The Star and Kansan, December 21, 1894:


A Fatal Accident


            The following from the Coffeyville Journal details the accident of Col. Daniel Grass at that city last Tuesday evening which resulted in his death:

             Col. Daniel Grass, the well known lawyer and politician of this city, had a narrow escape from a horrible death Tuesday evening.  He was standing on the M. K. & T track, at the 8th street crossing, when he was struck by the Katy engine which came upon him unperceived from the north.  The unfortunate man was knocked into the ditch alongside the track, and lay there unconscious until assistance arrived, when he was removed to the home of Harvey Speers, in the north part of the city.  Drs. Hall and Wood were summoned and upon examination found that the bone of the left arm for a distance of four inches from the point of the shoulder, was badly crushed.  Three ribs directly over the heart were also broken.  This is the extent of his injuries, with the exception of several bruises and scratches of minor importance.  The statement of the attending physicians is to the effect that while the accident may yet result seriously, the injured man is suffering no great amount of pain and appears to be resting easily.  Col. Grass stated, after he had recovered from the shock somewhat, that he was intently watching the Santa Fe train which was being switched into position for the last run to Cherryvale, and that the M. K. & T. train appeared to be standing still, and the first intimation he had of its being in motion  was when the engine struck him with crushing force and knocked him into the ditch.  The many friends and acquaintances of the injured man in this city and county, will deeply sympathize with him in his hour of affliction, and will earnestly hope that he may soon recover from the effects of the accident.

            Col. Grass was one of the old settlers of this county and for a long time one of its most prominent citizens, having represented this county in the legislature in the 70’s. He had however, passed the allotted age of man being 74 years old, and was unable to rally from the shock.  He died at 2:15 this morning; and his remains will be brought up here for burial by tomorrow’s Missouri Pacific train at 10:30.  The funeral will be in charge of McPherson Post, G. A. R. of which the deceased was an honored member.

From History of Montgomery County, Kansas, By Its Own People, published by L. Wallace Duncan, Iola, Kansas, 1903, pgs. 212-213:



COLONEL DANIEL GRASS – was admitted to the bar of Montgomery county and practiced law in the county until his death at Coffeyville, Kansas, on the 24th day of December, 1894.

            He was born in Lawrence county, Illinois, on September 21st, 1825, and thereafter lived in his native county, attending and teaching school and farming until 1860, when he was admitted to the bar at Lawrenceville, Illinois, and entered the practice at that place, which he pursued until the breaking out of the civil war, when he entered the Union army as a captain in the 8th Illinois infantry, which was recruited for the three months’ service.  At the end of his term of enlistment he resumed the practice which he continued until early in 1862, when he re-entered the military service as a first lieutenant in the 61st Illinois infantry.

            At the end of the term of his enlistment, by an eloquent speech, he induced nearly every other member of his regiment to remain in the war, that continued for a long time thereafter.  He stayed in the army until the close of the war, and rose to the rank of colonel of his regiment.

            Colonel Grass was a remarkable man.  By nature he was endowed with many fine qualities “of heart and mind” and possessed an “iron constitution”.  He was generous and good to everyone, but himself.  In his own affairs he was careless and improvident, to others in trouble his generous hand was ever ready to extend relief.  He was all his life a great reader of the choicest works of literature, and had a well stored mind, which, with his natural gifts, enabled him to talk on many subjects most intelligently and entertainingly.  His disposition was genial and happy, his manners polite, courteous and attractive –even in his most careless attire and to the humblest.  He was a keen judge of human nature and an accurate critic of literature, and ever entertained a profound contempt for a deceitful or an unworthy man and never hesitated to dissect and expose the weaknesses of a literary production that may have been having a season of undeserved popularity.  He loved his country as he did his friends—patriotism and friendship were a part of him.

            While Col. Grass was a well read lawyer, he was never technical in the application of its principles and was sometimes careless in those minor details that so often influence the results of a trial.  His strong forte was his oratory, in which he excelled before a jury, and as a lecturer and political speaker.  His appeals to the jury were earnest, sincere and eloquent and his lectures and political speeches entertaining, instructive and effective.  The colonel always evinced a keen interest in politics and was always one of the “wheel horses” in each campaign.  For years he annually stumped the county for the Republican ticket and in expounding the principle of the party and enthusing its members, never sought for himself any public office, although any in the gift of his political friends was ever within his reach.  The only public office he ever filled in the state, was that of State Senator from Montgomery county from 1876 to 1880.

Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.