Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - William F. Starr

William F. Starr, husband's great grandfather

Several years ago while research my husband's Starr family line, I discovered the obituary for his great grandfather William Francis Starr. Reading the article lead to other newspaper stories about the manner of his death. William was struck while crossing the street in Adams County, Pennsylvania by one of those newfangled contraptions called an automobile. The drama played out over several days resulting with an inquest. The eventual determination being the driver was not at fault and that William stepped into the street without first looking for oncoming traffic. My thought is with automobiles being so new to the area he did not realize he was putting himself at risk.

While working on this post I was a bit hesitant to include the name of the driver. After conferring with several more seasoned genealogists they pointed out the articles were in the public domain, the accident occurred over 80 years ago, and the driver was found innocent. As a newbie to this genealogy adventure I am constantly amazed and pleased with the willingness of others to help with advice, encouragement, and guidance. Such a supportive group are my fellow adventures!

The following articles are taken from the Gettysburg Times:

Prominent resident of Littlestown dies as result of being struck by car, this morning.

February 20, 1928 - Littlestown, Pennsylvania

William F. Starr, prominent Littlestown coal dealer, was almost instantly killed on Baltimore Street, Littlestown, at 9 o'clock this morning when he was knocked down by an automobile, driven by George Frounfelter, Westminster Route 7.

The injured man was removed to his office and Dr. H. S. Crouse was summoned, but before the physician arrived, Mr. Starr was dead. A severe fracture at the base of the skull caused death.

Mr. Starr who was 70 years old, had crossed Baltimore Street to make a purchase at a butcher's wagon. He was re-crossing the street to go to the other to his home or office, both of which are near each other, when struck by the coupe, driven by Frounfelter, aged 25 years.

With Frounfelter were his father, Arthur Frounfelter, and Leroy Menchey, both of Westminster Route 7. They were on their way to Littlestown.

Dr. E. A. Miller, Adams county coroner, was called to Littlestown. He examined the body of Mr. Starr and questioned the driver of the death car.

According to Doctor Miller, Frounfelter said he was driving about 15 miles an hour when Mr. Starr started out from behind the butcher wagon to cross the street.

The coroner said Frounfelter had told him that when Mr. Starr saw the machine approaching he endeavored to retrace his steps, but in doing so stepped directly into the path of the car, which Frounfelter said he steered to the left in an effort to avoid running down the pedestrian.

Mr. Starr's death came as a shock to the community of Littlestown where he was well known and highly respected. Despite his advancing years, Mr. Starr was active in the conduct of his business.

Doctor Miller said he would hold an inquest into the death or Mr. Starr later in the week to decide whether or not he was killed accidentally.

Mr. Starr was born in Littlestown, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Platt Starr.

He was married to Miss Anna Louise Steffy, of Littlestown, who survives, together with the following sons and daughters:

Francis Starr, Chicago; Mrs. Charles W. Stock, Broadway; Mrs. E. F. Schofield, East Orange New Jersey; William J. Starr, Williamsport; Mrs. J. Preston Smith, McSherrytown, Bernard E. Starr, Harrisburg; Mrs. J. Willard Barton, Dublin Georgia; and Allen E. Starr, Wilkes-Barre.

Two sisters, Mrs. Mary Barker and Miss Virginia Starr, both of Littlestown survive.

Accident victim is buried today: William F. Starr, Littlestown coal dealer killed by auto, is laid to rest.

February 23, 1928 - Littlestown, Pennsylvania

Funeral services for William F. Starr, prominent Littlestown coal dealer, who was fatally injured Monday morning when run down by an automobile, were held this morning in St. Aloysius Catholic church, Littlestown. There services were largely attended.

The Rev. Father E. J. O'Flynn, paster of the church, officiated, assisted by the Rev. Father Mark Stock, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic church here.

Many beautiful floral tributes were recieved by the family.

Pallbearers were William Ebaugh, Holman Sell, John Hornberger, William Weaver, John Marker and J. Harry Mehring.

Jury Exonerates Driver of Auto in Starr Death: say mishap in which Littlestown resident suffered fatal injuries was accidental.

Feburary 25, 1928 - Littlestown, Pennsylvania

After hearing the testimony of five witnesses, a coroner's jury this morning quickly reached a verdict that William F. Starr, prominent Littlestown coal dealer, was killed accidentally last Monday morning when he was run down by an automobile driven by George Frounfelter, Westminster Route 7.

Dr. Edgar A. Miller, Adams County coroner, and the jury heard evidence at the scene of the fatality on Baltimore Street, Littlestown, at 10:30 o'clock this morning.

Witnesses included Ralph Shriver, a butcher; Mrs. Edgar Huff, whose husband conducts a grocery store on Baltimore Street, and the three occupants of the death car. George Frounfelter, the driver; Arthur Frounfelter, his father, and Leroy Menchey, all of Westminster Route 7.

The testimony of the witnesses was practically identical. Mr. Shriver told of Mr. Starr coming to the butcher wagon to make a purchase, and Mrs. Huff saw the man start across the street to his office.

The three occupants of the machine said the car was proceeding at a speed not in excess of 15 miles an hour when Mr. Starr suddenly appeared from behind the butcher wagon.

Testimony was added that Mr. Starr, when he saw the Frounfelter machine, started to retrace his steps, just as the driver was turning his car to the left to avoid an accident. Had the pedestrian continued to the right side of the street, the machine would have had room to pass him on the left, witnesses asserted.

The jury comprised M. N. Wehler, Jacob Keefer, William Ebaugh, James Kelly, Harry Zielger and John Shoemaker.

Funeral services for Mr. Starr were held Thursday morning in the Littlestown Catholic church.

Thanks to my genealogy friends Janice Brown, Craig Manson, FootnoteMaven, Sherwood Lake, John Newmark, Pattie Schultz, and Bill West for their guidance with this post.

1 comment:

  1. I saw your inquiries on Facebook about this story, and I'm glad to see the final result. Sharing a newsclipping like this is important, to descendants of all parties involved. This is a real bit of history you uncovered.