Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In Search of Bessie Rider – Part 2

My search for information about Bessie Rider of Lorain – the girl on the 1906 postcards – started at the Lorain Public Library. Unfortunately, I could only find Bessie in two city directories, living at 2113 E. 30th Street with her parents (Harry and Maud) and her siblings.

Here's her 1912 listing (below).

Out of curiosity, I drove out to South Lorain to see what the former Rider home at 2113 E. 30th Street looked like today (below). The Lorain County Auditor website has the house listed as being built before 1900.

At that point, I thought that my research was complete – and I prepared a simple blog post with what little information I had.

But the day before I was going to post it, I Googled Bessie's name in a last attempt to see if I could come up with anything else. 
To my amazement, a small item in an Indiana newspaper mentioned Bessie. But sadly, the reason it was in the Waterloo Press of February 3, 1910 was because it was a horrible, newsworthy accident involving her.

Here's the story (below) as reported locally in the Lorain Daily News of January 18, 1910.
Ball of Ice and Snow Crashing Through Car Window Sends Piece of Glass Into Eye of Bessie Rider
With Lacerated Face is Taken to the Hospital – Boy Who Threw the Ball Made His Escape
The hurling of an iced snowball at a yellow line car last evening at about 5:30 o'clock which crashed one of the car windows into hundreds of pieces of flying glass may cost Miss Bessie Rider, a passenger, the permanent loss of her eyesight in one eye. At present the victim of the unfortunate accident is lying at St Joseph's hospital deprived of the use of her eyes and the attending physician has announced that he fears she will never regain the vision of the most seriously injured optic.
Miss Rider who is employed in the office of Dr. L. A. Wood of the Lorain block boarded the 5:10 car as usual to go to her home at 2113 E. 30th Street. She had several small packages with her and when the car was coming to a stop at the corner of East 28th and Oakwood avenue she arose from her seat and prepared to leave the car. It was while she was in the act of stooping over gathering up her belongings that someone threw the ball of snow and ice at the car. It struck the window in front of which Miss Rider was bending. The fact that her face was so close to the window sent a large part of the flying glass directly into her face and she was immediately blinded by the sharp edged particles. Blood streamed from her face and in her agony she murmured that there was glass in her right eye. A friend of the family was on the car and assisted her to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry N. Rider.
In the meantime the car crew had apprised the dispatcher's office of the affair and he in turn hurriedly summoned Dr. Cox the company's physician. On an examination of the young lady's injuries he decided that the services of an eye specialist were necessary and he secured Dr. O. B. Monosmith. On his arrival the girl was removed to St. Joseph's hospital where the injured eye was found to be badly cut. Several stitches in the eyeball were found necessary and a part of her cheek was lacerated. The eye lid of the other eye was also badly cut.
Dr. O. B. Monosmith this morning informed the parents that it was too early to make a positive statement concerning the eye. He said that at present the eye sight was totally destroyed in the member and it was very probable that it would permanently remain so.
Whether or not the train crew of the car ascertained the names of the young men who were in the group which did the snowballing could not be learned this morning. The Lake Shore Electric's claim agent arrived in the city early this morning and at once began an investigation of the affair. The police also are working on the case.
It is questionable whether any liability can be attached to the railroad company for such an unfortunate occurrence but it is known that the culprit who threw the missive if apprehended might be severely dealt with inasmuch as throwing at trains is a penitentiary offense.
The Lorain Times-Herald from the same day provided even more details of the accident in this front page story (below).
Bessie Rider Terribly Hurt When Missel Crashes in Glass of Car
Two Stitches Taken in Right Optic and Sight is Doubtful, Left also Injured
Because a group of boys and girls were careless and thoughtless, Miss Bessie Rider, the pretty 19-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. N. Rider of 2113 East 30th st., will probably lose the use of one eye and the other may be permanently injured.
The accident was the first serious mishap due to the pastime of snowballing this winter and the most serious of the kind which ever occurred here.
Miss Rider was riding in a yellow line car on her way to her house when a snowball crashed through the car window. A piece of flying glass penetrated the eye inflicting a severe cut. The left eye was cut but the right eye was so badly torn by the glass that two stitches were necessary in the eye ball.
Miss Ride is employed in the office of Dr. L. A. Wood in the Lorain block. She boarded the Lorain Street Railway car which leaves the loop at 5:15 o'clock for the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. N. Rider, of 2113 E. 30th st. When the car reached a point on E. 28th st., near the old ball grounds, it passed a group of boys and girls who were in the street and on the walk engaged in throwing snowballs at passerbys and at passing cars. As the car approached a volley of snowballs flew towards it. Miss Rider had just stooped over to pick up a basket which she had set upon the floor. There was a crash and a snowball and pieces of glass struck the young lady in the face and eyes.
The injured girl was the personification of grit and cool-headedness. Turning to a young man who sat in the seat beside her, an acquaintance of hers, she said: "You'll have to take me home. I can't see." The young man realized Miss Rider had been seriously hurt and accompanied her to her home, half leading her.
At the house Dr. S. S. Cox was called. An examination at once showed that a small piece of glass had cut the right eye ball from the outer side to the pupil. The left eye was also cut. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the attending physician dressed one of the eyes and then the girl was taken to the office of Dr. O.B. Monosmith, the local eye specialist. The glass was removed and the girl was taken to St. Joseph's hospital where she was cared for during the night. The wounded eye bled considerably during the night and the girl's condition is grave. The attending physicians give little hope that she will ever recover the use of her right eye and the left eye may be affected.
No one knows who thew the snow ball which may cost Miss Rider the loss of her sight. There is considerable feeling over the matter in all parts of the city and an effort is being made to find the guilty person. Members of the police department are making an investigation and it is probable that some information will be gathered during the day.
Miss Rider came to this city with her parents from McKeesport, Pa., about six years ago. She is 19, and decidedly pretty. Possessed of a beautiful fresh complexion, two rows of snow, even teeth, coal black hair and eyes, the girl has attracted considerable attention. She is of a quiet and genial disposition and pleasant manner. She has a wide circle of friends in the city.
Using the date of the accident as a starting point, I read through the following month of newspapers on microfilm – but was unable to find out anything more about what happened to Bessie. So once again, I was ready to post her story and move on to something else.

But once again, fate and luck would intervene to help me uncover the rest of Bessie's story – and provide an uplifting ending.

1 comment:

Miss Merry said...

Poor Bessie! What a random and cruel tragedy!