October 13, 1906: A Horrible End to a Long and Useful Life


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA

October 13, 1906: A horrible end to a long and useful life: Jesse Ochenford, whose mind had become weak through old age, wandered away from his home Monday afternoon.

Although a continuous search was made in the drizzling rain through the night, no trace of him could be found. Word was received Tuesday morning that an unidentified man had been killed on the railroad at Douglassville by an express train that morning, and the description given convinced his relatives that it was Jesse. Although horribly mangled, the entire face and his right leg having been cut off, his son identified the body as that of his father.

The next day, Jesse’s watch was found near the scene. Its works and face had been torn from its case, which had been badly twisted. The watch chain could not be found. (Wrist watches did not become popular until World War I, when soldiers found watches on chains to be impractical.)

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