Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Monday, February 06, 2012 at 04:30:22 :
The Marin Journal
Thursday, February 8, 1900
Inquest Over the Body of John Ward
His Life Was Crushed Out by the
Wheels of His Heavy Wagon - The Funeral
A sad accident happened about two miles from Petaluma Thursday evening. JOHN WARD, the well known farmer and son of the late Abraham Ward, was instantly killed.
Thursday Mr. Ward was in Petaluma selling calves and buying other stock. He left for his home about dusk. The wagon tracks at the top of the hill show that the team strayed from the road and were pulled sharply back. The wagon probably cramped and lurched and the driver was thrown from his seat.
Mr. Ward was probably rendered unconscious and perhaps killed outright by the fall. The heavy wagon passed over his body, leaving telltale marks on his shoulder and back. He fell on his face.
The body was found Friday morning by Albert Hall. The dead man was removed to his home at San Antonio.
Mr. Ward leaves a wife, Naoma Ward, and children Lottie and Chester Ward. They have the sympathy of the community.
John H. Ward was the second son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Ward. He was born near Dry Creek, Nevada County, California, October 7, 1850. His parents' prairie schooners came over the Sierra Nevada mountains from the east. The family moved to Petaluma and purchased land in Marin County, where Mr. Ward has since resided.
Those surviving of the Ward family are Mrs. H.M. Smith of Petaluma, James Ward of Hermitage, Mendocino County, and Abe Ward of Santa Maria.
Saturday morning Coroner Pierce held an inquest over the remains of JOHN WARD, killed Thursday evening by being run over by his own wagon after he was thrown from the seat by a sudden lurch.
The jury was taken to the Ward home on San Antonio Creek where they viewed the body and then returned to Petaluma to render a verdict, as the Ward home is in Marin County and Coroner Pierce has no jurisdiction across the county line.
The body bore no bruises, save a slight mark on the right hip, but the lungs were crushed by the heavy wagon wheels which passed diagonally over the body from the left shoulder to the right hip. Ward may have been unconscious when he struck the ground but it was being run over that crushed out his life. His neck was not broken, as first reported.
The Coroner and jury inspected the spot where the fatality occurred. Ward's team left the road just this side of the summit of the Morton hill and followed along the fence on high ground for 200 yards. The wagon tracks showed that the team regained the road once or twice but were pulled or wandered back on the bank. The team followed along the fence, down the other side of the hill, to a deep hole. Here they turned sharply into the road. It was the crossing of a ditch at this point that threw Ward from the seat. He must have fallen headlong, down under the horses' heels and directly in front of the wheels.
The team went on across the road and stopped on the western bank about 50 feet from the body. The horses stood there all night.
Osborne Hall, the boy who first saw the body and team, said that he noticed the team and later the body, between 6 and 7 o'clock Friday morning. He notified the Tomasini family and then went home and told his father, who notified Marshall Collins. Witness knew the man lying in the road was Mr. Ward.
The last word said by the deceased was "hello" spoken to Arthur Hall, brother of the witness, who saw Mr. Ward pass the Hall ranch on his way home about 7 o'clock Thursday evening.
M. Tomasini, the other witness said that he, his brother and his ranch hand, after being notified by Osborne Hall, went up the hill. There was frost on Mr. Ward's face and the witness concluded he was dead. He tied the team to the fence and went home.
The body was lying face downward, with wheel marks across the back. The body was in no ways changed from its original positions and almost instant death must have followed the fall.
The jury's verdict was accidental death, caused by the fall from the wagon and subsequent running over the body by the vehicle. The wagon was an ordinary two-horse farm wagon.
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