Bang your head…

Below is a Vermont Tribune newspaper clipping I found in Ted Spaulding’s donation. The Vermont Tribune was a newspaper printed in Ludlow. The first story would date to about 1919-1925.

Ludlow Woolen Mill 1869. Photo provided by Beers Atlas.


“Sylvester Fuller, 76, who suffered painful and serious injuries December 22, when his head was caught in the press at the Black River Woolen Mill, is making a remarkable recovery in spite of the fact that at the time of the accident it was thought his injuries might prove fatal.

“Mr. Fuller’s skull above the left ear was crushed in, making a hole through which the brain could be seen and pieces of bone were removed from the brain. The accident occurred late in the afternoon. The patient did not lose consciousness during the whole time. The next day Dr. Marshall of Rutland was called, and after an examination, offered but little more hope for the patient’s recovery than had the local physician. Practically all the hope entertained was ‘there is a chance.’ To keep the wound clean was all that could be done, but Mr. Fuller, taking ‘a chance’ is, as has already been said, making a remarkable recovery.

“Mr. Fuller will be 77 in April. This case is almost parallel with one recorded in the Vermont Journal printed in Windsor, March, 1859, although it cannot be said that Mr. Fuller shows any marked change in characteristics or habits, from which we take the following:

Man’s Brains Knocked Out Yet He Still Lives.

Ludlow from the 1885. Photo provided by Burleigh Litho.

“(Copied from Vermont Journal, printed at Windsor, VT., March 5, 1859.)

“The Eau Claire (Wis.) Telegraph narrates the following singular case of surgery. The case is that of James Campbell, a laborer in the employ of George C. Irvine, Esq., of Dunn County, whose brains were literally knocked out by the falling of a tree, some six weeks ago, and strange to say, he is not only still living, but has regained all his faculties, and bids fair to recover his usual sound health. Dry Crocker of Dunnville, the surgeon in attendance, thus describes the case: ‘I found the patient lying insensible, with a large hole broken into the left side of the skull just over the ear – both the left frontal and parietal bones shattered, and two pieces, one an inch and a half by two inches square driven completely into the brain, and portions of the brain protruding. After removing the fragments of the bone, I then removed three-fourths of a wine glass of brain, in conjunction with three pieces of the tree, which had also been driven quite into his head. From the first there was a copious discharge of thin water from the ear, of course through the Eustachian tube. I considered the case hopeless, as for several days after the first dressing the brain continued to ooze out and pieces as large as a walnut sloughed off before the wound began to circatrize. The case presents also a remarkable mental phenomenon which will interest phrenologists. The patient, before the accident, was never known to sing or whistle a tune in his life, but no sooner was he able to speak than he began to sing with perfect correctness, and now displays a taste for music amounting to a passion.’”

Some readers might find this little tidbit interesting. My story last week was about the Hotel Fullerton burning in 1920. When The Vermont Journal put that story online, I sent it to Robin Rowell Smith. I did so because a couple years ago Robin donated many of her Rowell family items to the Chester Historical Society. She lives in Maryland.

The photo I used for that article was donated by Robin. She was pleased to read about her grandfather John Rowell.

Her reply: “Wow Ron. Very cool article! Thanks for sharing. My father’s nurse rescued him from the fire/he was almost two. Do you know where my grandfather’s desk is?? Take care, Robin”

Robin’s father being rescued by the family nurse was news to me. It’s fun for me to ferret out these obscure bits of history.

The next meeting of the Chester Historical Society will be Thursday, Feb. 28. Our meetings are held at Chester Town Hall during the winter. Meetings start at 7 p.m. and all are welcome. Following our business meeting, we will have our monthly slideshow of old photos. This month will be photos donated by Ted Spaulding.

This week’s old saying is from Groucho Marx. “I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”

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