†ebook† History of Watertown, Wisconsin
Rev. A. Christians
MAN KILLED BY TRAIN IDENTIFIED AS PASTOR
Had Been Missing From Home Since Monday Night
†† Watertown Daily Times† 08 27 1924
Believed to have been struck by a Northwestern railroad train the body of Rev. M. A. Christians, Lutheran minister of Watertown, Wisconsin, was found near Racine county line today beside the Northwestern road tracks.
Police at first suspected foul play but when the body was brought to the morgue examination showed that he suffered a fractured skull which he is believed to have suffered when struck by the train.
Identification at first was clouded but when Sheriff Westfahl got in touch with Watertown police he learned that Rev. Christian had disappeared from his home Monday and the identity of the body found tallied almost exactly with that of Rev. Christian.
An autopsy has been ordered so as to learn the cause of death.
The mystery of the disappearance of Rev. M. A. Christians, 716 North Fourth Street, who left his fatherís home at Clyman at 10 oíclock Monday night and never returned, seems to have been solved by the finding of a body along the North Western railroad tracks near the Milwaukee county line about 6 oíclock this morning.
A switching crew of the North Western railroad discovered the body along the right of way and supposing that they were in Racine county notified Sheriff George B. Wherry of that county.† The sheriff considered there was evidence of foul play and as the remains were discovered about 1500 feet across the county line in Milwaukee County he turned the case over to Milwaukee County authorities.† The coroner, from gas bills in his pocket and a check book on the Farmers and Citizens bank, Watertown, decided that he must be a resident of this city and therefore notified the local police.† An officer left for Milwaukee about 11 oíclock to positively identify and arrange for the bringing of the remains here.
Missing Since Monday Night
Rev. Christians had been ill and was spending some little time on the farm of his father-in-law, William Radke, near Clyman, and on the farm of his father Carl A. Christians, town of Clyman.† He was at the latter place when he disappeared. Attired in a pair of overalls and a shirt he went to an outbuilding about 10 p.m. and did not return.† A quiet search was made for him the rest of the night and Tuesday morning.† Tuesday afternoon, becoming greatly worried about his welfare, the aid of a bloodhound was secured and the animal took the searchers from Clyman down to the family residence at 716 North Fourth Street in this city, where it was discovered that he had changed clothing.† Thence the trail led out on highway 10 west of town, where the dog lost it about five miles out.
A letter was received this morning from Rev. Christians dated at Chicago and postmarked there at 10:30 last night.† It was addressed to his wife and sent in care of his father. In it the young pastor told of his love for his wife and children and asked forgiveness for leaving.† It is thought that his illness brought on temporary aberration which caused him to wander away and that he was returning home when he was accidentally killed.
Hold Post Mortem
To discover the cause of death and whether or not there was foul play, the Milwaukee County coroner held an inquest and made a post mortem examination. †The main injuries were wounds on the right side of the face and head, the skull having been crushed.† Two welts on the face looked as though they might have been caused by a whip but may have been caused in striking the ground or as if he was struck by a locomotive.† Whether he fell from a moving train or was walking on the track and hit by a passing train, is not definitely known.
Was Active In Sports
The Rev. Christians was an active enthusiast in local sport circles.† He was an exceptionally good basketball player and took an active part in baseball circles as well as in the activities of the St. Markís Menís club bowling league.† He believed that sports was one of the great needs of present day society and never missed an opportunity to promote it among the young people whom he knew.
He was one of the most popular men and was a friend to everyone.† He was a great favorite among the people of his congregation and numbered his friends by the score.† That he should come to such a timely end never entered the mind of any of his acquaintances and when his death became known there were many expressions of regret and sympathy for members of his family.
Members of the firm of Kohls and Oestreich were notified by the coronerís office at Milwaukee to get the body and left this afternoon for that place to return with the remains. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
Teacher and Pastor
The Rev. Christians was born in the town of Lebanon on December 12, 1891, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl A. Christians who reside in the town of Clyman.† He attended Northwestern College of this city and graduated from that institution in 1913.† The following year he entered the Concordia Lutheran Seminary at St. Louis, Mo.† And was graduated from there in 1916.† He has been a teacher in St. Johnís parochial school here and at the time of his death was assistant pastor of St. Johnís Lutheran church.
He was married to Esther Radke on October 20, 1920.† There are two children, Lydia aged three years and Elizabeth, aged eleven months.