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John and Herman Desens farm on left side of road as it looks today.

Misfortune seems to have followed John Desens around. About six years before he was killed by his neighbor, Fred Zell, his son, Herman,  was killed when he accidently shot himself.

The latest victim of careless handling of guns is Herman Desens, a man about thirty years of age who lived with his father across from Fred Zell’s place west of town (Greenwood, Clark Co). Friday evening, Oct. 18, 1901 as the two were about to leave the clearing where they had been working, the young man went after his shot gun, which he had left nearby standing against a log. He seized the gun by the muzzle and drew it toward him, and in doing so the hammer cocked, discharging the load of one barrel into his breast. The father hearing the shot, looked up, but noticing his son standing thought nothing of the shot and stooped to his work, when he heard his son give an exclamation and saw him start for the house. The man only went a few yards when he dropped to the ground dead. The funeral occurred at the cemetery on the West Side Sunday afternoon. Deceased, with his father, came to Greenwood about two years ago and have lived together on their small clearing.[1]

Another account is from Marshfield Times October 25, 1901.

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Family story was they were killed by Indians.  It looks like the family stories were wrong.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] From website: http://www.wiclarkcountyhistory.org/warner/history/Pioneers/indexY.htm

2 thoughts on “Misfortune

  1. Fascinating all the family background you have managed to recover over time. How many stories are still out there but hidden by time? You have really developed your investigations. I recall you did give some workshops at a library but have you thought about doing that again? Or to develop a web class? Perhaps they already exist. I don’t mean the Ancestry.com type sites. I’m sure they have their places too. No, a more personal one. Helping people gather information by pointing them into the right directions. It might even develop into a commercial success!


  2. Pingback: Family Legends | Family Tales from Gail

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