Co. No. 6, picked up William Hamm, who was found alongside the track, and carried him into the company’s quarters. Mr. Hamm was also helped into the building. The coachman was beyond help, and his body was not touched until the arrival of the coroner.

The police responded promptly and removed William Hamm to the city hospital, where his left leg was found to be broken below the knee in two places. The fractures were set. Theodore Hamm secured another carriage and continued his journey home.

It was switch engine No. 402 of the Chicago Great Western that struck the carriage, in charge of Engineer Harvey and Fireman Watts. They say they could not see the carriage, as it had just turned a corner. However, the headlights on both ends were burning. On the other hand, Mr. Hamm says the engine could not be seen, as a building was in the way, and besides he was positive the gates were up. Engineer Harvey states that he was backing up into the city, steam was shut off, and the speed of the engine did not exceed six miles an hour at the time of the accident.

Deputy Coroner Frank Dennis viewed the remains and had them removed to the morgue. Graham’s body was not mangled, although the dragging process had broken every bone in his body, and had reduced the flesh almost to jelly. An inquest will be held tomorrow.

Graham was about 55 years old. He has been employed as coachman by Mr. Hamm for the past three years.

The horses broke away from the carriage, which was totally demolished, and ran up Oak Street a distance of five blocks. They were caught by a citizen and had not suffered any injured.

All reports agree that the gates were up at the time. Olaf Ellevold, gateman, admitted that he was not on hand when the crash came. He was in the engine house getting a drink of water, and was not looking for a train at the time. Ellevold is 22 years old and has held his present position since the gates were installed at this point. Those who know him state that he is very faithful to duty, but has no one to relieve him during his work hours.

Had the carriage been two feet farther over the tracks, it is probable that Graham would have escaped and the two Hamms in the rear would have died. Theodore Hamm, who is about 63 years old, was so prostrated by the shock that he could not give an accurate account of how the accident had happened. His escape was most miraculous.

William Hamm was reported resting easily late tonight. The injury to his leg and a few small bruises constitute his wounds.

Theodore Hamm went to the home of his daughter, Mrs. Otto Muller, St. Paul. There he was examined by Dr. Stamm, who found that he had sustained a severe fracture of the several small bones of the right foot. He will be confined to the house for several days.

Muller Home3

William Hamm has been visiting his uncle for the past three weeks. He came from Baden, Germany. William Hamm, son of Theodore, and Dr. Schweitzer came to Minneapolis this evening to help the sufferer in the hospital. He will probably be removed to St. Paul tomorrow.

The remains of the coachman will be sent to St. Paul and buried from the Hamm residence, where he has lived for five years.

The Minneapolis Tribune; “Death on the Track. Deplorable Accident at University and Oak Street. Private Carriage Run Down by a Switch Engine. Fred Graham Killed and William Hamm Badly Hurt.”; Nov. 7, 1898; p. 1.



3https://i1.wp.com/forgottenminnesota.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/greenbrier_MR2.9-SP3.2d-p52_1902.jpeg  Muller house


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