Signe Henrietta Swanson

Signe Henrietta Swanson

Kewanee, Henry County, Illinois, USA
Death 23 Oct 1941 (aged 29)
Austin, Mower County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Adams, Mower County, Minnesota, USA
Plot 32
Memorial ID 17276278 · View Source
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Austin Daily Herald, Friday, October 24, 1941:
2 Teachers Killed at Crossing
Train, Car Crash South of City on County Aid Road

Two teachers of rural schools near Austin, Miss Signe Swanson and Miss Olga Gulbranson, are dead today, victims of a tragic automobile-train collision that occurred south of the city late yesterday afternoon.

They were killed almost instantly about 4:50 p.m. when a Milwaukee freight train struck their car and dragged it about 100 feet. The accident occurred on County Aid Road C14 just south of Austin. It is the first road south of the Oasis running east from the Highway 218 pavement.

Miss Swanson, 30, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Gurvin, of the Adams community. While teaching, she has been living here at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Anderson at 701 S. Main street. During the summer months, Miss Swanson has been employed at the Austin Candy Co.

Miss Gulbranson, 22, has been living with her aunt, Mrs. Ingelborg Olson at 202 N. Third street. Her home is at Bagley, Minn.

Authorities who investigated the accident expressed the opinion that the two young women were probably visiting together and did not see the train approaching. An open crossing, with the track running diagonally, there is visibility for perhaps a half mile along the track. The two teachers had driven over the road many times. The train crew reported the engine whistle was sounded before approaching the crossing.

The automobile was traveling east and the freight train north. The automobile was hit by the left front corner of the engine. Sheriff Ira Syck and Deputy Lon Enochson who investigated the accident and stepped off the distance from the crossing to where the car came to rest, estimated the car was dragged about 100 feet.

Miss Swanson taught at the Enterprise school situated five miles south of Austin on Highway 218. Miss Gulbranson was the teacher at the Hawkins school, located about two miles east and a mile south of the Enterprise school.

The car was owned and driven by Miss Gulbranson. The two teachers and a third teacher, Miss Gladys Hagen, who lives here at 106 S. Chatham street, had an arrangement in which they rode together to and from their schools.

The two teachers, as was their custom, were on their way to pick up Miss Hagen at the Burr Oaks school which is located about a mile east of the crossing where the tragedy occurred. They had driven north on Highway 218, and east on County Aid Road C14.

They evidently did not see the freight train as they neared the crossing. The automobile was wrecked as it was carried along with the train.

The train crew and passersby hurried to the scene. Walter Whiteside, 512 Grant street, one of the first to reach the wrecked car, said he heard Miss Gulbranson moaning when he got there. This was apparently just before she died for he felt her pulse a few seconds later and found no response.

The automobile hd to be moved a little to extricate Miss Gulbranson's body from behind the steering wheel.

Miss Swanson was graduated from the Adams high school in 1928 and from the Mankato Teachers College in 1930. She had taught rural schools in Mower county since 1930. She taught at schools west of Le Roy, south of Adams, at the Ames school south of Austin and at the Enterprise school. Since 1929 she worked at the Austin Candy during the summer months.

Miss Gulbranson graduated from the teacher training department of the Austin high school in 1938 and has been teaching in Mower county since then.

"They were both exceptionally good teachers." commented Superintendent Mabel I. Robinson, "and it will be difficult to replace them." Miss Swanson, who had the most years of teaching experience of the two, was described by Superintendent Robinson as one of the leaders among rural teachers in Mower county.

The bodies of the two accident victims were taken to the Jordan mortuary. Funeral services for Miss Swanson will be held Sunday at her home at Adams at 3:00 o'clock and at the Little Cedar church at 3:30. Funeral arrangements for Miss Gulbranson had neot been completed today.

Miss Swanson is survived by her parents and two brothers, Carl, who is attending the University of Minnesota, and Henning who is in army service.

Authorities said today they did not believe a coroner's inquest will be held. The crew on the freight train included Ralph Jones, engineer, Louis King, conductor, B. Elsner, fireman, George Placek, brakeman, and Arthur Buss, brakeman.

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  • Maintained by: Janet Stephenson
  • Originally Created by: K McAlister P
  • Added: 3 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17276278
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Signe Henrietta Swanson (5 Dec 1911–23 Oct 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17276278, citing Little Cedar Cemetery, Adams, Mower County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Janet Stephenson (contributor 46853083) .