Warren Fuller Musser obituary

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Wednesday, June 28, 1882
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The Sad Death of Engineer
W. Fuller Musser.
Large Funeral Sunday.

The rain fell in angry torrents last Friday night. The weather during the day had been excessively hot, and the storm was expected. This portion of the State was fortunate in escaping the terrible cyclones which visited several other points, yet Austin lost one of her sons as a result of the storm. W. Fuller Musser, engineer of the St. Louis night express, which left Austin at 1:35 Saturday A. M., for St. Paul, met his death at a point about two miles this side of Aurora about 3 o'clock. The heavy rains had washed out a small culvert at the bottom of a filled portion of the road about 30 feet high. Musser was looking for bad places in the road at about this point, and the train was running very slow in consequence. It seems the track appeared all right, but the culvert and filling had washed away from underneath, and the track hung together by a very slender thread. The engine went on and dropped straight down some twenty feet. Poor Musser, who was standing faithfully by his post, was killed instantly. There were four freight cars piled on top of the engine, so it was impossible to release the remains at once, but his position when found satisfied all that he was instantly killed. The train consisted of five freight cars, one baggage car, a passenger car and a sleeper. The fireman-Thomas Clancy-escaped almost miraculously. He says the first thing he knew he was in the water and swam out. He received some slight injuries, but not serious. The train was in charge of conductor Lyke, with James Harvey and a man from Minneapolis as brakemen. None of the other train hands or any of the passengers were injured. Musser's remains were brought to Austin Saturday night, and the funeral was held Sunday at 3 p.m.

Two or three of the cars contained cattle and hogs, the greater portion of which were killed outright.

The scene at the wreck was truly distressing. The wrecked engine at the bottom of the abyss, with the lifeless body of the faithful engineer held its embrace as with a vice. On this were piled four freight cars, and around the wreck were strewn dead cattle and hogs, the victims of the accident. Only two or three head of cattle and a few hogs passed through the ordeal alive.

Warren Fuller Musser would have been thirty-six years old had he lived until August 15th. He was born in Ohio, and in 1857 his father settled in Otranto, some twelve miles south of Austin. During the year 1862 the family removed to a farm in Lyle township in this county. Fuller remained on the farm until he went to work on the railroad as a fireman, over ten years ago. For the past six years he has occupied the position of engineer. He was regarded by the officers of the Co. as one of their most trusted engineers. He was married Nov. 2d, 1878, to Miss Lydia A. Woodward, of Calmar, Iowa, and one child has blessed their union- a little girl, now 2 years old. Mr. Musser had recently purchased a home on Water street and was building an addition to the house. His home was his paradise. His mother lived with them, and he was always kind, tender and true to all his loved ones at home. Warren Fuller Musser carried with him always a pleasant, beaming countenance. He was a true friend of his friends, and although he had few if any enemies, he always had a cheerful greeting for all his acquaintances, whether intimate friends or not. He leaves, besides his wife, child and mother, two brothers and two sisters. The sad intelligence came to the stricken wife with a crushing weight, and friends feared that reason would be dethroned. For hours there were no tears to shed, and the breaking heart could only mourn out its agony.


The funeral services, Sunday, at 3 P. M., were in charge of the Austin Lodge of Odd Fellows, of which Musser was a member. The attendance was as large as ever known in Austin. Special trains were run from Mason City, and from both directions on the main line, to bring in the railway employees and friends. It is estimated that there were two or three hundred railway employees in the procession. A brother, J. P. Musser, and wife, of Minneapolis, and two sisters, Miss Helen L., and Mrs. Mary M. Pierce and husband, of Eldora, Iowa, and an aunt and three cousins from Mason City, were present. One brother, E. H., of River Falls, Wis., was unable to join the mourning relatives.

The exercises at the house consisted of vocal music, an opening prayer and very appropriate and touching remarks by Rev. R. G. Spafford, and a prayer in closing by Rev. Lathrop.

The funeral cortege was preceded by the Odd Fellows in uniform, with the Austin Union Band in front, then came the Austin Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and railroad employees, each with a badge of mourning on the left arm. This was a long procession. Following was the hearse, mourners and friends in carriages.

After a simple ceremony at the grave, in Baudler's cemetery, the long procession wended its way back, accompanying the sorrowing wife to her desolated home.

Odd Fellow's Tribute.

So soon again had death entered the sacred circle of our brotherhood, and taken from us, our beloved brother, Warren Fuller Musser. He possessed those traits and elements of character that constitute a true man. Kind, just, and forgiving, he practiced what he believed, and from his great heart poured forth a soul full of tenderness and love. He firmly believed in kindness and always spanned with sympathy the gulf that separates the fallen from the pure. He believed that love was more potent than hatred, that the surest safeguards against the ills of time are found in the practice of "Friendship, Love and Truth."

He did not forget that he was our brother; that all sons of men are sons of God; and, by his kind and loving nature, exemplified the law of universal brotherhood.

In the meridian of manhood he finished life's work, falling at the post of duty. We realize that in his death the wife has been deprived of an affectionate husband; the mother of a dutiful son; a loving father has been taken from the child, and a worthy brother from the lodge. The brethren of Austin Lodge of Odd Fellows hereby tender to the afflicted widow, mother and relatives of the deceased, the sincerest expressions of sympathy.

And it is ordered that this "Tribute of Respect" be entered upon the records of the Lodge, and that copies of the same be presented, one to the widow of Bro. Musser, and one to each of the newspapers of the city with a request that the same be published.

C. H. DAVIDSON, Committee.