Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chase E Stewart Coroner Report

I thought I'd blogged about ordering this film but I must have just tweeted about it. Anyway, I've been trying to find a record of a coroner's report regarding the death of my Dad's brother, Chase, for some time. When I was in Rushville, Indiana on research I'd inquired about such reports but no one at the courthouse seemed to know how I might find them. Huumph!

I knew for a previous research trip the LDS church had been filming Rush County records (just happened to be there when they were there) so I decided to try the LDS catalogue to see if anything new had appeared. Lo and behold, there was a film for Coroner's Inquests from 1893-1932. Perhaps it was new or perhaps I'd missed it before, I don't know. All I know is it's exactly what I was looking for; Chase died in 1918, smack dab in the middle of the records.

I hopped on the phone and called my local Family History Center to make sure they'd be open when I went to place the order. I was told that wouldn't be possible. "We've been told we can't take any more orders for films; beginning tomorrow you'll have to order them on-line at Family Search." She sounded a bit skeptical; I, on the other hand, was thrilled. Anything that saves me a trip to Schaumburg is a good thing!

I waited a day or two before I braved the new procedure but found the ordering quite simple. The biggest problem was finding the right page as it's not accessible from the home page: here's the address. You will need to choose the Family History Center you want the films sent to and, of course, the film numbers. They accept credit cards and paypal.

I placed my order on September 21, 2011. On October 8, I received an email from the Schaumburg Family History Center stating that my film was there. I had to wait until yesterday to go because of the Columbus Day holiday but, at last, I had the film in hand and in a few minutes I was doing the happy dance!!

Most of the information I already knew from the newspaper report and family stories but, as usual, there were a few new tidbits to add. Here's a transcription of the record:

Rush County, Indiana Coroner’s Inquests,  1893-1932
LDS film 1631808, Items 4-5
# 106
STATE OF INDIANA, Rush COUNTY, IND
I, John M Lee M.D. Coroner of said County do hereby certify that on
the 20th day of November 1918, at Mays, Indiana
I held an inquest on the body of Chase E. Stewart the following being the
report in full of the proceedings of said inquest, except the testimony, which is, with a full and complete report of this inquest
On file in the office of County Clerk
                Said inquest was begun on the 20th day of November 1918 and concluded
On the 20th day of November 1918
WITNESSES
UNDERTAKER


Charles S. Stewart
George C. Wyatt Co
Lowell Mansfield

J. Levi Lord M.D.

Vernon Walke




POST MORTEM

None









STATE OF INDIANA, Rush COUNTY,
I, John M. Lee Coroner of said County, having examined the body
 of Chase E. Stewart and heard the testimony of the witnesses, do hereby
find that the said deceased came to his death by accidental discharge of one barrel
of double barreled shot gun which he was carrying and occurred when he was in the
act of climbing through a gap in the fence of the S. H. Trabue farm near Mays, Ind.
The wound resulting was complete shattering of left side of face and skull death occurring instantly.
The said deceased being a male of the age of 15 yrs. 2 mos. 8 da.: 5 feet and 8
inches in height, light hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, approximate weight 116 lb., teeth good;
scars, if any None; nativity American and had on his person at the time of his death no valuables except
a watch which was given to his parents at their house.

There is one new name in the witness list: Vernon Walke. Lowell Mansfield (Chase's cousin) had gone hunting with Chase that day but what about Vernon? From the 1910 census, I learned that Vernon (who would have been a neighbor of sorts) would have been 12 years old at the time of the accident. How did it happen he was called as a witness? He must have either been hunting with the boys or come upon the accident quickly. He was never mentioned in the newspaper accounts.

Mostly, for me, this account helps account for some of my Grandmother's (Lizzie Stewart) demeanor. How does one even recover from seeing your son in that condition? I don't think she ever really did.

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