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40 Injured at Funeral in York

Quickel Lutheran Church, in Zions View, York Co.


In 1907, a double funeral for two murdered boys at a church in York County turned to a frightening scene of chaos, which resulted in babies being thrown out of windows and the contents of the caskets spilled onto the floor.  When it was all over, dozens were injured- some fatally.  From the November 28 edition of the Fulton County News:


Forty Injured During Frantic Stampede in York- Ghastly Scene in a Church

York, Pa. (Special).-- During the progress of the funeral at Quickel Church, near Zions View, this county, of William and Curvin Hoover, the youths who were murdered Saturday at Pleasuresville, a panic occurred among the several thousand persons assembled and about 40 were injured.  A rumor that the roof of the church was about to fall in, followed by a creaking noise and the collapsing of several stoves, caused a mad rush for the exits.

Cause of the Panic

The panic occurred shortly after 12 o'clock and at the most solemn part of the service.  When those present heard a creaking noise several among them began to cry: "The roof is falling in!"

Instantly the several thousand persons arose in their seats and made a wild dash for the exits.  The windows and doors of the little church are small, and they were soon clogged with writhing forms.  Men, women, and children were trampled upon and mothers, in their frenzy, hurled their babies to those outside.  Other women, becoming separated from their little ones, attempted to force their way back into the building.  

Near the pulpit, where the caskets had been placed, a pathetic scene was presented.  The parents of the murdered youths, as soon as the rush for the doors and windows began, jumped quickly in front of the caskets and tried to fight off the maddened crowd.  Their efforts, however, were unsuccessful, both coffins being overturned and the bodies, rolling upon the floor, were trampled on by hundreds.

As soon as the crowd on the outside of the church realized what had happened the work of rescue began.  Chief of Detectives Charles S. White and Detective Cookes ran to a number of the most cool-headed and tried to stop the stampede.  In this they were partially successful, but not until several score had been hurt, some of them fatally.

A Ghastly Scene

At the rear exit, where the stampede was the greatest, the bodies of the injured were piled several feet high.  Revs. S.G.W. Enders and Adam Stump, of this city, remained at their posts, and when the panic started they cried out that everything was safe and that the crowd should stop.  Seeing that their commands were not obeyed, the two ministers then started to help in the work of rescue.  Finally everyone had left the little church, and a glimpse inside revealed a ghastly scene.

The two bodies of the murdered boys were lying upon the floor surrounded by overturned and broken benches.  The bodies were restored to the caskets and taken outside.  When the quiet was restored, Rev. Dr. Adam Stump , from the doorway of the church, preached the final sermon.

The bodies were then taken to the adjoining graveyard, where internment was made.


(view the original newspaper here)

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