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HALLMAN TRAGEDY

Crawfordsville, Arkansas

Memphis Press-Scimitar Articles

 

 

Memphis Press Scimitar

Memphis, Tennessee

August 14, 1953

 

5 TINY CASKETS TELL TRAGEDY IN FAMILY

 

$600 Already Donated From Mid-South

 

Five identical little white caskets are lined up at Citizens Funeral Home in West Memphis today.

They contain the bodies of the five Hallman children, each dressed in white.  They suffocated in an old unused icebox on the porch of their farm cabin in Crittenden County late Wednesday.

Residents of Memphis and the Mid-South are contributing to the J. A. Hallman family so the parents and surviving two children won’t have as hard a time financially.  More than $600 has been given with 24 hours.

Mr. Hallman, the father, who had been working temporarily at Rockford, Ill., returned home late yesterday for the funeral, set for 10:30 a. m. tomorrow at Citizens Funeral Home.  Rev. Jack Glass will officiate.  Burial in Crittenden Memorial Park, in five little graves in a row.

Mrs. Hallman and the two older children, 11 and 9, had spent the day chopping cotton.  When they returned, the five lively little ones were missing – Edward, 8; Wesley, 7; twins Odie and Tommy, 4, and Barbara Ann, 2.  Later the little bodies were found crowded into the old icebox.  Apparently they had played a game of follow leader, and the lid, which had an outside lock, snapped shut on them.

Practically all the money being contributed will go to the family, as they had burial policies on the children.  Tho they had made only one payment on the new policies, they were in effect and take care of all expenses, including the new clothing, except the burial lot, which is a nominal sum.

George H. Florida of Osceola, Ark. started the fund yesterday morning with $25, and $128 was collected among his associates in Continental Mortgage Co., Falls, Building.  This included $2 from Herbert Delugach, not acknowledged yesterday.

Dr. Otto Sutton, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, 1144 E. McLemore, which is in the midst of a two-week revival, traveled around in Crittenden County last night until he found the Hallmans about midnight at the home of friends near their own home.  He gave them $125.11 received in a special collection at revival services last night.

J. A. Johnson of Citizens Funeral Home said about $300 had been left at the funeral home by various persons or received in the mail, for the Hallmans, largely from Crittenden County citizens.

The Press-Scimitar today received $25 from employees of Hull-Dobbs Co., $10 from Lee and Mose Karnowsky, $10 from Dr. Gilbert J. Levy, $5 from June H. Rudisill and $2 anonymous.

 


 

Memphis Press Scimitar

Memphis, Tennessee

August 15, 1953

 

HELP FOR BEREAVED – AND A PROMISE: NEVER AGAIN!

Campaign Against Icebox Death Traps, as 5 Victims Are Buried

 

By Clark Porteous, Press-Scimitar Staff Writer

 

Residents of Memphis and the Mid-South today continued to open their hearts and pocketbooks to the J. A. Hallman family.  Meanwhile, officials took steps in Memphis to see that death finds no more children to unused ice boxes.

            More than $1000 has been given to the Hallman family, and contributions continue to come to The Press-Scimitar and to Citizens Funeral Home in West Memphis.

            Services for the five Hallman children, ranging from 2 to 8, who suffocated in an old ice box on the porch of their farm home in Crittenden County Wednesday, were held at Citizens Funeral at 10:30 a.m. today, with burial in Crittenden Memorial Park.

            Between 4000 and 5000 persons, many from far away, went thru the funeral home to see the little bodies in coffins.  Some contributed to the family.

            With 11 children, including the five Hallmans, having died in old ice boxes throughout the nation in two days, appliance and city officials are acting to keep such a tragedy from happening in Memphis.

            No one recalls a Memphis child ever having died in an ice box, tho there was a narrow escape a year or so ago.  During the last four years, there have been 10 in Arkansas who died in ice boxes, including the Hallmans.

            George Bates, president of the Memphis Retail Appliance Association, said the appliance dealers already have been trying to get rid of unused ice boxes, and will double their efforts.

            “Those things usually happen to children in areas where they don’t have other things to do,” Mr. Bates said.  “We have never lost a child in Memphis in an ice box, but of course, it could happen and we don’t want it to happen.”

“We appliance dealers always give something on an old ice box when a customer purchases a new one, even tho the old box in worthless.  We usually give $5 or $10.”

“We are willing to go get any ice box a citizen may have at this home, whether or not he is buying a new one.  We junk the old ice boxes, as a rule.  We usually get about 50 cents apiece for them from junk dealers, who don’t particularly like to handle them, because there isn’t too much metal and they have to be broken up.”

            “We send loads of 15 on a truck to junk dealers.  Some few we sell to plantations and farms, which still use ice.  But these have to be clean and in good condition.

            “Anyone who has an old ice box and doesn’t want to dispose of it, thinking they might need it for a fish camp or something like that some day, should remove the outside handles so that no child can be trapped inside.”

            Memphis appliance dealers report they are willing to pick up old ice boxes to have them junked.

            Dealers brought out that old, unused electric or gas or oil refrigerators also could be a hazard, and should be disposed of if not in use. Shelving makes them less attractive as a play area for children.

            Memphis appliance dealers will call for old iceboxes of citizens who notify them.  They will be hauled to a selected spot on a city dump, and finally destroyed.  A watchman will keep children away from them until they are destroyed.

