Note: The details in the newspaper articles in this post have gruesome details.
As I mentioned in my last post, my NaNoWriMo project is writing about the Kirsch family. I put in a request for homestead records to do with Julius and Martha Kelm in Camper, Manitoba, which I am excited to hear back about. I am crossing my fingers the Manitoba Archives can copy them. My current project is finding out what happened to Martha’s brothers and sisters. Julia, Daniel, Martha, Karl, Lydia, and Pauline all came to Canada and found homes in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. I found a Christian Kirsch in Winnipeg as well, but was unsure if he was another sibling who had immigrated. Family stories mention Julia, Daniel, and Karl, and obituaries mention Lydia and Pauline.
Then I found an article in the August 9, 1924, issue of The Winnipeg Tribune about a Christian or Christopher Kirsch, a 63-year-old CPR worker, who was killed while “walking across the yards at the Weston shops [Winnipeg].” He was making track repairs when he went to get more tools and was struck by a shunting engine as he crossed the tracks. The follow up article, this time about “Christopher Kirsch,” ruled the death an accident. A quick search in the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency Records shows a Christian Kirsch who died August 8, 1924, in Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Aug 1924. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from Newspapers.com.
Reading about this accident made me remember possibly being told or reading that one of Martha’s brothers had died in a train accident. For now, I will try and confirm it by asking family and finding records about this Christian Kirsch. Whatever family he belonged to, he was clearly “a favorite” and missed immensely.
Edit: I believe this Christian Kirsch is Martha’s brother. He is found in Henderson’s Winnipeg City Directory, 1900 as living at 509 Alexander Avenue, which was where August and Julia Rempel were living in the 1906 Census of Canada. Additionally, my Aunt Phyllis confirms that she knew this story.
How awful! Newspapers are great resources, even when they tell of such tragic incidents like Chritian’s death. Interestingly enough, this is the second post in a row I’ve read of injury/death due to shunting accidents on railway lines in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. My 2nd great-grandfather Barlow was a railway carriage cleaner – sounds a little safer than working outside.
After I read this in the newspaper, I started noticing several other articles in the paper about train accidents. And newspapers back then did not seem to shy away from the gruesome details. But I wonder if car accidents today are more frequent than train accidents back then?