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A most singular and horrifying accident occurred at Anthony, in Harper county, last Monday morning about 2 o'clock. W. H. Wilkens, with his wife and five children, (colored) were sleeping in a recently built
storm cave, when the roof collapsed and buried the whole family beneath with heavy wet earth and the timbers of the roof. The five children, ranging from 8 months to 13 years, were smothered to death, and it was only by the greatest exertions that Mr. Wilkens succeeded in extricating himself and then saved his wife by pawing the dirt with his hands away from her face, which gave her air and temporary relief. He then tried to
relieve his children; but finding that he could do nothing with his hands, he ran to a neighbor's a few yards away and gave the alarm. He returned with a shovel, and, with the aid of others, tried to save the lives of the children, but their efforts were unsuccessful. The earth from the roof covered the children from two to three feet deep,
commingled with the boards and rafters, and it was nearly a half hour from the time of the accident until the last body was taken out. The wife, when released seemed to be more dead than alive, but soon revived
and is resting as quietly as possible under the circumstances. Mr. Wilkens was not seriously hurt, but the shock unnerved him and he is now under the care of a physician.
Transcribed and Contributed by Shirley Brier

Last Updated:  Wednesday, December 14, 2005 22:22:20

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