Not an Ending

So far I have learned so much about the past people who have died in Eau Claire. I never would have thought that there would be so many odd stories that dealt with deaths especially in that time period. Finding things I will admit wasn’t the easiest. I had a rough start. Not really getting into the exact information I wanted. I worked on it more and did my research and the archives really were what helped me the most. This surprised me I honestly thought I could find a lot online. My question was interesting to begin with. I wanted to know about different bizarre stories and deaths in the past to see the differences from the present day stories. Truth be told I found a lot of things. They have odd stories and I feel like I figured out why. When reading about stories of people dying from the sight of blood or even their dog dying it just didn’t seem like that was completely the case. All of the truly bizarre stories ended with people having heart disease. Maybe if there was better technology they would have been able to find out the truth to all of this. Today doctors can really dig deep and discover exactly what happened. I don’t think that was case back then. To further my answer I would want to figure out what type of education was needed back then compared to today’s education.  I would want to see if what I am concluding is right. I will also find more odd stories if I continue on the path I was on but if I change directions and figure out a different approach as to why they were more unusual back then it would completely answer what I’m wondering.

Odd to Say the Least

For this source I went did a little investigating in the library. I found myself in the archives again. This time was for a source that seemed a little more what I was looking for. Eerie Eau Claire is what it was called. It’s a small book put together by Chad Lewis. This book talks about the strange stories in Wisconsin’s past. I chose this because it fit my time frame I was looking at and it gets into those odd stories I was wanting to learn about in the beginning. I believe that this source builds up a good ethos by telling where it come its stories from and when they happened. Majority of the stories come from Eau Claire Leader. The karios hinders this source because they believe he published this around 2002. This isn’t near the time when any of these events happened.  Nonetheless finding this source in the archives made me feel like it was reliable because they wouldn’t put unreliable sources in there.

Opening up this source I had no idea what I would find. I was just hoping it was worth the time. I opened it up and it had a table of context explaining what it discusses. There were so many weird things within this book. I went straight to the bizarre deaths. There weren’t many stories so I thought I would discuss all that were written. The first one is about how a husband and wife died on the same day randomly. Mr. Hathaway died at 2 o’ clock a.m., and his wife passed away at 11:30 a.m. Mrs. William Jenner died after yawning without interruption for three days. Physicians decided that the woman was suffering from obscure lesion of the brain producing laryngeal spasms. She died of lack of strength. Miss Carrie Deavenport was found dead in her bathtub. She was in the habit of taking cold baths in the morning. One more the shock of the cold caused heart failure. Nellie Youngs died of heart disease when she saw her favorite poodle under the wheels of a fast passenger train. Mrs. C. T. Robinson died supposedly of the sight of blood. Schuyler Hall was thrown through the plate glass window of Robinson’s millinery story. Robinson’s saw the blood and dropped dead from heart disease. Weyenberg brothers died similar and the story is extraordinary. Both men lived to be the same age; both dropped dead from heart failure, neither having had a day’s illness for years prior to their death, and both died a short time after discussion the death of another. The last story they had was about a girl who was buried for a day then her neighbors claimed she was still alive so they unburied her and had to rebury her that day. All of these stories seemed a little far-fetched but can all be truthful.

I thought that this source was helpful with the topic and what I wanted to learn about. I think that if you wanted to hear some really interesting stories that this is a good source. I feel like some of the stories could be elaborated a little bit for the fun factor. I learned that Eau Claire had some weird things happen. This source really helped me in my research.

More Research More Information

The second source that I decided to look into was an archive. Coroner’s docket. This is where I first decided on my topic. It is the record of the Coroner’s investigations into accidental and intentional deaths showing a brief summary of his actions including name of deceased, evidence surrounding death, and when necessary, a record of the inquest. All of the information was taken down from the years 1900-1944. This I thought was a great source because I found it in the archives and it withholds a lot of information. Its ethos is built by it being a primary source. Since this was written as it happen and not years later this mean it has good kairos as well. Since this is just stating all facts and what is occurring I believe that it created more of a formal distance.

