Unusual Death (3)

Donald B. Shedden

Robert Shedden
(6th generation)

Donald B. Shedden was born October 1893, the son of Samuel and Mattie (Norton) Shedden and the grandson of John Boyd and Margaret (Rosborough) Shedden. John Boyd Shedden was a brother of James Elmer Shedden.
    Donald's uncle, John Andrew Shedden, was accidentally
    electrocuted in 1909, five years before Donald's death.

Donald was in the 1911 graduating class of the Elgin High School; he was the class secretary. He had just completed his second year at Illinois University where he was studying agriculture.

It was June 27, 1914 -- Donald was home during the summer vacation period and had obtained a summer job working for the Engineering Department of the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railroad.

Summarizing the story as it appears in the afternoon addition of the June 27, 1914, issue of the Elgin Daily Courier newspaper:

Donald was working on a surveying crew. They were working on the Aurora Elgin and Chicago right-of-way beneath the viaduct of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. His working partner, W.D. Grout, was working about 50 feet away.

Donald was struck from the rear and instantly killed by an east-bound Aurora, Elgin and Chicago work train at 9:30 the morning of June 27th. After the train struck him, he fell between the tracks and the train passed over him. The top of his head was cut off and his body displayed a large burn from the third rail.

It so happened that at the same time a Milwaukee train was crossing the viaduct above them so it was not possible for Donald Shedden to hear the approaching train. His working partner, Grout, had turned and saw the approaching train but he could not get Shedden's attention by waving and yelling. He ran toward Shedden but for some reason he still couldn't get his attention or Shedden did not understand him. Grout was on the verge of a nervous collapse after the accident.

Donald's mother, Mattie Shedden, was returning from a trip to California and had not been told of her son's death. He was only 20 years old at the time.

Donald Shedden was the third person to die as a result of an accident on this third rail electric line within a few weeks.

He was the third child of Samuel and Mattie Shedden to die before reaching age 21. Earlier another son, Kenneth Shedden, died from a tree fall although some felt other internal problems caused his death.