Monday, August 5, 2013

Plunge to His Death


Lawrence Hummell Fell Into a 54 Foot Well


Michael Sorter Was Lowered After the Body

Deceased Was an Old and Respected German Resident
Lawrence Hummel, sr., an old and respected German resident of this city, met with a horrible accident about 10 o'clock this morning, at the home he had occupied for some time, just opposite St. Joseph's academy on North street. He was dead when found. The unfortunate old gentleman pitched head first down a well at the rear of the house, and was badly mangled about the head.
The well is an open one, bricked up from the bottom 54 feet below, and had about 18 inches of water in it. At the top there was a curb, on top of which was a well house with barriers and a roof. Int the roof was a large pully [sic], over which a rope worked to let the bucket down. The bucket had been dropped, and Mr. Hummel was trying to fish it up from the bottom with the rope. He was leaning over the barrier and in some way lost his balance, pitching head first down to the bottom.
The only person within sight was his little grandchild, Willie Hummel, aged five years, who was in the back yard watching his grandfather. He saw him go and ran screaming into the house. The child's mother immediately gave the alarm, and the telephone was put into active use. It was a fearful time for the family, who suffered all kinds of tortures until help came. Marshal Ullrich was soon on the scene, and Michael Sorter came with tackle and ropes. Mr. Sorter was lowered into the well and fastened a rope around the dead body. Mr. Sorter was hauled out and then the remains of Mr. Hummel were next brought to the surface. The poor man was almost completely submerged in the water, head down. Dr. Esli Morden was on the scene when he was brought out, but life was extinct, and his services were not needed. The head was horribly mutilated, where it had struck against the stones and brick. The right eye was mashed in, a horrible cut nearly severed the right cheek, and he was otherwise badly bruised and cut.
Coroner Hamilton was summoned, but after learning of the nature of the death an inquest was thought unnecessary. The remains were taken to the home of Geo. C. Burger, No. 60 Locust street, on account of the fact that the house was being broken up. Lawrence Hummel, jr., is to live over Mr. Grabner's store on North Main street; Mr. McDonald and family are moving over near the college. Their goods were all packed and partially taken out of the house. The unfortunate father was to live in the house with some parties who had rented it, he being the owner of the property. The house was therefore stripped of furniture for the present.
Dr. Esli Morden states that Mr. Hummel was subject to fits of dizziness ever since he was caught in a runaway some-time ago, and nearly killed. It must have been in one of these fits that he plunged into the well. The unfortunate man's neck was found to be broken, but no other bones were broken.
Deceased was born in Wuerthenburg [sic] , Germany, May 16, 58 years ago, and came to this country when a young man. He lived in Coldwater for some time where he married. Then he moved to Adrian and was employed for 25 years as a cabinet maker at the Lake Shore shops. His wife died about seven years ago. He was a hardworking, honest German citizen. He leaves the following children to mourn him: Miss Carrie Hummel, Mrs. Wm. Reitz, Lansing, Mrs. Edward Spies, Fairfield; Lawrence Hummel, jr., Hugo Hummel, Herman Hummel and Arthur Hummel, the latter a carrier boy at The Telegram office. There are two grandchildren: Wm. Hummel, son of Lawrence, jr., who was with his grandfather, and a daughter of Mrs. Edward Spies.
Obituary, The Adrian Daily Telegram, Monday, September 16, 1901, page 2 column 3, copy obtained from microfilm at State Library of Michigan, Lansing.