Tragic tale of yore.
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Posted by David Schott (+17433) 5 months ago
This is a sad tale from the October 14, 2021, Miles City Star Stardust column.

I am wondering what sort of a pump this was. Was this a pump for the water well at their house? Yikes.


100 YEARS AGO (1921)

A former Miles City girl,
Mrs. Don Arnold of Bucyrus,
North Dakota, was instantly
killed on Saturday morning,
September 24, at her home
at that place, when her
clothing caught in the gearing
of the pump engine at
their place, the young
woman being caught
between the engine and the
wall. Death was instantaneous.
The husband was in
the country at the time the
accident happened and his
father, the pumper, and Tom
Morris, were just outside of
the door when they heard
the scream, which was not
repeated. The pump was
immediately stopped and the
body removed. The decedent
was but nineteen years old.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17663) 5 months ago
That indeed is pretty gruesome. I suspect your guess is correct. She was probably tinkering inside a pumphouse on their farm, and most of those had pretty close quarters.
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Posted by David Schott (+17433) 5 months ago
I mentioned this to a friend who farms in Illinois. He commented:

Our Electric coop was formed in 1937 and there wasn't any in the rural areas for several years after that even in Illinois. I would guess the motor was diesel or gas and was used to pump water for drainage of irrigation. The small amounts for homes was pumped by hand even up until the 1950's and beyond.

My father in law tells of being paid maybe 25cents per night to sit with the Oakford Special Drainage District pumps and he would grease the large belt pulleys and make sure it ran continuously all night. The pumphouse was small and cramped and cold and not OSHA approved when I saw it many years later afterwards. I am surprised that a 19 year old was helping operate it and not a seven year old kid instead.
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