Horrible industrial accidents were common in the pre-unionization days of the early 20th century, and newsy items about them were a mainstay of the Santa Rosa papers, which often described injuries in gruesome detail. More unusual were life-threatening accidents at home such as the pair transcribed below, which are all the more unique because both happened to involve mothers and sons. One wonders at the luck of little Merrill Bowman, who pitched headfirst off a barrel just as two doctors were motoring past, and surely young Master Black of Cloverdale was just going through an Oedipal phase when he accidentally shot his mum through her pelvis.


Mrs. Charles Bowman of Ripley street was the victim of a serious accident recently, and one that might have proved fatal had a physician not been quickly secured. She was putting up some fruit in a glass, and while screwing a top on a jar, it broke. Her hand came in contact with the jagged glass, severing an artery and a vein. The blood spurted from the wound in streams and great quantities of it were lost.

Dr. Cline made a hurried trip to the injured woman, and she was decidedly weak from loss of blood when he arrived. The severed artery was quickly caught and the flow of blood stopped. Had his arrival been delayed a few minutes, the unfortunate woman would have bled to death.

Merrill Bowman, a young son of the injured woman, fell from a barrel a short time after his mother's accident and landed on his head, cutting that member badly. Fortunately for the young man two doctors were passing in an auto and saw the fall. They rendered assistance and soon had the young man in good condition, barring the wound in the head.

- Santa Rosa Republican, June 30, 1906


While standing by the stove in the summer kitchen of her home in Cloverdale Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Chas. Black, a prominent resident of that city, was shot in the thigh by her son. The shooting was accidental, and because the lad was so frightened that he neglected to tell how it happened, there was an element of mystery thrown around it. Deputy Sheriff Tom Wilson investigated the matter and then reported it to Sheriff Frank P. Grace and District Attorney Charles H. Pond. Grace and Dr. Jesse went to Cloverdale in the latter's auto and satisfied themselves that the wound was accidentally inflicted.

Wild reports were circulated that Mrs. Black had been assassinated for a sum of money known to be in the house, but this proved a myth. The people of Cloverdale were considerably wrought up over these reports, which gained wide circulation and were at one time believed.

At the time she was shot, Mrs. Black believed something had exploded in the stove, and not until she glanced up and saw the window pane broken did she realize she had been shot. The bullet entered Mrs. Black's hip and has lodged in a dangerous place. Dr. Jesse believes there will be no serious consequences unless complications set in. The boy was carelessly handling a rifle and it was accidentally discharged.

- Santa Rosa Republican, August 1, 1906


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