Buried Alive in Williams County, OH, 1902
By Pamela Pattison Lash
The following account appeared in the Bryan Democrat (Bryan, OH), Thursday, 4 December 1902, p1 c8:
Uncle James Warberton, one of the sturdy pioneers of this section, was buried alive last Friday forenoon and lives to tell the tale. Mr. Warberton descended into an old well near his residence to remove the brick from the wall, it being no longer used as a source of water supply for the family. He went down into the well by means of a ladder, and was engaged about his task; without a moment’s warning the earth caved in from all sides. Before Mr. Warberton was cognizant of what had happened he found himself buried under two or three feet of very compact sand. Fortunately, for Mr. W. members of his family were near the scene of the accident, and immediately set to work with all their might and main at exhumation. The dirt was removed from around his head in a remarkably short time, but some moments elapsed before he was entirely extricated from his perilous position. His escape from suffocation is considered miraculous, and he owes his life to the prompt assistance of the rescuing party. Mr. Warberton is past eighty years and a well preserved man for one of his advanced age. – Edgerton Earth.
Here is some additional information on this survivor and his family:
James Warburton (25 September 1822, Lancastershire, England – 7 January 1907, of dropsy, Edgerton, St Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH); buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Edgerton, St Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH; came to the US c 2 May 1842 and married first – Dinah Salter (1824 England -1860, Medina Co, OH).
The couple had five children – Albert H, Mary E, Allice A, Frank C, and Eliza J, all of whom were born in Summit Co, OH, and all but Mary E lived in Summit Co, OH. Mary E married Enos Vallen, 15 April 1866 in Summit Co, OH but later moved to Williams Co.
Sometime after Dinah Warburton died, James moved to Williams Co, OH c1864 and settled on 240 acres in Section 12 of St Joseph Twp. He married Mary A (Hudson) Morris, widow of Charles Morris, on 9 December 1879, Wms Co, OH, and the couple continued to live on the Warburton homestead until about 1894 when James sold half of his land to son-in-law Enos Vallen; by 1903 Enos owned it all but James and wife Mary Ann continued to live there until James’ death. Mary later moved to Toledo, Lucas Co, OH, until her death on 13 July 1908. There is a stone for the couple in Maple Grove Cem, but no dates were inscribed to signify either birth or death dates.
I noted that the surname can be Warberton or Warburton. When the above described incident happened James was just 80 years old and the rescuing party (his family members) most likely were his wife, his daughter and son-in-law, Enos Vallen. Perhaps this event was the reason why by 1903 Enos owned all the homestead.
1850 Bath, Summit Co, OH – James 26 Eng/Dinah 26 Eng - miller
1860 Northampton, Summit Co, OH – James 40 Eng w/children – common laborer
1870 St Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH – Mary Morris 35 OH with daughters Hannah and Ida
1880 Edgerton, St Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH – James 57 Eng/ Mary A 47 OH – retired miller
1900 St Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH – James 77 Eng/ Mary A 65 OH no occupation
Medina Co, OH Marriages 1841-1855 p79 – James and Dinah Salter
Williams Co, OH Marriages V4 p660 #1962 – James and Mary Ann Morris
Williams Co, OH Atlases, 1864, 1874, 1894, 1903
Williams Co, OH Death, V3 p146