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August 31, 1911 - North Vernon Plain Dealer

Death Relieved Him From Pain Short Time After Accident

    The Big Four bridge at Brewersville was the scene of an accident Friday night, which resulted in the death of Joseph Lester Stearns one of the most popular and best liked boys of that vicinity. All that can be learned of the accident is that Stearns and two companions, George Kellar and Lester Dixon were standing near the depot watching the local which was pulling out at about 8:15 in the eveninng. As the train started Dixon and Kellar jumped on one of the cars for a short ride and Stearns called out to them that he would get on a little further down. The train proceeded across the bridge and in a few minutes Harry Stearns, a brother of the boy, and his wife, who live near the bridge heard some one calling for help and recognized the boy's voice they immediately notified his father and all ran with lanterns to try and discover what the trouble was. As they neared the bridge they met the other two boys coming back and asked where Lester was but neither of the boys knew anything about what had happened after they had boarded the train. It was discovered that the cries were coming from the rocks below the bridge and upon reaching the place, the boy was found lying, alive, but very badly injured. Friends very tenderly carried him to his home where he lived only a short while. He was conscious until within a few minutes of his death but did not have sufficient strength to tell how the accident happened. It is supposed that in getting either on or off the train he missed his footing and fell a distance of about sixty feet to the ground below. He is a son of Joseph Stearns of Brewersville and was sixteen years and eighteen days old. He was employed by his father, who was teaching him to assist in taking care of his store, Mr. Stearns being also postmaster at Brewersville. That his friends were numerous and that he was beloved by all who knew him was clearly proven by the large attendance and the manifestations of grief at his funeral, which took place at the U. B. church at Brewersville, at 1:30 Sunday afternoon. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Moore, of Westport and the remains were brought to this city and interred in the CIty Cemetery. Among those who attended the funeral where his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. P. C. Sweeney, his grandfather S. I. Stearns, Tom Sweeney, Mrs. Mayme Penniston and Mrs. Florence Beecham, of Indianapolis; Ben Sweeney and wife, of Jolietville, Ind., Oscar Stearns and childrenn and Joe Stearns and wife,of Vernon; and Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Matthews, and Mrs. Jennie Smith and daughters, Mrs. Florence Thompson and Miss Mayme Smith, Homer Matthews, and Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Spriggs, of this city. Those that survive of the immediate family are his father and two brothers, Clarence and Harry, all of whom reside at Brewersville.

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