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On the River


Muscatine, Iowa


compiled and copyrighted by
Georgeann McClure


Robert Carter
Feb 4, 1917
Muscatine Journal

Well known local man killed by instantaneous asphyxiation at home.

Robert Carter, a well known and popular resident of this city met instant death by accidental asphyxiation and Ernest W. Tilgner of 108 East Eighth street, narrowly escaped death by similar fate in an effort to rescue Mr. Carter at the latter’s home at 106 East Eighth street about 8:30 0’clock yesterday morning.

Dr. A. J. Oliver, who also responded to a call from Mrs. Carter, was dazed by the escaping gas after he had entered the cellar. However, he soon recovered from the effects of the gas and offered his assistance to Mr. Tilgner and Mr. Carter after the latter had been removed to the main floor of the home.

Upon discovering a gas leak at his residence, Mr. Carter proceeded to the basement of the building with the intention of repairing the damaged pipe. He started to disconnect the pipe in which a hole was visible. As he removed the cap, it is said, the gas burst forth directly into his face and he was rendered unconscious in a few seconds.

Death Instantaneous

Soon after her husband had entered the basement of the home, Mrs. Carter smelled the leaking gas and investigation followed. Mr. Carter was found in an unconscious condition and the assistance of neighbors was summoned. Mr. Tilgner who is employed as a salesman at the Stein furniture store, rushed to the Carter home and immediately entered the cellar. No sooner had he gained entrance to the basement, however, than he, too, was overcome by the gas, prompt medical attention saving his life after he had found his way from the cellar.

With the escaping gas endangering the lives of those desirous of rendering assistance, it was found necessary to open the basement windows before the cellar could be entered. After this was done, postmaster F. W. Eichoff, residing at 101 East Eighth street, Mrs. Carter and others hurried to the cellar and there found Mr. Carter in an unconscious condition. He was then removed to the upper apartments of the home and pulmoters and doctors were rushed to the scene. The use of the pulmoter for one hour and forty minutes, however, failed to revive Mr. Carter. The statement of physicians being that the sudden flow of gas into his lungs caused instant death. Mr. Carter was employed for years as a chauffeur by P. M. Musser and was recognized as one of the most skilled mechanics in the city.

Former Boatman,

  Mr. Carter was born in Rome N.Y., and was sixty-four years and two months of age. He had resided here for twenty-five years, coming to this city from Stillwater, Minn.

He was employed for a time as engineer on government boats on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and is said to have been one of the oldest licensed engineers in this section of the country.

After ceasing work on the river he became chief engineer for the Musser Lumber company of this city, later assuming duties of chauffeur for P.M. Musser.

Prominent Mason

  Mr. carter was one of nineteen past masters of the local Masonic lodge to receive aprons at a meeting last week. The Masons, it is stated will have charge of the funeral service, which are to be held at the home at 2:30 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Burial will be made at Greenwood cemetery.

The deceased is survived by his wife, Mrs. Agnes Carter, three daughters, Mrs. Charles Kemble and Mrs. R.U. Thompson of this city and Mrs. Carter Harvey of New York City, and one sister, Miss Anna H. Carter of Manila , Philippine Islands.

Company Not Blamed

Relatives of Mr. Carter today declared that they do not in any way hold the Muscatine Lighting company responsible for the accident which caused Mr. Carter’s demise. No defect in the gas equipment or negligence on the part of the company, it is said, can be assigned as the reason for Mr. Carter’s death. transcribed by Georgeann McClure.

Muscatine Journal Feb. 4, 1917


Carter Home

108 E. Eighth St.




Charles Chaplin
Muscatine Journal
March 1, 1903

Death of Captain Charles Chaplin
Old Resident of Muscatine goes to his reward

Muscatine citizens were surprised and saddened as they heard from the pulpits of some of the churches that an old an respected citizen, Charles Chaplin had passed away.

Yesterday morning at 6:30 as the beautiful Sabbath day was dawning, his spirit took it’s flight. Charles Walter Chaplin was born in New York July 18, 1815, where he remained until fifteen years of age. At that time he came west to Illinois with governor Kinney, in whose family he resided.

On December 8 he was married to Helen M. Sherman at Quincy, Ill. Seven children were born to them, four of whom died in infancy. He came to Muscatine with his family in 1850 and has since resided here.

On December 8, 1893, the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Chaplin was celebrated in the beautiful home of his daughter, Mrs. Cora Weed, the “Eyrie”. Since then the wife and one daughter, Mrs. S.B. Cook, have been called away, and yesterday the father joined them. Leaving two children, Mrs. Cora Weed and Jos. B. Chaplin, the last of a once happy family.

Mr. Chaplin was formerly in the steamboat business, a steamboat engineer, but for the last thirty years has been retired from all business. As a business man he was a great lover of integrity and honesty, in religion he was devoted, faithful, and a constant attendant of the Congregational church, being a deacon of that church for the past thirty years. He had a wonderful faith in the simple truths of the bible-childlike in his convictions, yet heroic in the courage of them. He was a great lover of spiritual hymns in which he took great comfort. Often he was called the grand old man because of his striking combination of gentleness and strength of character.

He will be laid to rest by the side of his beloved wife who passed away several years ago. The funeral will be held from the home of Mrs. C Weed. At 205 Cherry street at 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.


The inscription on the Chaplin family stone reads:

Helen M. Chaplin

Charles W. Chaplin







Children of

Charles & Helen



Chaplin Home *

205 Cherry Street


*The American house was a tavern. In 1852 before Capt Battelle left for California. He sold the tavern to Captain Fry. Capt. Fry died shortly afterward.


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