Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly Puzzle - Kansas City 1888

New York Life Building
Kansas City MO

Completed 1890
It seems that Trendell's were unlucky in Kansas City.  One year to the day before the drowning death of Charles Arthur Trendell, William C Trendell and two co-workers fell to their death when a scaffold collapsed as they laid bricks on the New York Life building. The fall was over 100 feet and Billy struck a wire on the way down which broke his neck.  Unlike the other two victims he probably did not live to feel the impact.

Two days later, 30 Jun 1888, the coroner's jury found that the contractor and the foreman of the carpenter's had been negligent, but not criminally so. (1)

Who is William C. Trendell.  The newspaper account, in which he is referred to as Billy Trendell and also Tremlyn says he was an officer of the bricklayers union, that he could not have been over 27 years old, was small and had a thick black mustache.

 Thursday, June 28, 1888
Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO)
Volume: 14   Issue: 244   Page: 1

The newspaper account quoted one mourner as stating, "Poor Billy.  Everybody that knew him liked him.  He's only a little fellow, you know, but what there was of him was good."

None of the Trendells (with any spelling) in the 1880 census looked promising.  More promising might be a few individuals born in the British Isles around 1861.  At least two do not appear to have any records after 1881.  Might they have emigrated.

I did not find a cemetery or a death certificate for William, and I also looked under the name Tremlyn using both William and Billy.

The second article, with the official verdict of the coroner's jury gave the name as William C. Trendell, making Trendell more likely than Tremlyn.

So who is William C. Trendell.  There must be more in the coroner's records.  Does anyone have access to them?  One would also expect a lawsuit or at least some sort of settlement if William had any family, so there might be information in the civil court records as well.  If not a lawsuit by the Trendell family perhaps by the family of one of the others?

And so the search is on!

(1) "A Verdict of Censure. Finding of the Jury in the Scaffold Victims' Case. John Russell", Kansas City Star, 30 Jun 1888, v:14 i.246 p1 

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