William J. Janoe

(Date Unknown - December 21, 1931)


Lusk Free Lance
December 24, 1931


Wm. J. Janoe Killed as Fire And Explosion Razed Home


Aged Farmer of Near Lance Creek is Believed to Have Fainted After Starting Fire in Cook Stove; Body is Blown to Atoms When Flames Reach Box Containing Dynamite and Caps; Coroner's Jury Finds Cause Accidental.



A sad and terrible end came to the life of William J. Janoe, farmer of near Lance Creek Monday evening, when the homestead shack in which he had lived for the past thirteen years was blown to bits, following a fire that destroyed the building, and which is believed to have started from an overheated stove. The body of the deceased was torn into fragments and scattered over the place, when a quantity of dynamite which had been kept in the shack for years, exploded.

The fire was first noticed by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Maguire, neighbors, who live about half a mile northeast of the Janoe place, shortly after six o'clock. Mr. Maguire hastened to the scene of the blaze, but when he arrived there the entire building was a seething mass, and it was impossible to gain entrance, because the roof and rafters had started to fall in. He then started towards the barn where flying sparks had ignited a manure pile. This was less than a hundred feet from the flaming building, and as he brushed snow on the newly started blaze in an effort to save the outbuildings, a terrific explosion in the shack shook the vicinity.

Although he could not have entered the building to save the aged man, Mr. Maguire did not believe him to have been inside until after the explosion, he walked toward the ruins, and stumbled over a portion of Janoe's body. As soon as he saw what had occurred, he hastened to the home of Frank Provost for assistance, and Fred Jasper, who lives about four miles from the Janoe place, was also summoned. Maguire in the meantime went to the Wesley Neal ranch and phoned news of the tragedy to local officials.

Sheriff Will Hassed and County Coroner George Earl Peet started for the scene immediately, arriving there about 9:30 o'clock. For hours they searched the place for bits of the body, and finally gave up to await daylight. Tuesday morning they again visited the ruins, picking up fragments of the remains as far as four hundred feet from the site where the shack once stood.

An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, the jury consisting of Ralph Maguire, Ray Marcks and Ralph Jackson, and their verdict was that Janoe had come to his death thru accidental cause.

It is presumed by some of the neighbors that Janoe had fallen into a faint after building a fire in his small cook stove. He had been subject to fainting spells, and less that two months ago was found at the side of the highway near his place in an unconscious condition, due to weak heart. The fire, of wood, probably reached a stage of intense heat in the meantime, and possibly started the conflagration by scorching the walls or from flying sparks.

The deceased had divided his time between his place and those of Wesley Neal and Fred Jasper for the past couple of years, and was an industrious worker despite his 78 years. He had returned home last Friday, it is said, after visiting for some time at the home of one of his neighbors.

Mr. Janoe came here from Bay City, Mich., in 1918 and it was at that place where a step-daughter, Nellie Thompson, was notified of the tragedy. Her reply to the message was that they were unable to come here and advised that the county bury the man.

Funeral arrangements have not as yet been completed as we go to press and the remains may be held until after Christmas, before being laid to rest in the pauper section of the Lusk cemetery.


Lusk Free Lance
December 31, 1931

Friendship of Years Prevents Blast Victim Being Buried in Potter's Field


Because of reasons which may have involved an actual lack of funds or some other unexplained cause, the telegram received here last week from relatives of William J. Janoe, whose body was blown to bits in an explosion at his ranch home north of here on December 21st, gave out indication that the remains of the aged man, who had lived and made friends here for the past thirteen years, would find rest in a potter's field.

But a friendship proved stronger than other unfortunate circumstances or whatever relationship exists between the deceased and those whom were notified, and George Earl Peet, who had known the unfortunate victim for a number of years, refused to see this lovable, fine old gentleman's remains received anything but a decent burial. He secured a lot of his own accord and at his expense, and, with fitting services, the pieces of the body which were carefully gathered following the fatal blast, were placed at rest in the Lusk cemetery, along with other graves marked by friendship or relationship. The services were held on Thursday afternoon, December 24th.

A complete service was held at the Peet funeral home at 2:30 o'clock, with Rev. Edwin F. Irwin, pastor of the Congregational church, officiating. A trio from the First Baptist church, consisting of Mrs. C. E. Marvin, Mrs. Ab DeCastro and Miss Bessie Lumsden, sang several songs at this service. The remains were borne to the burial place by six neighbor friends of the deceased, where another brief service was held.

Arrangements were in charge of George Earl Peet of the Peet mortuary.




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