Obit: Rossman, Wayne F. (1906 - 1935)

Contact: Roslyn Strickland

Surnames: Rossman, Prechtel, Neff, Gibson, Inezo, Brittain, Schwaltzer, Gadow, Smith, Waskowich, Seubert, Kircher, Labisky, Miller, Oelhafen, Lynch

----Sources: Private collection

Rossman, Wayne F. (14 April 1906 - 9 March 1935)

This is a story of Wayne F. Rossman 9 March 1935; he was born 14 April 1906 in Wood County, Marshfield, Wisconsin. At the time of this train and auto accident he was married to Harriet E. (nee Neff) Rossman and the father of 3 living children and one about to be born. He was the son of Oscar, 1883; & Dollie Rossman, 1882.



Young Lady in Hospital With Jaw Broken in Head on Collision

The lifeless form of a young man lying on a stretcher on the cold, wet ground, wreckage of an automobile strewn along the railroad tracks, and a halted passenger train waiting permission to proceed told the grim story of tragedy which overtook a factory worker on a crossing in Barton last Saturday morning.

A young mother has been widowed and her three children are orphaned by the swift stroke of fate of the quiet village and surrounding community. Bright plans for the future were reduced to a shapeless mass of gloom and despair by the crushing blow of misfortune.

The southbound North Western road passenger train which reaches West Bend at about 9:30 in the morning struck the automobile driven by Wayne F. Rossman of Young America as it rounded the curve in Barton at high speed, and carried parts of the machine almost one-half mile before the engineer brought it to a stop. Rossman was driving across the tracks to the factory district of Barton, using one of the unprotected railway crossings northwest of the depot. He was not quite 29 years of age, and was employed as painter of electric washers in the factory of the Barton Corporation.

Body Carried 300 Yard

The terrific impact and subsequent dragging of the wreckage of the automobile upon the front of the locomotive completely demolished the car, and parts of it were strewn along the railroad right of way from near where the accident occurred to the point almost a half mile down the tracks where the train was halted. Rossman’s body was carried several hundred yards. His skull was fractured at the base, one leg, was broken, and he sustained numerous bad cuts, resulting in almost instantaneous death.

Spectators who gathered after the tragedy agreed that never had they seen an automobile so completely demolished. Apparently it has been caught low on the front of the locomotive and was dashed to bits as portions of it bounced on the ground. Planks were ripped from other crossings over which the train rushed, and a switch post in the part of the dangling wreckage ********* torn from its ****. Twisted bits of steel and from lying here and here, a wheel torn from its hub ,framework twisted into an unrecognizable mass, all testified to the terrific force of the death dealing blow.

Train Delayed 1 ½ Hours

Only the front axle of the car, with one wheel still attached, remained on the engine when the train was stopped, and this was wedged under the truck of the coal tender in such a manner that it had to be cut in two with an acetylene gas flame before it could be removed. This delayed the train at Barton until near 11 o’clock. Trainmen tried in vain to remove this place of wreckage with bars, chisels and sledges. Finally the services of the Van Beek and Prechtel garage of Barton were recruited, and under the direction of Joseph Prechtel the axle was cut with a gas flame, allowing removal of the wreckage. The automobile was a Chevrolet sedan owned by Francis Neff, brother-in-law of Mr. Rossman.

Coroner Holds Inquest

At an inquest into the death of Mr. Rossman conducted by Dr. H. Meyer Lynch, Washington County coroner, at the Barton State bank Tuesday evening the six jurors, after hearing testimony, brought in the following verdict:

"That Wayne Rossman came to his death at 9:29 a.m. on the 9th day of March, 1935, as the result of injuries sustained in a collision with an auto driven by himself and a Chicago and North Western railway passenger train No. 206 at an unprotected public crossing known as the "Herbst" crossing in the village of Barton. We recommend that the Chicago and North Western Railway company be instructed to take immediate action to eliminate this hazard and relocate said crossing to prevent future accidents and loss of life and limb."

The coroner’s jury was composed of Raymond Schwaltser, William G. Gadow, Sherman E. Smith, Peter Waskowich, Felix Seubert and E. G. Kircher.

The jury’s recommendation for relocation of the Herbst crossing same as the result of testimony of A. H. Labisky, president of the Barton Ban Beek, former village residence, and John Willkomm, village clerk, who stated that since 1927 the attention of railroad officials had been drawn to the hazardous condition of this crossing, and that railroad officials had appeared in Barton and made investigations, but nothing further has been done about it.

Three eye-witnesses of the accident were examined at the inquest. Cyril Miller, 10, testified that he saw Mr. Rossman approach the crossing and attempt to bring the automobile to a stop, but that the machine skidded onto the railway. Edward Oelhafen, and employed of the Wesbar corporation, stated that he had examined the skid marks after the crash, and Alfred Homuth, employed in the Gadow Mill, saw the car being carried on the front of the train as it speeded past the depot.

The engineer and firemen of train 206 were also called to the stand, and testified that the train was running about 35 miles per hour and that the emergency brakes were applied immediately after the train struck the car, bringing the train to a stop as quickly as possible. The engineer had not seen Rossman’s car before the impact, bur the fireman had because the car was on the side of the engine where he was riding. They said the train whistle was sounded for the * * the rest of the copy was cut off here. * * - - - - -

Obituary of W. F. Rossman

Wayne F. Rossman, a resident of Young America since last year, was born at Marshfield, Wis., April 14, 1906. He married Harriet Neff, a daughter of Mrs. Clara Neff of West Bend, May 11, 1928. They came to Barton in the fall of 1932 and last year moved to Young America.

He is survived by his sorrowing widow and three children, Shirley, 5, Madeline, 2, and Richard, 8 months of age. He also leaves his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Rossman of Pewaukee, and two sisters, Mrs. Eugene Gibson and Mrs. Michael Inezo, both of Waukesha.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at 1 o’clock at the Kapfer funeral home in Barton, the Rev. Ernest Brittain, pastor of Fifth Avenue Methodist Church, West Bend, officiating at the sad rites. Burial took place in Newark Cemetery at Young America.

Mr. Rossman was a man of fine character, and won his way into the hearts of the people during the comparatively short time he was a resident of this community. His coworkers and others who knew him spoke highly of him. He was a loving husband and a devoted father, and spent his leisure time at home in endeavors to make his family happy. His untimely death has cut a deep wound in the hearts of those dear to him which time will never completely heal.

- - - - - - -

Barton Man Killed as Train Hits Car

By special correspondent of the Journal

West Bend, Wis. - Wayne Rossman, 28, a painter, was killed by a North Western road passenger train which struck his automobile on one of the unprotected railroad crossing near Barton Saturday. He was married and the father of three children.

The train, carried his body about one-quarter of a mile down the track, and wreckage of his sedan was strewn alongside the railroad track for a distance of nearly one-half mile.

Dr. H. Meyer Lynch, Washington County coroner, has announced that an inquest will be held at the Barton State Bank Tuesday evening.

- - Transcriber notes: When you see the following * * there are missing words or letters in the article, the transcriber was unable to make out.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel