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William Atherton Place
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Birth: Mar. 4, 1853
Lee County
Iowa, USA
Death: Aug. 6, 1904
Chihuahua, Mexico

William Atherton Place was born in 1853 in Keokuk, Iowa. He was the son of a lawyer, Joseph Thomas Place, who was also a Union soldier in the War of the Rebellion. His mother died when he was very young and his father remarried. As soon as he was able, he left home. Each move he made, he seemed to be heading toward the west; Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and finally Arizona. Arizona was his last move until he went to Mexico. While in Arizona, my grandfather practiced law and farmed in the Gila Valley.

Bill Garland, a good friend of my grandfather's, had built railroads in Mexico and he encouraged my grandfather to contract to build a section of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient railroad. He finished one section, then contracted another section near Minaca, in the State of Chihuahua. My father, Joseph T. Place and his two step brothers, George and Billy Orr, were also working on the railroad. My father was about 17 years old.

One day the old Mexican powder man had a misfire in one of the charges. He went to camp to tell my grandfather who was sick in bed with flu and pneumonia. He told the old man that he'd get up and go see about it. He found the misfired hole and as he was digging out the hole, the tamping stick hit the blasting cap and detonated it. The stick hit him behind the ear, taking off the mastoid bone. Although the blast blew him 60 feet over an embankment, he was still alive when the men hurriedly carried him to camp.

My father rode 115 kilometers to get a doctor. My grandfather lived three days, but was blind from the blast. The doctor stayed until he passed away. There was nothing he could do but try to keep him as comfortable as possible until the end.

My grandfather was a very devout, religious man who had preached many funeral services in his lifetime but he always said that when his time came, there would be no one there to preach his service. Those were prophetic words as there was no one but the family and the workmen when he died. The grave was dug just outside of camp, within seeing distance from the railroad. Minaca Mountain stood in the background. An old American outlaw knew one verse of "Nearer My God To Thee" and he sang it without aid of music. The Mexican workers stood hat in hand, bowed their heads and made the Sign of the Cross. It was a sad, sad day for my father who loved his father dearly.

Minaca, the lion, has stood many years guarding this hallowed place. Rest in Peace, Grandpa.

"This is a cenotaph. The actual burial is in Minaca, Chihuahua, Mexico". 
Family links: 
  Joseph Thomas Place (1824 - 1874)
  Eliza A Davis Place (1824 - ____)
  Adeline Parmelia Riggins Place (1854 - 1949)
  Joseph Thomas Place (1887 - 1970)*
  William Atherton Place (1853 - 1904)
  Horace Julian Place (1856 - 1937)**
  Homer Virgil Place (1858 - 1925)**
  Joseph Milton Place (1861 - ____)**
*Calculated relationship
Sheldon Cemetery
Greenlee County
Arizona, USA
Created by: Nancy E Brown
Record added: Dec 16, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23428270
William Atherton Place
Added by: Nancy E Brown
William Atherton Place
Added by: Nancy E Brown
William Atherton Place
Added by: Nancy E Brown
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- Steve Whipple
 Added: Nov. 7, 2014

- Sharla
 Added: May. 2, 2010
Mr. Place, I hopoe you rest in peace below the mountain far from home.
- Tom Todd
 Added: Dec. 19, 2007
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