There’s no shortage of reports of peculiar accidents in Maryland newspapers of yesteryear. Here are three accounts of bizarre situations occurring in Washington County that remind us that anything can happen as we move through the daily tasks of our lives:
In December 1896, The Baltimore Sun reported “a strange accident” involving Charles Hoffman, a clerk at the Eavey, Lane & Co. Bank in Hagerstown.
Hoffman came home and went to his room, as he did on a typical evening. Early the next morning, his brother Ernest found Charles bloodied on the floor of his room near an overturned bureau. “This piece of furniture had hit him on the temple and fractured his skull. His condition is critical and he is unconscious. … The family think Mr. Hoffman got up to get medicine from the bureau, one drawer being out,” according to an article in The Baltimore Sun.
In another incident the same day (reported in an adjacent column in the same paper), 30-year-old William Beckley, who lived near Hagerstown, also suffered a fractured skull. His injury was caused by a limb falling on his head while cutting down a tree. “His physician has little hopes of his recovery,” The Sun reported.
And, in 1956, Lester Shimp’s eye was injured in a freak accident.
Shimp, a 40-year-old farmer who lived near Sharpsburg, “was milking a cow when the cow suddenly swished its tail around and a small burr from a field weed, which had lodged in the cow’s tail, struck Shimp in the eye. An examination is reported to have disclosed possible injury to the eyeball.” He was admitted to the hospital for a few days and then went home to recover.
Sources: The Baltimore Sun, December 18, 1896; The Morning Herald, March 9, 1956; The Daily Mail, March 10, 1956