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From the Vault: News from the Saturday, Sept. 20, 1902, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 9/12/18

Horrible accident as little girl terribly mangled by gunshot

A very distressing accident happened Sunday afternoon at the Swartz farm, near Middletown, tenanted by Mr. Diemler, and in consequence …

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From the Vault: News from the Saturday, Sept. 20, 1902, edition of the Press & Journal


Horrible accident as little girl terribly mangled by gunshot

A very distressing accident happened Sunday afternoon at the Swartz farm, near Middletown, tenanted by Mr. Diemler, and in consequence a little girl will be horribly maimed for life and will likely lose the sight of both eyes.

Sunday afternoon, Gertie Deimler, who is employed at the Rosedale farm, Youngsport, of which Mr. S. Cameron Young is the owner, went to visit her parents, who are tenants on the Swartz farm. She was accompanied by little 6-year-old Ruth Gettier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gettier, who are tenants at Rosedale.

Mr. Diemler had gone out to shoot a chicken hawk and had placed the shotgun on the table. It was loaded.

One of the younger Diemler children told little Ruth to look into the gun and as she was putting her eye to the muzzle it was discharged. The load struck her in the left side of the face and tore it horribly. The left eye was split and the cheekbone was crushed very badly.

The load of shot passed along the side of the head, tearing a gutter in the flesh over 10 inches wide and clean to the bone. The right eye is also injured and at present she is in total darkness although it is thought the sight of the latter is not permanently destroyed.

The little victim was so near the gun that the flash burned her flesh at other parts of the of the face, not struck by the disfiguring shot. She was brought to Dr. D.W.C. Laverty’s office in town where she was given tender and skillful treatment, Dr. George F. Mish assisting Laverty in the operation.

The excitement was so great that it was hard to find how the gun was discharged but there is little doubt that one of the little tots either struck the gun, jarring down the hammer, or in some way pulled the trigger as Ruth looked into the barrel.

While the accident is of a most horrible one, it will not necessarily be fatal. If some complication does not set in, she will recover, but will be badly disfigured.

Held up on Emaus Street; but the nerve of the footpads failed and they ran

“Hold up your hands,” were the words that roughly assailed Geo. Mull as he was passing along Emaus near Catherine street Thursday night about 10 o’clock and the two would-be footpads appeared very determined.

Their supposed victim did not respond as they expected but instead swore gently at the intrusion, The man with the gruff voice and his companion silently stole away, but not before batting Mr. Mull over the head with a club.

The wound bled quite profusely, but was not dangerous.

Editor’s note: According to, a footpad is a robber or thief specializing in pedestrian victims. The term was used widely from the 16th century until the 19th century but then gradually fell out of common use.

Death of a well-known farmer

George Espenshade, one of the best known residents and farmers, of Londonderry Township, died on Monday after a weeks illness of diarrhea, aged 74 years.

He is survived by his wife, four sons and one daughter, as follows; Benjamin, John, Solomon, Abram and Katie, who is married to Abram Winters, all residing in the lower end of this county.

The following brothers and sisters also survive the deceased: John, David and Martin Espenshade, and Mrs. Barney Yingst and Mrs, Peter Brinser; all residing in Londonderry Township.

The funeral services and interment took place at Geyers Church Thursday morning, Revs. S.L. Swartz, of town, and S. H. Brinser of near Hillsdale officiating.

Runaway caused excitement on Emaus Street; horse frightened at auto

There was lots of excitement on Emaus Street on Tuesday, caused by a runaway horse, which luckily got away without injuring anyone badly.

The horse was in the charge of Liveryman D. Miles Sherrick, and he was driving out Emaus Street to the Middletown furniture factory.

Mr. H.P. Young then came into sight driving his automobile.

The gong was sounded by Mr. Young and Mr. Sherrick jumped from the carriage and grabbed the bridle, thinking thus to have better control over the animal.

The horse started, however, and Mr. Sherrick was dragged to Catherine Street where he was compelled to relinquish his hold and was slightly injured about the hip in the fall which followed.

The horse after getting loose from the buggy, by breaking the shafts, continued down Emaus Street and was finally captured and restrained.

Sermon on foot ball game

Rev. R. H. Crawford, pastor of the M.E. church, preached a very entertaining sermon Sunday evening on the foot ball game.

He had issued an invitation to the M.A.A. boys to be present in a body and the association was well represented.

The sermon was an able discourse, covering the game from a religious standpoint.

Crawford is interested in all athletic sports, but thinks they should be entered into with moderation, and like all things with a religious spirit. The members of the association and the congregation were much pleased with the effort.

Gift of organ came by odd incident

In April, Andrew Carnegie was a passenger on a train between Harrisburg and Altoona. William Ziegler, conductor, is a member of the Fifth Street Methodist Church.

Carnegie invited Zeigler to a seat beside him. As a result of the conversation, the church dedicated a handsome new pipe organ Sunday with special services.

Many railroad men attend this church.

Took a long walk

Col. Luther F. Hemperly, the east end pedestrian, took another long jaunt Tuesday.

He walked to Clifton and from there went to Hummelstown by train.

From Hummelstown, he walked to Harrisburg and from thence to Steelton. From the latter place he came here by trolley, completing quite a circuit.

Mr. Hemperly enjoys walking very much and almost daily can be seen swinging along one of the picturesque roads which are so numerous in this vicinity.

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