Accidents on Record 100 Years Ago

Barn raising in Polk County in the early 1900s.

Gunshots, dynamite, fingers and arms cut off, big toe shot, and horse/ railroad mishaps. Polk County accidents from 1910 is a short but painful list to read.

While researching deaths in the 1880s in Polk County, I found a record of unfortunate events that happened after 1900. State mandate, county board requirement, intern? For some reason, a short list, a baker’s dozen, of these became permanent county statistics.
No discernible pattern. Two fatal, 3 dynamite related, gunshot to foot, pulleys, horses, and shingle saw sliced off a finger. At a hoop mill a pulley injured a worker’s arm, and in another case a mortar box slid from a wagon and landed on a kid. The most gruesome would be the railroad wheels running over the upper legs of a railroad worker: fatal. The other death-causing event happened when a team of horses ran over a man who then died from internal injuries.
Why these injuries were recorded probably will never be known, but someone or some government body wanted to keep track. It gives a snapshot of pain and deforming accidents early in our county. Today these types of injury records, and treatments, would be handled in clinics and medical centers.
This was a column for The Amery Free Press in 2016.

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