The docket serves as a huge source to me. I was really excited to dive into and learn a lot. This source is a whole bunch of information about deaths in Eau Claire. This was exciting to me because within this book were all of those unusual deaths I had mentioned before. Some of the information in this docket was hard to read due to the fact that it was hand written. As I read through it the stories always seemed to shock me by how many times they occur. One thing that was shown a lot was the drowning in the rivers. Warren Welke who was ten years old drowned while bathing in the Eau Claire River. Miss Loraine Colbert was 23 years old and is said to have drowned in the Chippewa River but her body was never found. These were just one of the many drowning stories I found. Some were small children and some were older people who apparently died of suicide. Some other stories I found seemed very mysterious. Baley Nichols was found in a trunk in the upstairs room, Ed Briske was found died in the woods, and Miss Sue Calson died suddenly in the basement in a company building on Barstow Street. Other thing I saw was poisoning and gas deaths.  Einar Kingston died of poisoning from drinking laundry machine soap, Henry Dahl was found dead in a gas filled room. The last stories I wanted to tell everyone about were just interesting to me.  Palmer Semingson committed suicide by dynamite in Putnam Drive, Anthony Gillertson was burned to death by a pickup truck, and Walter Beckerman who was killed by falling from a pole to the pavement. All of these stories really seemed to grab my attention.

Having this source definitely opened my eyes more information about these deaths. I believe all of this information because it is all documented and something that you can look up. These are pretty much like police records. Some of the stuff said might sound crazy but all could be true, and is.  This truly showed the differences that I was looking for and something that was unusual. The only thing that wasn’t as helpful to me were the sudden deaths that were just heart attacks. A lot of the random deaths turned out to be heart attacks. These days you see more people living from heart attacks. Plus it’s not really unusual to us. I also believe that back then they may have not investigated things as well and maybe some of the cases were suicides. From here I just want to continue on learning about deaths that occurred. I want to find even more unusual stories. I’m going to look more in the library and see what I can come up with.

A Little Less Exciting Start

When trying to find out more information about this specific topic it was easy. But I decided to start from a boring part of my research but add a little twist. Most people die from old age. This is the case now and for back then. It was common to die from old age so I thought I would try and find information about people who may have had an interesting past before they died. For this I found a source online. L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has a lot of historical information about Eau Claire. I looked through a lot of information and found a part about people and deaths. The information was taken from newspapers so it’s a secondary source. This seemed like the perfect source to me. I chose it because it has a lot of people and exactly what I was looking for. It also seems like a great source.

This source is laid out alphabetical by having the person’s name in all caps to start off each paragraph. This was an easy to read way to get the information I needed. This section starts of by building a good ethos. It tells you how they got their information and  After looking at countless numbers of  information on Eau Claire past residents I found some unique people. This first person I came across was Hayden H. Adams. He opened up his own drug store on the north west corner of Water St. and Fifth Ave. in 1919. Mr. Adams died in 1952 having been a druggist in the city for 54 years. He was 82 years old. William H. Bailey came to Eau Claire in 1867. He edited the NEWS for a time, was a judge of the 17th Circuit for six years, wrote law book and was the mayor for three terms. On top of all that he was a veteran of the Civil War and was District Attorney for one term. He died in 1915. Finally I learned about a guy named Paul Branstad who was born in Norway and came to Eau Claire in the late sixties. He worked first for the Eau Claire Lumber company, operated a hotel and built a furniture store. He lost everything in the flood and joined the police force. He remained there for 20 years and when he was in his prime was said to be the most physically strong man in Eau Claire. He died at the age of 81.

This source gave me some great information about the deaths in the past. It wasn’t as exciting as I had hope. When reading other sources they gave me more unusual stories. But this gave me more information about the type of people that have lived in Eau Claire. This information I believe it reliable and truthful since it is linked to a public library.


I will be researching the common and unusual deaths in the Eau Claire area in the early 1900’s by looking at records and stories trying to look at how different Eau Claire was by their way of passing.

I became interested in this by accident actually. I am not the type of person who is obsessed with death but some the aspects of it interest me. Originally I wanted to know more about the rivers in Eau Claire and something that was seen a lot in history was drowning in the rivers. This got my interested in deaths in the past.  It’s the weird and unusual stories of deaths that interest me. There is a story behind each death and it’s like a mystery to figure out what it was like then. Was it a homicide, suicide, or accident?

At first I wasn’t really sure why this would be interesting for people to read about or want to know about it. As I read more stories I saw many differences between how people die now compared to back then. I started to think that not only will I think this is interesting but others would too! It might be a dark topic but it’s not something you usually would read about. One thing I won’t talk about is the current types of death because I want others to just use their experiences of what they have heard of and compare.

There is so many stories that people haven’t heard or cared to learn about. It’s the past and most don’t care to learn. You also don’t hear about a person who wasn’t famous and how or why they died. I never seemed to care about how people died. I wouldn’t have thought so many people would die from heart attacks or drowning. It’s because it never seemed important to me. Not saying that this topic is important for everyone to know about but it’s something that we can enjoy to learn about.