Coalminer Henry Schultze crushed to death -Macoupin County IL ©2003
Transcription, written and contributed by Sharon Buenther

Mt Olive Herald,
Mt. Olive, Macoupin Co., IL, July 29, 1893, page 1


Also see Auguste [Barkowsky] Schultz Family

It Required Over Two Hours to Remove the Heavy Stone off the Body, By the use of Jacks.

Between three and four o'clock Tuesday afternoon, the news was heralded over the city that a man had been killed in No. 8 mine, and the workmen from the shaft could be seen wending their way homeward in every direction, and people, anxious to know the true details of the event, made their way to the shaft to see and hear all that could be learned of the affair.

The fatal accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. Henry Schultze and his partner, Louis Arnoldi, had been at work in room No. 1, entry 10 north, and last Thursday, notified Mine Boss Saner that a rock in their room was working , and the same was examined Friday, and a danger notice placed in a conspicuous place, for the men to keep out. The two men did no more work until Tuesday morning, when they were employed to take the rock down, and were cautioned to be careful and keep from under it. The loose rock was about 12 x 20 feet long, and about 1 ½ foot thick, of about three ton weight, being supported by one prop, which allowed it to play. The work of getting the prop from under it and letting it down required judgement and skill to avert danger. They were instructed to place props on either end and then work the center one out, but it seems that the men used their own plans, thinking they could saw the prop off, or bore a hole in the surface and [line not readable due to a fold in the paper] when Arnoldi [five words not readable] to the bottom for the auger to promulgate the blasting, cautioning Mr. . Schultze to be careful in his absence.

Just at this time was when the fatality occurred, and from the general surroundings, it appears that Schultze, anxious to have the work completed, used the saw, weakening the prop until the weight of the huge rock bore down on the slender thread left in the center, as on examination, it showed that the prop had been sawed on all sides, leaving about an inch of solid substance.

The horrible sight that met the eye of Arnoldi on his return, made his blood run cold, as the rock had fallen and beneath it his partner was encased with only an elbow protruding. The alarm was at once given, and it required the use of jackscrews to extricate the body from the perilous position which served as his death-trap. The body of the poor unfortunate was crushed almost into an unrecognizable mass, with the saw still retained in his hand. The lifeless remains were brought to the top about 5 o'clock and many eager observers present witnessed a horrible spectacle never to be forgotten. The body was then conveyed to his home at the west end of First South street.

A jury was soon summoned by Deputy Coroner Voight and impaneled at once, then adjourned until the arrival of Coroner Owings at 7 p.m. when they went into session at City Hall, and the findings according to the evidence obtained, was that "deceased came to his death by the falling of a rock, in room 1, entry 10 north, in the Consolidated Coal Co's mine No. 8."

The deceased had worked in the mine here about a year, being a newcomer in this country. He was 33 years age, and leaves a wife and two small children, whose means are limited, as they were dependent solely upon his wages for support. He was of energetic turn, quiet in manner and honorable in dealing. Our community deplores the ghastly details that caused his untimely death , and offer every condolence to the wife and children that is possible. It is one of the saddest fatalities that has come under the observation of our people in the history of the mining interests, here.

The funeral obsequies were conducted from Immanual's Lutheran Church Wednesday afternoon, Rev Weisbrodt being in charge, after which the remains were conveyed to their final resting place in the Mt. Olive cemetery.


Following added by Sharon Buethner, March 13, 2003 (Great-Granddaughter of Henry Schultze's 2nd wife, Juliana Augusta [Barkowski] Schultze - known as Augusta).

Henry Schultze was born in Germany about about July 13, 1859 and was named Wilhelm Heinrich Schultze (Immanuel Lutheran Church burial records state this name and his age as 34 years and 12 days of age at time of his death). It is believed that he was married previously in Germany, his first wife having died there. Their child, Sophie Schultz came to Mt Olive with her Dad and Step-Mother, a baby half-brother and a Step-sister.

The family arrived in America on the Karlsruhe, Port of Baltimore, July 21, 1892. On August 2, 1892, they buried their young son, Friedrich Wilhelm Bernard Schultze, age 5 months, 22 days of age in Immanual Lutheran Church cemetery (First Division, Block Two, Lot Two), Mt. Olive, IL. The Church records show that Henry was buried next to his young son on July 26, 1893. The cemetery lot has no marker at this time, 2003.

The Immanuel Church records show that Henry left three children. Sophie Schultz was born in Germany April 23, 1886, and Henry and Augusta's son, Wilhelm Heinrich Schultz was born in Mt Olive on May 2, 1893, and was not quite three months old when his father died. Augusta's daughter, Henry's Step-daughter, Marie [Rabot, but was raised as a Schultze] was born September 9, 1888 in Germany and also was part of the family.

Some of the Coroner Records have been found, and they also stated that Henry, being new in this country, did not speak English and that may have contributed to the accident. It should be noted that some of the Coroner Records could not be found at IRAD in Springfield, IL.

Consolidated Coal Company paid Augusta Schultze later in 1893 the sum of $400 for the death of her husband, according to a newspaper article.

Sophie Schultze remained in the Mt Olive, IL area, but was not with her Step-Mother in 1900. She was confirmed April 22, 1900 in Immanual Lutheran Church, Mt. Olive, IL and she married in Mt Olive on July 11, 1909 to [Johann] Herman Gerdes, a young minister, and they left almost immediately for Oregon. They also spent some years in Nebraska, and then Michigan where Sophie died on July 22, 1960. Where she grew-up, is a mystery, today. She and her husband raised 7 children.

Wilhelm Heinrich Schultze, known as William Henry Schultz, was working in the mines and living in Nokomis, Montgomery Co., IL in 1920. At some time after that, he married his wife, Gladys, moved to California and died there January 18, 1951. He had a fatal heart attack trying to save a three-year-old neighbor girl from a fire. It should be noted that somewhere during his life, he shaved a few years off his birthday and is on record as being born in 1897, when his actual birth date is 1893 and is verified through Immanual Lutheran Church records. William and his wife raised two children, Melvin and Gloria.

Augusta [Barkowski, Schultze] Hillmann remarried in 1895 to John Hillman and had four more children. She died of a burst appendix on August 6, 1911 at the hospital in Litchfield, IL, six weeks after she divorced John. She was buried with Henry and her young son, on August 8, 1911.

Some people need to be thanked for helping me find and verify the information that I am able to relate here. Perhaps first is a young church secretary at Immanuel Lutheran, whose name I do not know, who located the early burial records and mailed them to me, after my visit to Mt. Olive ended. Those records truly opened the doors for me to find additional information. And Edna Grossenheider, who located the church records for Sophie for me, as well as some other records on the extended family. Also to members of the Gerdes family who provided me information on the Gerdes. I owe a great deal of gratitude to these people who were so unselfish in assisting me. I extend a huge thank you to these, and others who have helped me during the 35 years that I have been researching my family.

Sharon Buethner

Mine Index Page

Macoupin County ILGenWeb Homepage

County Coordinator
©1996-2018 ILGenWeb. All rights reserved.
Copyright of submitted items belongs to those responsible for their authorship or creation unless otherwise assigned.
Any commercial use or any use for which money is asked or paid for any reason is strictly prohibited.