Cleveland, OH Church Construction Accident, July 1868

Daily Union & Advertiser
Rochester, New York, July 9, 1868
[Vol. 43 No. 160?]


Frightful Accident - Two Men Preci-
pitated from a Church Steeple
and Killed


A Cleveland paper says: Thursday morning,
near noon, a frightful accident occurred at the
new Catholic church, St. Malachi's. The walls
of the structure are complete, and about 70 feet
of the steeple has been constructed. The car-
penters were yesterday preparing to raise the
beams that are to support the roof in position,
and for that purpose had erected a small derrick
at the top of the steeple. This derrick was
supported by strong guy ropes, and was to all
appearances secure in every respect. The der-
rick at the summit of the steeple was crafted
for the purpose of hoisting the heavy timbers
of a large derrick in position in the center of the
church. These timbers were from 70 to 80 feet
in length, and the lower end of one of them
rested on a pile of timber. A strong line had
been lowered from the small derrick and the
work of raising the heavy stick com-
menced. The upper end had got nearly to the
top of the steeple while the lower portion was
being guided by a party of workmen down an
incline plane to the ground, by the aid of bars.
By some means the great stick slipped from the
plank forming the plane and dropped about four
feet to the ground. The jar and spring at the
upper end caused one of the guy ropes of the
derrick on the steeple to give way, and almost
at the same instant the feet of the derrick spread
apart, forcing out a portion of the walls of the
steeple, and fell to the ground, bringing with it
two men named Enos Lafler and Dirk Henzink.

Henzink fell headforemost and died almost in-
stantly. His skull was completely broken up,
and he scarcely moved aftre striking the ground.
Lafler died during the afternoon, after being con-
veyed to his home near the engine house on
Huntington street. His leg, arm and ribs were
broked, in addition to sustaining severe internal