Event Person

Lost A Leg

Benjamin Willis, of East End, Hurt On Street Railway

Leg Was Caught in the Step and Twisted in Two–It Had to Be Amputated

Benjamin Willis, a veteran soldier and well known resident of Lawson Heights, had his right leg broken while riding home on a street car Monday evening. In trying to alight from the car, which gave a sudden jerk, his foot got caught in the platform step and was broken clear off, about midway between the knee and ankle.”

“Mr. Willis had been down town attending a meeting of Bailey Post G. A. R. of which he is a junior vice commander. Some of his comrades insisted on him walking home, but he was anxious to get there, and boarded an eastbound car, in charge of Motorman Wesley Reidenour and Conductor Andrew Youngman.”

“He wanted off at Clay street. He mentioned several times, but the conductor did not see him, and Ed Doyle of the Tracy Shoe company, rang twice. At this the conductor blew his whistle. The car slowed up and Willis stepped out on the platform. There was a sudden jerk and Willis’ foot slipped out on the platform step and the next instant his leg was twisted in two, all as quickly as though done by a well-directed blow of an axe. He fell to the ground and groaned.”

“A young couple, sitting behind Willis, saw his predicament and began to shriek frantically. Mr. Doyle rang the bell on one side of the cars, the conductor on the other, until he tore the gong loose, meantime blowing his whistle in startling shrieks, while everybody on the car was wildly shouting. But the motorman seemed to have lost his head and the unfortunate man was dragged from Clay to the first alley, or about one hundred and fifty feet before the car was stopped.”

“Mr. Doyle, who had kept close watch on his movements, leaped into the street and was the first at his side. Other passengers, especially women, were terror-stricken, and for a few moments excitement was great. Blood was gushing from the man’s leg and his cries could be heard blocks away. Doyle and Roy Grayton, a bartender, picked him up and carried him to the first alley above Clay, thence north to his home on the hill. Dr. W. W. Smith, in answer to summons, was soon on the scene and rendered the injured man all temporary relief possible.”

“All the while Willis retained consciousness. He spoke of holding the street railway company to account, and looking at the severed member he would shed tears, saying he had gone through life without loss of limb and now that during his last days should lose a leg in such a manner was too bad.”

“Dr. Smith, assisted by four other physicians, later amputated the leg. Willis braved the ordeal soldier-like and rested as well as could be expected the remainder of the night. Word from his bedside this morning was to the effect that he was comfortable.”

“By a strange coincidence Willis was injured the same day his grandchild was killed, for Willis Osborne, the little boy crushed by a wagon Monday morning was his daughter’s child.”

“It develops that Benjamin Willis went down town Monday evening to buy a coffin for his grandchild, little Willie Osborne.”

The government-issued gravemarker for Benjamin T Willis, American Civil War veteran, who served with Company A, 73rd Indiana Infantry. He was born December 16, 1840 and died November 29, 1917. His grave marker misspells his name as Bent.

“Willis was resting well this afternoon.”1Lost a leg. (1902, May 24). The Portsmouth Times.[efn_/note].