Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Death Of John Shockey, Part Four

When these lines reach the reading public it is probable that John W. Shockey, Assistant Chief of the Fire Department, will be no more. He responded to his last call on Sunday morning, when an alarm was sounded for a fire discovered in the St. Louis Picture-frame Works, Broadway and Angelica street. He was among his men in the moment of danger, and when a wall toppled and fell on the little band of fire-fighters their chief was caught in the gap and crushed under a mass of burning bricks. Rescuers were numerous, and not many minutes elapsed before the hands of willing workers had unearthed the injured men from their terrible position. When rescued Assistant Chief Shockey did not utter a syllable of complaint but manfully bore his injuries. It was supposed that the extent of his infliction was a dislocated limb, and he was removed to his home. No serious complications were anticipated, and the condition of the patient was considered favorable until Tuesday, when Dr. Scott, on examination, discovered that Mr. Shockey had sustained injuries to the brain by the weight of the falling wall, which crushed through his helmet, and by outward pressure compressed the brain to a dangerous degree. The development of this feature of the case awakened grievous apprehensions and when delirium intervened it was acknowledged that the derangement was beyond the power of surgical or medical skill to cure. Slowly the patient sank, and last night at 10 o'clock his bedside was surrounded by friends and relatives who, in breathless suspense, awaited the final summons. Mr. John W. Shockey was a native St. Louisan, and his early years were devoted to acquiring a knowledge of carpentry and building, in which he excelled. He subsequently became associated with the Sexton Bros., Clay and John, and managed a prosperous business for many years. Ultimately, in 1875, the partnership was dissolved by the death of John Sexton. Shockey displayed quite a predilection for fire extinguishing, and his efforts won for him many complimentary notices. Together with First Assistant Chief Lindsay, he was introduced into the regular department when the list of assistants was increased from three to five. Since then he has been a prominent figure at every extensive fire, and in the performance of the duties incumbent on him, he recognized no fatigue, and knew no danger too powerful to encounter. His motto invariably was "Come and not Go." He was married some years ago to a daughter of Clay Sexton, and has an only son to mourn the untimely calamity that robbed him of a beloved and indulgent parent.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 29, 1881


Shockey-October 2, at 2 o'clock a.m., John W. Shockey, Assistant Chief of Fire Department, aged 42 years.

The funeral will take place on Tuesday, the 4th inst., at 10 o'clock a.m., from his late residence, No. 1711 North Eight street.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 3, 1881

A couple of notes:

-L.U. Reavis, in Saint Louis: The Future Great City of the World, wrote that "Under an ordinance passed by the City Council in February 1876, two more assistant engineers were added to the force: John Lindsey and John W. Shockey..." Combining this information with that from the Globe's September 29, 1881 piece, we now know that Shockey joined the fire department in February of 1876.

-The Globe has Shockey as the son in law of Henry Clay Sexton while I have another source that says he was Clay's nephew. More research is needed.

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