Gravestone Tales of Stark County

Crushed by a granite block

Pictured at right is the headstone which fell on a worker in 1891 and caused his death.
Pictured at right is the headstone which fell on a worker in 1891 and caused his death.

By Don Schmidt

The Abner and Mary Hulsizer gravestone in Toulon Cemetery has its own deadly story. Before this magnificent granite monument was installed, the grey granite base fell on and killed William Osborn. The unfortunate accident occurred in Wyoming October 26, 1891.

Here is the report from the Oct. 29, 1891, issue of the Wyoming Post-Herald:

“Jonathan Ridgway and William Osborn were running the dray. After the forenoon trains were all in, the two men proceeded to haul a number of pieces of stone for monuments from a car near the C.B.&Q. depot to F. H. Davis’s marble shop on Seventh Street, just north of the R.I.&P. crossing. One load was hauled before dinner and the other load in the afternoon. At half-past two o’clock they were engaged in unloading the last stone. It was a block of Scotch granite for a monument to be placed over the grave of Abner Hulsizer at Toulon and was packed in a crate. The stone was about four feet in length, two feet in breadth [and one foot tall] and weighed over a thousand pounds.

“The two men had worked it to the edge of the wagon on a roller and were prying it slowly onto the skids, two planks about six or eight feet long. Mr. Osborn was on the ground in front of the rolling stone and was holding it with a crowbar. Suddenly the iron bar lost its hold, and the reaction threw him to the ground full length at the foot of the planks. The ponderous stone, being loosened by the removal of the crowbar and impelled by the recoil of the wagon springs, shot down the planks in an instant and fell over upon the prostrate man before he had time to move or utter a sound. His companion, Mr. Ridgway, seized a bar and with the help of Walter Hamilton attempted to raise the stone, but could not. Mrs. Edwards and daughter, Mrs. Hartz, who were passing in a buggy, called for help, and W. B. Thomas and H. J. Cosgrove ran to the spot and assisted in rolling the stone off of the unfortunate man. He was lying face downward. They turned him over tenderly, but he was dead.”

William Osborn was 52 years old and a Civil War veteran. He was the father of eleven children. His widow, Mary (Hamilton) Osborn, received a Civil War veteran’s widow’s pension until her death in 1908.

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