Sterling Kansas Bulletin, Sterling, Rice Co., Kansas Thursday, April 3, 1919; Pg 1
John W Kline
A frightful runaway accident occurred in this city Saturday morning at about eleven o'clock, when a two-horse team, belonging to Ed Gibson, of near this city, took fright and ran for two blocks on the busiest part of Broadway, running down and fatally injuring the venerable John W. L. Kline, who was unable to get out of the way of the fright maddened team.
Mr. Gibson had been at the Fair Lumber Company yards and was just leaving the yards when the animals suddenly took fright and dashed up the street. Mr. Gibson was on the wagon but was unable to get the team under control, and that the corner of Monroe and Broadway he was thrown from the wagon. The animals then dashed onto the sidewalk at the Citizens' bank corner, and the team ran down the sidewalk, dragging the heavy wagon. In front of the Hopper store the wagon caught on one of the heavy iron hitching racks and the wagon was wrenched in two, the horses going on with the front wheels.
The street at that hour was filled with people and many had hairbreadth escapes
as the team dashed at full speed down the center of the walk. There was a wild
scramble for store doorways, or any place of shelter, and it seems almost
miraculous that a large number were not killed or injured. Mr. Kline who was
aged and somewhat deaf, had just come out of the Hopper store and was walking up
Broadway, so did not see the runaway team bearing down upon him. Before anyone
could warn him of his danger the horses had struck him and knocked him down and
the wagon wheels passed over his body. The team kept on the sidewalk until they
reached the post office, where one of the horses stumbled and fell and slid for
some distance on the walk, finally striking against the building. The horse
which had fallen was somewhat stunned and the team was caught
As soon as the team had passed, Mr. Kline was picked up and carried to the office of Dr. P.P. Truehart, where it was found that his collarbone was broken and almost all of the ribs on one side were crushed. He had sustained several scalp wounds, but they were not of a serious nature. The injured man was taken to the Sterling hospital, where everything possible was done to relieve his suffering, but he passed away at about half past twelve o'clock.
His death was due to hemorrhage of the injured lung. Mr Kline regained consciousness shortly after the accident and was able to recognize his daughter, Mrs George Miller, of near Huntsville, who reached his side soon after he was taken to the hospital. Mr. Kline was well known throughout the city and community and his tragic death brought general regret.
The fact that there was not more damage to property is a source of wonder to all who witnessed the mad dash of the runaway team. At the south end of the Cooke Drug Co. store the wagon caught on the iron support of the awning and several bricks were torn from the wall. The electric barber pole in front of the Higbie barbershop was mowed down and smashed into pieces. The fact that the wagon struck an iron guard rail at the edge of the window and swerved to the other side of the walk is all that saved it from crashing into the plate glass window of the shop. At the Hopper store the wagon struck the corner of the building and knocked off several bricks. A bicycle that was standing on the street near the Hopper store was struck and hurled through the windshield of an auto parked along the street.
F.W. Ross was one of those who had a narrow escape from injury. He was struck on the shoulder by the collar on one of the horses and the wheels of the wagon struck on shin, but he was able to dodge quickly enough to avoid serious injury. Billie Carter had a wild race with the team and was fortunate enough to reach a doorway in which he took refuge, just as the team thundered past. When he saw the team coming he started to run but every doorway was so crowded that he was unable to get in, and had to keep going until he reached the Hopper store. One foot was somewhat injured, but he is still giving thanks that the Hopper door was not crowded, or he might have suffered serious injury.
Mr. Kline, the victim of the accident, was born in Beavertown, Pennsylvania, November 21, 1833, and was aged eighty-five years four months and eight days at the time of his death. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary O. Hile July 4, 1855. The union was blessed with nine children, four sons and five daughters. He is survived by two sons and three daughters, Charles W. Kline, of Marion, Kan.; Mrs. Ella Coonfer, of Langdon, Alta (sic), Canada; Mrs. Libbie Rathbun, of Sedan, Kan.; Mrs. Kate Miller, of near Sterling; and Albert W. Kline, of Kinsley. His wife and two sons and two daughters preceded him in death. He also leaves two sisters, twenty-one grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren.
Mr. Kline moved to Kansas with his family in the spring of 1878, and had resided in this locality for forty-one years. He was a man of splendid Christian character and was held in highest esteem by all who knew him. In spite of his advanced age he had retained to a large extent his activity of both mind and body and his interest in current affairs.
Mr. Kline was converted in December, 1854, near Three Rivers, Michigan, under
the labors of Rev. F.M. Young, and united with the Evangelical Association, of
which he remained a faithful and exemplary member until the year 1913, when he
transferred his membership to the Methodist Episcopal church of this city, and
remained a loyal member until his death. He was a faithful attendant at the
services and was always present at the Sabbath School. He will be greatly missed
in the church where his genial kindly manner, endeared him to all.
Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at two o'clock in the Evangelical church of Alden and was conducted by Rev. C.D. Whitwam, of this city. A large number of relatives and friends were present at the service and paid a final tribute of respect to the memory of the man who had spent so many years of his useful life in this community. Burial was made in the Alden cemetery, and the body was borne to its last resting place by six of the grandsons of Mr. Kline.