“Mr. John Neville, for more than twenty years an honored resident of York county and MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAfor the past four years residing upon Mr. Haggard’s farm two and a half miles north of Wahoo, was struck by an Elkhorn passenger train at a grade crossing beside the farm on which he lived, on Monday afternoon and almost instantly killed.  The terrible news reached his hosts of friends in York on Monday evening and carried consternation and grief into many a York county home before midnight.                                                                                            

The facts of the accident which resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Neville as developed at the inquest are as follows:

He was assisting a neighbor near his home in hauling some corn to a feeding ranch across the railroad track and had taken a load over after dinner and was returning for another and was approaching the track just as the passenger train due at 2:40 was approaching the crossing.  Another man hauling corn to the same place was approaching the track from the east and says that Mr. Neville was standing in his wagon driving the team which was traveling at a trot; that he came to the track with his head held down as though he was thinking or in a deep study; that he continued in this position without looking up or looking to either side until he came upon the track.  Just as the team got squarely upon the track the train came from the south running at a speed of thirty-five miles an hour or more and struck the wagon between the front and hind wheels smashing they wagon to kindling wood and throwing the unfortunate man as high as forty feet, falling upon his head and shoulders upon the frozen ground some distance from the track.  The train was stopped and he was picked up and taken back to Wahoo and the best medical aid in the city was immediately called in.  The surgeons found that he was suffering from concussion of the brain and despite all efforts to save his life he expired in about two hours after being struck.

The deceased was married over twenty years ago, his wife being formerly Miss Anna Morgan of West Blue, who survives him together with nine children ranging from three to nineteen years of age.  His aged mother now living in this city as well as four brothers in York county and three sisters mourn his tragic end.

The remains were taken to the Catholic church at Wahoo yesterday morning where the first funeral services were held and then brought to York accompanied by the stricken family and a number of friends and arrived here last night.  The funeral was held in this city at St. Joseph’s Catholic church at 9:30 this morning attended by a great concourse of people from nearly every part of the county, and he was laid to eternal rest in the Catholic cemetery.  

The coroner’s jury found the facts as stated above and made the following additional finding: ‘We further find from the evidence given and the lay of the ground where the accident occurred that had due caution been observed by all concerned this accident would have been avoided.’ 

Every person who knew John Neville loved him as a brother.  His sterling honesty and integrity commended the respect of everyone and his genial wholesouled good nature made a warm friend of every person with whom he came in contact.  He was a prince among men and countless citizens of both York and Saunders counties will cherish his memory for many a day.  All regret his terrible taking off and tender to the stricken family the most heartfelt sympathy.  He lived a good and exemplary life, and was a kind husband and a dutiful son to one of the best mothers in York county.  What more could be said of him?  While he was taken from his active work of life and plunged before his Maker in almost an instant, we hope that his good works in this world will be rewarded by the welcoming smile of the God he loved and served all his life.  May his soul rest in peace.”[1]


[1] Obituary, York Daily News-Times (microfilm), 8 Jan 1903, p. 1 col. 7, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, NE.

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