Unknown Man Killed [John Tynan]
An unknown man, supposed to be a tramp, was struck by a freight train at Burrton this morning and instantly killed.
The accident happened about nine o'clock. The man started to cross the track about an hundred yards west of the depot and was struck by the engine and knocked to one side and killed. It is thought that his back bone was fractured, as the wheels did not pass over him and there did not appear to be any bad cuts. Sheriff Blanpied happened to be in Burrton at the time and he was immediately notified. He had the body removed to the freight house at the Burrton station and then called up Dr. L. F. Abbey, county coroner, and told him of the affair. The coroner left immediately in a buggy for the scene of the accident and will investigate and possibly empanel a jury and hold an inquest this afternoon. In the hasty examination he made, Sheriff Blanpied did not find anything on the person of the dead man to indicate his name or his place of residence. Some of the Burrton people believe the man was mentally unbalanced, as his actions while around the depot last night were very queer and were commented on by those that saw him. Color to the theory is lent by the careless manner in which he exposed himself to danger by crossing the track with the train so near him. The coroner's investigation will doubtless bring to light other and more definite details.
The Evening Kansan-Republican, Monday 10 July 1905. Page 1.
Coroner F. L. Abbey spent yesterday at Burrton investigating the case of the stranger who was killed by a Santa Fe freight train yesterday. From letters and papers found about his clothing his name was determined to be John Tynan and the naturalization papers he carried showed that he had come to this country from Ireland, September 1902. he was a young man, had light hair, blue eyes, a red moustache, was five feet nine inches in height and weighted 150 pounds. He was dressed in a pair of corduroy trousers, a black coat and blue vest and wore a coarse black hat. The first that he was seen at Burrton was at the depot Sunday night when the attention of the night operator was called to him by his crying and praying and singing. The burden of his prayers seemed to be a wrong he had committed in the old country for which he could not get forgiveness. He talked all night and could not sleep. The day operator noticed him after he went on duty but not so particularly as did a section hand who found him lying with his head across the track at a switch near some freight cars standing there. He was told to get up and did so and asked where he could find a Catholic priest and was told to go to Halstead. About nine thirty in the morning yesterday an extra freight with M. A. Arabright as conductor and Will Blatchley engineer, passed Burrton going west. The young man was standing at the south side of the track and could not be seen after the train neared him but after the train had passed the fireman looked back and saw the man lying there. He was found to have been knocked down by the train and had a cut across one thigh, his neck had been broken and a bruise on his forehead indicated that it had been pressed against something, presumably a rail. He had no money about his person, no valuables, and only a few letters one from Ireland telling of his folks at home and one from L. E. Boker of Mechanicsville, New York who it is judged from the letter was a former employer. From accounts and scribblings on the books and papers he was found to have been an excellent penman but nothing was there to account for his mental disturbance. There seemed to be no reason for an inquest so Dr. Abbey turned the body over to the undertaker with instructions to keep it as long as possible awaiting some word from those who were notified by wire by the coroner who sent messages to the addresses found. Dr. Abbey was inclined to the opinion of suicide rather than accident judging largely by the testimony of the section hand. Up until noon today no word had been received from the parties wired.
The Evening Kansan-Republican, Tuesday 11 July 1905. Page 1.
It Looks Like Suicide
Engineer Will Blatchley called upon Dr. Abbey this morning and left his statement concerning the death of John Tynan at Burrton Monday which more than ever gives the affair the appearance of suicide.
He said as he was passing the place where they had seen the man the train was not going more than three miles an hour when the cylinder plugs pulled out and he could not pull them back again easily. His fireman asked what they had struck and he answered a rock probably. As soon as they had passed over the obstruction there was no more difficulty and on looking back they saw the dead body lying by the side of the track. The head had the appearance of having been caught between the forehead and the back of the skull and it looks very much as though the unfortunate man had tried to throw himself with his head on the rail but had just missed it. The friends who have been notified have wired that the dead man has relatives in Buffalo and in Ireland but that their names are not known so the undertaker at Burrton has received instructions to give the body burial there.
The Evening Kansan-Republicah, Wednesday 12 July 1905. Page 1.
Can Hardly Believe
Relatives of John Tynan Hoping Against Hope
Coroner F. L. Abbey heard yesterday from Tullamore, Ireland, where he had written the relatives of John Tynan who was killed by the cars at Burrton concerning the death of the unfortunate man. The reply came E. J. Tynan, a brother, who was hoping against hope that the papers might be on the person of some one else than his brother and inclosing a vignette which he said was an excellent likeness of his brother. He said that he was aware of his brother's roving disposition but hoped that the coroner's information might be a dreadful mistake and had refrained from telling their mother and sister until he should hear again. The picture only confirms the decisions arrived at by Dr. Abbey and he is doing all that he can to make the hard news easy to bear.
The Evening Kansan-Republican, Saturday 05 August 1905.
Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Harvey County Genealogical Society & Burrton Historical Museum