Monday, January 19, 2009

Tragedy

February 1897
(Herman is the one in the top right hand corner)

Seldom is there encountered a more distressing experience of accident, exposure and suffering than is reported in the case of Herman Lund, a young Norwegian freighter, who was found lying in the road 20 miles from Cold Harbor, McLean county, with one leg and one arm broken, both legs and arms frozen stiff, having lain there crippled and helpless from Saturday night until Tuesday morning without food or shelter, and not having once slept or lost consciousness. Lund is a young ranchman who lives at Coal Harbor, and he has been freighting between Coal Harbor and Velva, the nearest railroad point. On Saturday night he started for home with a load weighing 6000 pounds on his wagon, and while walking beside the wagon to keep warm, slipped and fell under the wheels of the wagon, which passed over him, breaking a leg and arm and badly crushing them. The team walked on a few steps and stopped, and Lund lay there helpless, unable to move, the thermometer nearly at zero point, his broken leg and arm swelling rapidly and causing him intense pain, while his extremities began to freeze and added to his agony. For three nights and two days he lay there, suffering excruciating pain the entire time. The accident happened but three miles from the ranch, but he lay in a little hollow which could not been seen from the ranch. The horses remained a few feet from him, but he was too badly injured to reach the wagon and was not found until 60 hours after the accident. After Lund was found, it was necessary to drive him 75 miles to this city (Bismark) for medical treatment, and an examination by local physicians discloses the fact that it will probably be necessary to amputate both legs and arms so badly are they frozen. Lund says that never once in the 62 hours he lay there did he lose consciousness. His worst pain was when his extremities were first attacked by the cold and began to freeze. After they had frozen, they were numb, and it was this fact that prevented his going insane from the agony. The unfortunate man is but 23 years of age, and it is doubtful if he survives the operations which will be necessary.

31 comments:

Isle Dance said...

Oh, this makes me cry so...

Maggie said...

that is one disturbing story.

we're doomed said...

Life is a piece of cake today. If you read old newspapers from the 1700s to the 1800s there is a lot of accounts of horse related injuries. Horse riding and horse drawn devices were very deadly. Back in the old times you could blame some of the accidents on the horses. When we have auto accidents today we only have ourselves to blame.

Carla said...

Ilse Dance, With all the tragedies that have come to pass, it really is amazing that we've made it here at all.

Maggie, It's pretty gruesome when you think about it.

Carla said...

We're Doomed, I guess it all depends on where one lives. But yes, there were so many accidents that probably should have never happened.

Debbie said...

What a sad tragic story. Especially when you have the photo there and you can look into his eyes knowing what's coming up for him. It's terrible to think of what he went through.

If only there'd been cel phones, heh? Mind you, there probably wouldn't have been service out there.

VE said...

Of course... that would have been me back in that time. I knew there were others that had suffered before me.

And the other tragedy is all the good times they apparently missed at the time of this photo what with all the smiles and laughing one sees in it... ;)

Pamela said...

probably the accident would not have been avoided, but the rest of the story would have.. IF, there had been another person working along side him.

Even with today's modern miracle medicine, we don't save frozen limbs.

sirdar said...

Family history? Is that what I saw as a label? Mr. Lund was one tough guy.

Carla said...

Debbie, I know. It's a pretty gruesome tragedy. Not something I would wish on anyone.

VE, Those were some mighty serious times. Mind you, most Norwegians have that stoic look mastered regardless. They probably burst into gales of laughter as soon as the photo was clicked.

Carla said...

Pamela, Yep, pretty tragic that he happened to be alone and so close to home too. His brothers looked for him, but apparently the hollow he was in made him difficult to find.

Sirdar, He was a great uncle and pretty tough indeed.

Steffi said...

Carla, that is a sad and interesting tradedy story!You are original from Norway?

Carla said...

Hi Steffi, My father's side is Norwegian and yes, I still have relatives who live there. Indeed the story is pretty tragic.

Aaoiue said...

Uf. And certainly painful.

Envoy-ette said...

Carla, did he survive the surgeries? Or is this just prior to an obituary?

Jannie Funster said...

We do not realize how lucky we are when in good health and pain-free. That poor fellow, at least his suffering is long since over is all I can say.

Horse-related injuries yes. Death in childbirth. They blazed the trails for us.

Sébas &8-)=~ said...

Definitely makes my own challenges seem quite trivial.

Carla said...

Aaoiue, Unfortunately, yes.

Envoy-ette, No, he didn't survive. Perhaps it was a blessing. It would have been horrid to prolong the suffering any more than was necessary.

Carla said...

Jannie, We have no idea how tough those men and women really were.

Sébas, I guess we all have our own issues. Who are we to judge who suffers more, although I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have been in Herman's shoes.

BangSArif said...

hallo there,
I had put your photo with link to your blog.
I hope you can do the same ways.
Thanks for support.

Mone said...

Thats so sad, I cant imagine the pain!

pandave said...

Oh no! I was going to ask what the final outcome was. Even more sad - he fought and held out hope for so long.

Today, all day, I have been complaining about the winter - it seems to stretch endlessly ahead of me. I kept thinking of you, knowing that it is colder where you are than where I am, and i thought - how does Carla do it? And now I read this and think - how can I complain, I have central heat!

Annie Wicking said...

Wow, where did you find this? It's interesting how much the body will endure to survive.

How wonderful life and living must be, but to often some throw it away with no thought.

Best wishes, my dear friend,

Carla said...

BangSArif, Sorry for my slow reply. Life has been busy and hectic lately. I will stop by your blog shortly.

Mone, Yep, I can't really either. Quite traumatic, I'm sure.

Carla said...

Pandave, Yep, we really are truly blessed when we think about it, aren't we.

Annie, This was something I had in my file on my family history. He was a great uncle. Some of our ancestors went through a lot.

Peter said...

Tragic and yet retains a sense of pride at the bravery of this young man - who had endured so much and yet determination was his aim.

A thought provoking history lesson - Thank You.

Carla said...

Peter, How nice to see you around again. And yes, Herman was very brave in the face of ultimate tragedy. It was a most unfortunate set of circumstances.

Peter said...

Delighted to be back online and to catch up with your amazing and thought provoking blog.

Carla said...

Peter, Awwww, thanks. And I too look forward to again being able to read your poems.

dawn said...

History is amazing. We should delve into these personal stories more as a reminder of how well we have things. Yet, there are still similar tragedies and tails of long suffering occurring in present time in our country due to freak storm or failed communication or some other such thing.

Carla said...

Dawn, You are most right. It may not happen quite as often, but it is not unusual to hear of these "freak" accidents...someone freezing to death, or some other equally tragic accident. But overall, we do have it better than our ancestors. Interesting stories though.