Tom Wicks Killed by a Threshing Machine
Was Trying to Put on a Belt-His Arm
Jerked from His Body
Originally published in the Kendall County Record, Aug 7, 1895.
Transcribed by Jane Willey-Fey
One of those horrible affairs that are becoming so common in the threshing season occurred on the Christianson farm, near the North Prairie Lutheran church about noon, Monday, August 5. When the news came to Yorkville it created a good deal of consternation, for the victim had many friends in this vicinity who could hardly credit the report. It was too true, and one of our good citizens was in a moment hurried into eternity.
The reason, Mr. Thomas Wicks and one of his brothers had bought a brand new threshing outfit with all the modern improvements, including a twenty-horse steam engine. They took a great deal of pride in running this superior machine. On Monday they began work on the farm where the accident occurred. Somewhere near noon Mr. Tom Wicks attempted to put on the conveyor belt while the machine was running. By some accident the belt slipped down the inside of the pulley. He reached in to pull it out, when his hand was caught by another pulley that was running at lightening speed. In an instant poor Tom was whirling around the shaft. His arm was torn from the shoulder, his ribs broken, and when he was extricated he was almost dead, breathing only a few times. The men about the machine were horror-stricken; it was such a sudden and awful death.
Mr. Wicks was an enterprising and energetic man; was a farmer, a machinery expert, and had been in the business of selling farm implements in Yorkville and Newark, hence was well known and had many friends. His death is most deplorable, but it should be another lesson to those who work about threshing machines and traction engines. Many of the accidents are caused by familiarity with such machinery, and operators do not use ordinary precaution. It was better to lose a little time than for a man to lose his life.