Today is the 101st anniversary of the death of Ypsilanti teen Daniel Ogden.
17-year-old Daniel spent Thursday, April 7, 1910 attending classes at Cleary Business College (at left) on Michigan Avenue. Spring was coming; the day had been around 45 degrees and fair. Daniel finished work for the day; it was time to go home.
His parents, 44-year-old Harry and 46-year-old Theda or Lillian Ogden maintained a small farm just east of Ypsilanti near the Wiard family farms, now the site of the Willow Run plant. Daniel had four younger siblings. Vera was 16, Elmer, 15; Loyd, 14; and Dewey, 12. The three youngest boys were attending grade school.
Daniel apparently didn't feel like walking the few miles home. On the eastern edge of downtown, he heard a train beginning to pull out of Depot Town to his left. He had an idea. He waited until the train approached as it slowly gathered speed, timed it, and grabbed on.
It was exhilarating to be riding. The train shook as it racketed over the rails. Trees and buildings slid past. He'd be home early. The Wiard station was coming up; it was time to jump off.
Daniel never saw, on the adjacent track, the other train.
Daniel's death certificate notes that he was "Accidentally killed by the Michigan Central Rail Road." He was buried in Highland Cemetery* four days later. The death certificate and the April 8, 1910 Ypsilanti Daily Press story about his death are reproduced below (click either twice for full image).
R.I.P. Daniel Major Ogden.
*EDIT: Kind reader Crystal K asks if he was instead buried in one "Highland" in Oakland County. It turns out his mom and dad are buried in a place called "Highland" in Oakland County. His death certificate seems to read "Highland Station." I don't know where that is, but it may be I was wrong to say he is buried in Highland Cemetery in Ypsi. Checking and will correct if needed--thanks to Crystal for pointing out a possible big mistake! Yikes!