John Livesey (1844 - 1887)

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Birthplace: St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
Death: Died in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Managed by: Vivian Smith
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Livesey

John Livesey was born in St. Louis and travelled west to Utah with his mother and siblings. His father died in St, Louis. He died in an accident while rocking up the wall of a well at his neighbor's home.

Deseret News Wednesday March 23, 1887 Salt Lake City

S.L.C. Gen. Library - F Utah S 18e pt 18 6501

About half past five p.m. yesterday coroner Tayler was notified by officer Malin that his services were required in the Tenth Ward, where a man named Livesey had been instantly killed while engaged in walling up a well on the premises of William Stone.

On arriving a quarter of an hour later at the residence of the deceased on Third South Street between 7th and 8th East he found a crowd of people collected about the premises anxious to learn the name of the deceased and all the circumstances pertaining to his sudden death.

On an improvised stretcher in the front room of the cottage facing north lay the mortal remains of what, only about three hours before, was the well known and generally respected John Livesey. As his body lay quietly extended on the bed of death a pleasant expression rested upon his comely countenance, and were it not for two or three red and angry wounds upon the left side of his face, the visitation of death might easily have been mistaken for that of a peaceful sleep.

Officer Andrew Smith, Jr. had summoned for jurors in the case, J. H. Freeman, John A. Hillstead and J. B. Taylor. After the jurors had been duly impaneled and the witnesses sworn the investigation began as to the cause of death. The first witness placed upon the stand was James W. Ashman, who stated that the deceased came to his death about 3 p.m. on the premises of William Strong, situated on 4th South Street, between 8th and 9th East. Witness stated that he had been engaged by Mr. Strong to assist in the work of walling up the well upon his premises. The well was about 50 feet in depth, and the rock had been laid to within 43 feet of the surface. Deceased, who had taken the contract for the work and had charge of it, was engaged in laying the rock, and it was witness duty to assist in lowering it as required. He worked the windless, with the assistance of Heber Strong, who held the strap over the cylinder in such a manner as to prevent a too sudden descent of the loaded box by means of which the rock was lowered to the workman below.

The deceased was in the well sitting on a two inch plank placed crosswise and resting at either end upon the rock wall of the well, with his feet braced for greater security, against the wall. While deceased was working in this position witness was engaged in lowering the box, which contained four pieces of rock. When the box had descended about 10 feet, as near as he could judge, a piece of ½ inch rope, which supported the box, broke short off, liberating the rock, which fell with great force directly upon the deceased, killing him by the force of the blow, and hurling his lifeless body some 20 feet to the bottom of the well.

Heber P. Strong was the next witness called, who corroborated the statement of Mr. Ashman and added that on the rope breaking he looked down the well but could discover nothing distinct except the splashing of the water which was occasioned by the fall. He stated that it was about half an hour from the rope broke until the body was recovered, and that Mr. Carter was the man who went down after it. He also testified that the deceased was a well-digger by profession and that he (witness) had called attention to the rotten and dilapidated condition of the box, and two of the bottom boards being broken, witness had put in another short piece of board for fear of an accident. The box was of plain pine and about 2 feet square ad the two pieces of rope reaching around the underneath of which the well rope was attached above. The pieces were covered with leather in order to protect them from being chafed by contact with the rock. The box has not been used for about six months before and the part of the rope which was covered being damp had become so rotten that it could be pulled to pieces with the fingers, although the rest of the rope was seemingly as sound as ever.

William C. Carter was the next witness. He stated in substance, that he was passing the premises of William Strong when he was called upon for help to get the body out of the well. That he volunteered to go down and attach a rope so that the body might be raised. On descending he found it head downward in about 7 feet of water. That after some exertion he succeeded in bringing the body up of the surface by means of the windless. From what he could learn of the accident and from appearance of a deep cut on the back of the head, witness thought the deceased must have been killed instantly by the fall of the rock, and that he was dead before he reached the water. He knew the deceased well. His name was John Livesey. He stood about 5 feet 9 inches, was born in St. Louis, 47 years old on the 21 of January last. He leaves a wife and 5 children and many friends to mourn his loss. He was a steady, honest, hard-working man and greatly respected by his neighbors.

After a brief consultation the jury returned a verdict in accordance with the facts as developed by the inquest.

The funeral of the unfortunate man will be held in the 10th Ward Meeting House on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Last night as a result of the excitement superinduced by the death of her husband, Mrs. Livesey was prematurely delivered of a child.

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John Livesey's Timeline

1844
January 21, 1844
St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
1853
1853
Age 8
1868
December 28, 1868
Age 24
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1869
November 7, 1869
Age 25
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1872
February 4, 1872
Age 28
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1875
March 14, 1875
Age 31
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1877
October 6, 1877
Age 33
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1880
May 31, 1880
Age 36
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
1882
September 5, 1882
Age 38
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah