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"A Wrongful Death in Newcastle," Historical Perspectives, February 2019
Dear Mr. Gibbard:
I am a fan of your legal history articles in Colorado Lawyer. Thank you for continuing to research and produce them!
The tragic story of the death of "Mrs. Gunning" in a train wreck in New Castle, Colorado in 1897 was particularly poignant. I did a bit of research to learn more about her and her husband.
I identified Mrs. Gunning from her burial record in Cedar Rapids, where her remains undoubtedly were shipped at herparents' behest: www.findagrave.com/memorial/32646758/ edim-m_gunning. Edith M. Langham Gunning's date of death, September 10, 1897, matches precisely the date of the train wreck. Another researcher helpfully attached her obituary from the Cedar Rapids newspaper, which describes Edith as "23 years old, bright, pretty and talented, having taught in the school. . . with much success."
Mr. Gunning is described in Edith's obituary as "the son of a well-known Linn county [Iowa] pioneer..." Ancestry.com contains a wealth of information about him. Perhaps most interesting, a handwritten family record states that he "[traveled on stage as Gunning the Hypnotist (1896). Performed in Tabor Grand Opera House (Denver, Colo.). In partnership with Al G Barnes with 5 cent phonograph, later bought dog and pony show." After Edith's death, he returned to Iowa, enlisted in the 49th Iowa Infantry in 1898 (Spanish-American War), and then went back to Colorado, where he was a school teacher in Cripple Creek in 1900 (described as "single"). But he soon married Maude Porter, also of Linn County, Iowa, at Lead ville in 1901. She bore two children in Colorado before dying in 1904 at age 22, and...