An Accident

25 May 1882

Yesterday, an accident took a worker's life in Moline's paper mill. Negro John CAPERS, who had worked for a long time as a laborer at the mill, was busily chopping up straw on a cutting machine set up for that purpose. While attempting to pull out a somewhat too large bundle of straw from the machine, he fell with his arm into the machine and before the drive belt was taken off and the machine could be stopped, the unfortunate person had squashed and mangled his arm up to the shoulder. Two hours after the incident, CAPERS was relieved of his incredible pain through death.

A poor old Negro

5 July 1883

A poor old Negro, severely injured and almost dead, was brought on a locomotive from the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad to police headquarters. His name is Isaak Chateau (Shoto) and he's almost 80 years old. Before the war he was a slave on a plantation in hot Louisiana, and after the war he came to Davenport, worked here as long as his strength permitted, and was then supported by the County Poor fund. On the past 12th of June he was brought sick to the Sisters of Mercy Hospital. On the 26th of June he was released from the hospital and what he's done since then, this poor guy who was in no condition to take care of himself and who has no one else on God's earth to take him in, nobody knows. He didn't use any of Scott County's assistance in these last weeks. The day before yesterday a train's brakeman saw him sitting on the tracks to the West of the city limits, but as a train approached, he dragged himself out of the way. Yesterday morning, just after daybreak, an engineer on a train that came from Davenport found the old man, injured and bleeding, lying next to the tracks. He took him onto the train and brought him to police headquarters where Dr. Crawford, who was immediately summoned, examined him and found that the wheels of a train had run over his right leg, crushing the leg above the ankle into a porridge. During the day the injured man, who quickly became delirious and fell unconscious, was treated in police headquarters and in the evening he was brought to the Sisters of Mercy Hospital. There he died during the night, for the indispensable amputation of the leg was unthinkable for a man of his age.

And so came to an end the eighty years that he lived on this earth. In his youth and in adulthood a slave who bent under the whip of the overseers; then a poor, despised worker who laboriously earned his bread; finally he kept himself alive in the Scott County Poor House, supported from the few cents that grumbling and reluctant taxpayers pay to support the poor. In the end he found death, whether freely or by accident, under the wheels of a train. One would like to become a believing Christian, merely to believe that the poorest will be made whole for their suffering through the glory and blessedness of the beyond.