            Commissioner Williams said the city will co-operate, and “we are ready to assist in any way we can to end this peril.”


 

HALLMANS TO MOVE FROM HOUSE OF TRAGEDY

Money Gifts Will Help New Start

 

            Mrs. Hallman, mother of the five children who died, said nothing has been done about the old box on the Hallman porch, as they have been away, “but we are going to get rid of it right away.”

            I’m real proud the children are laid out so pretty,” she said. The family gave consent for visitors to see the little bodies in open coffins.  The coffins were closed just before the services.  Mrs. Hallman expressed gratitude to the citizens who are giving money to help them get a new start.

            We plan to move to another house in about two weeks,” she said.

            All of the money given to the Hallmans will be used by them to get a new start with their surviving children.  Burial policies took care of $150 funerals for each of the five children.

            Kar-Hill, Inc., 282 N. Cleveland, wholesale beauty supplies, took care of the burial lot and the opening and closing fees, a total of $150, and gave $7, which was left over, to the family.  Mrs. Richard Stevens, manager, said the money was given by the company and employees.  When Mrs. Stevens learned the funeral expenses were taken care of, she decided to use $150 of the money to take care of the cemetery expenses.

            A total of $605 was acknowledged yesterday, of which $300 was given at Citizens Funeral Home.  Today $115 more had been received there, much of it in $1 contributions.

            The Press-Scimitar this morning had received $141 more.  This, plus the money received at Citizens and the $157 from Kar-Hill, totals $1018, all of which went to the family except the $150 cemetery expenses.

            Contributions for the Hallmans received by the Press-Scimitar today included:

            Dewey W. Lamkin, 1508 Madison, $5; F. S. Miller, 1299 Carr, $25; Mrs. Henry Odeen, $10; W. K. Barrett, Shrine Building, $5; Lee Hunt, 81 Madison Building, $1; Mrs. Ben Melvin, 4926 Shady Grove Road, $25.

            Mrs. Mary J. Abele, $10; Kelley & Jamison, $10; J. E. Rainey, 2161 Court, $5; James P. Gavin, 99 Clark Place, $5; Anonymous, $2; Anonymous, $5; Garner Bros. funeral directors, Grenada, Miss., $1; Dr. Hugh Wyatt, $5; Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Trower, 3643 Douglas, $25; Bessie Strong, 323 S. Pauline, $5; John J. Welsh, 694 Anderson Place, $3; Marie Schaut, 716 Avalon, $2; and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Marsh, $5.

 


 

MAKERS STUDY PROBLEM

 

            Deaths of the five children in Crittenden County, Ark., four in Richmond, Va., and two in Haverhill, Mass., this week has focused attention of the nation on the danger of unused iceboxes.

            In Washington, President C. W. Phillips of Refrigeration Trade Association, warned that abandoned refrigerators will take a heavy toll of child lives in the next several years unless certain simples prevention measures are adopted.

            In Charleston, W. Va., State Labor Commissioner Charles Sattlers ordered his inspectors today to remove or break the locks on abandoned or stored iceboxes and refrigerators.

            In Dayton, Ohio, the Refrigeration Engineers’ Society offered to remove doors from any unused box without charge.

            Spokesman for Crosley and Bendix (manufacturers) said owners have an “obligation” to break locks (on any old refrigerator) not in use.  “Any other course is sheer negligence,” one spokesman said.

            Phillips has called a meeting of industry representatives in Washington for Tuesday night at which safety latches will be discussed.  At the same time, a public education program will be launched to prevent icebox tragedies.  In the last five years, according to the newspaper records alone, more than 100 children have suffocated in locked iceboxes, Phillips said.

            “Engineers have exhaustively studied the latch problem,” Phillips said, “and have concluded the most feasible solution, one which would not add greatly to the cost, or interfere with the functioning, would be a device that must be set or turned by hand before the door can lock.”

            “For engineering and physiological reasons, a door that could be opened from the inside by pressure or by built-in safety device would not be feasible.”

 


 

Memphis Press Scimitar

August 14, 1953

 

A THIRD TRAGEDY – TWO BOYS DEAD

 

Butchy Ferguson, Michael Rogers (United Press Telephotos)

 

Bodies Found in Abandoned Icebox in Massachusetts

 

The United Press

            HAVERHILL, Mass. – Two small boys were found suffocated inside an abandoned ice box here late last night, the third tragedy if its kind in 36 hours.

In a day and half unused ice boxes have lured 11 curious children to their death.

            The latest victims, whose bodies were found just before midnight, were Edward P. (Butchy) Ferguson, 3, and Michael T. Rogers, 4.  A posse of 200 police, firemen and volunteers had searched for four hours before one searcher, Lucien Duvall, 33, happed to look in the ice box in a Haverhill dump.

            Earlier yesterday an abandoned refrigerator at Richmond, Va., yielded the bodies of four barefoot boys.  On Wednesday night, the bodies of five youngsters were found in an ice box at Crawfordsville, Ark.

            In Washington, the Refrigeration Trade Association of America called an industry-wide conference for next Tuesday to consider ways of preventing old ice boxes from becoming death traps.

            Safety officials urged families to remove hinges and latches from any ice box or other air-tight container left where children might play.

 


 

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