Matej Sidlo and a Mystery
Here is a gravestone with a unique image. This stone tree marks the grave of Matej Sidlo who died August 10, 1898. (The mystery is given at the end of this tale.)
This stone was featured in Volume 6 no. 3 of Heritage Happenings. The death certificate tells this story: Michael Sidlo. Age 40 yrs. ..."came to his death from shock and injuries caused by being thrown from a Beer wagon hauled by 2 horses and belonging to the E.R. Stege Brewing Co. Said wagon being struck by engine No. 590 belonging to the CB & Q RR Co." ...
Newspapers relayed that he left his house at 4:45 AM and, with his brother Jacob, loaded his wagon. At 7:30 AM crossing the tracks at 16th and Morgan they were struck by the train. Jacob managed to jump clear but Matej was thrown to the pavement. We are not told about the horses.
Apparently such accidents were not uncommon as the paper also relates “Carelessness of railway employees was again to blame for the untimely death of a man in the prime of his life”.
Matej lived near Morgan and 19th. He worked at Ashland and 15th and lost his life at Morgan and 16th. He came thousands of miles from Bohemia but lived worked and died all within a mile.
He left a widow and, according to the 1900 census, 6 children. He worked on a beer wagon and must have been of modest means.
So – who paid for the stone?