Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon
Joe Allen Dead In Train Wreck
Enterprise Man Killed at La Grande on way to Market with Stock
Joe Allen, well known at his home in Enterprise and elsewhere in Wallowa county, was killed in the railroad yards at La Grande last Saturday evening. He was on his way to Portland with a car of hogs. The body was brought back to Enterprise on Monday and the funeral, conducted by the Odd Fellows lodge, was held Tuesday morning. Burial was in the Enterprise cemetery.
Mr. Allen left Enterprise Saturday morning on the same train which George Chandler and Daniel Throe started to market with cattle for J. W. Chandler. J. M. Blakely also went out with horses.
At La Grande these men and others from outside this county were in the way car attached to the stock train bound for Portland in the evening when a train was switched past. The two tracks were so close that the train struck the way car which jolted and then began to turn over.
Mr. Blakely leaped to the door and out upon the ground in safety. Mr. Allen followed him, but the car was on edge as he struck the ground and it came down on him before he could get clear. He cried for help once after being pinned down, but lapsed into unconsciousness before the woodwork of the car was chopped away, and died shortly afterward.
Others in the car either did not try to get out or were unable to and escaped with bruises and minor injuries. Mr. Blakely led in the work of extricating Mr. Allen from the wreckage.
An investigation was made by the railroad board of inquiry and the blame was placed on the train and yard men responsible for leaving the car where it could be struck by the other train and for running this other train down on it.
As Mr. Allen had a car of hogs on the way to market, it was necessary for action to be taken at once to preserve the property. Judge J. H. Olmsted therefore appointed George S. Craig special administrator to look after perishable property, to retain his authority until a permanent administrator was appointed.
John Selbert of Pendleton, who had business relations with Mr. Allen for some years, came to Enterprise Monday afternoon, accompanied by Col. F. S. Ivanhoe as his attorney. Judge Olmsted appointed Mr. Selbert administrator, fixing his bond at $25,000. The order appointing the administrator stated that Mr. Allen had no relatives in the state, as far as was known, and the he was indebted to Mr. Selbert for a considerable sum.
The personal property, in the document, was estimated to be worth about $5,000, to which was added a claim for $7,500 against the O. W. R. & N. Co., for causing his death, making a total of $12,500. The real estate is a more complicated matter.
Of the 900 acres of farm land north of Enterprise credited to Mr Allen, 240 acres are owned outright by Mr. Selbert. Mr. Selbert also owns a half interest in 320 acres, put in at a valuation of $9,600. A mortgage of $6,200 is held by Mr. Selbert on Mr. Allen’s half interest in the 320 and is also secured on an additional 160 acres. Mr. Allen also had a timber and stone claim of 40 acres and other land amounting to 140 acres. This land on which Mr. Selbert had no mortgage was mortgaged to secure another loan of $2,500.
S.F. Pace, S.D. Keltner and W. E. Taggart were appointed appraisers of the estate.
Mr. Allen formerly lived in Pendleton where he had a livery stable and did a small produce business. He came to Wallowa county ten years ago where he peddled merchandise and various goods to farmers, and bought hides. Then he took up a homestead north of town and became a farmer. In recent months he had rented his farm land and lived in town most of the time, giving his attention to buying live stock for the Portland market. He was a shrewd buyer and was reputed to be wealthy.
Mystery always has surrounded the early career of Mr. Allen. It is the belief of those who knew him well that he was a Syrian, although other reports have it that he was born in Quebec of French ancestry. He was thought by some to be related to Mr. Selbert, but this was incorrect.
He never had any family with him in this county or in Pendleton, so far as Mr. Selbert can recall. But there is a persistent rumor in circulation that a wife and children live in a town in northern Idaho. An effort is being made to find them. As the matter stands, no person in any way related to Mr. Allen has been discovered.
Enterprise Record Chieftain, Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon, Thursday Sept 12, 1912.