Etc. -- George Homer Waffle's 1919 death and inquest (2 articles)
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A lightly edited transcription of a page 1 article in the 13 Nov 1919 Simcoe Reformer newspaper.

Homer Waffle meets 
Instant Death

Shortly before 5 o'clock on Monday afternoon Homer Waffle, superintendent of the Simcoe Wool Stock Co., was instantly killed, his body passing between two large bevel cog-wheels in the power-house at the mill, being literally cut in two.

There were with him at the time two workmen, Andrew Jeffrey and William Murphy, but who, according to reports, did not actually see the fatality.

Dr. McGilvery was promptly notified of the affair, and ordered the body removed. They were taken to D. A. Austin's undertaking parlors.

A jury was empanneled, consisting of R. Graig (foreman), Geo. O. Werrett, Frank Stevenson, H. R. Crabb, R. Cropp, F. Burgess and L. Barber, and met at 10 o'clock Tuesday morning.

After viewing the remains the jury motored to the scene of the tragedy where the proprietor, Mr. Harry J. Brook, and the two workman gave what details possible of what occurred the previous evening.

Adjournment was made till Tuesday evening, 18 Nov 1919 at 8 o'clock in the Town Hall, to decide the cause of the fatality.

Mr. Waffle had been in charge of the plant about 15 years, and was in his 56th year. 

He leaves a widow, who was his second wife, and a family of five children, three daughters and two sons: 
Mrs. Chas. McDonald of Brantford, Mrs. H. A. Johnson of Simcoe, Miss Isabel at home, Homer of Windsor, and Van, attending high school.

He is also survived by an aged mother, living in Windsor, two brothers and three sisters: S. E. Waffle of Portland Ontario, J. A. Waffle of Windsor, Mrs. Frank Wells of Dresden, Mrs. Watson of Windsor, and Mrs. Helen Finley of Windsor.

All were present for the funeral except the aged mother.

Deceased was a member of the A.F. and A.M., and I.O.O.F., being one of the last candidates joining the camp branch of the latter.

The funeral (private) will be held this afternoon from the late residence, Norfolk Street south, to Oakwood cemetery.

Much sympathy is expressed for the bereaved family.

A lightly edited transcription of a page 1 article in the 20 Nov 1919 Simcoe Reformer newspaper.


The inquest of the death of Mr. Homer Waffle was held Tuesday evening in the town hall. Dr. Gilvery presided; Arthur G. Slaght represented the Crown; Hugh P. Innes, K.C., the family of the deceased.

Five witnesses were sworn and testified as follows:

Dr. Bowlby -- Said he was called to the mill some time after four o'clock; found the body in cog wheel of machinery; Waffle was dead when he got there; the head was in fairly good condition, but the body was terribly mangled. Death must have been instantaneous.

Mr. Harry Brook, proprietor of the mill -- Said Waffle was superintendent and had been in his employ for 15 or 16 years; he had been talking with Waffle on the day of the latter's death, probably 10 or 15 minutes before the accident; nothing was said that would give indication of death; Waffle was very familiar with the place -- it was his duty as superintendent with the plant under his charge.

Mr. Brook was asked if he noticed anything unusual about Waffle on this particular occasion, and replied that Waffle appeared rather nervous. He did not pay much attention to it as Waffle was of a nervous temperment and a very excitable man. The place had been inspected by a factory inspector recently, who instructed that guards be put up in the wheel-house. This had been carried out under Waffle's supervision.

He was in the office at the time of accident; heard a terrible scream and somebody said "Waffle's killed!" Had found out that the shaft was not working properly and than Waffle was a a spot where be ought not to have been with the machinery running. He had no business to be in the position he was in, and was taking desperate chances.

Mr. William Murphy -- In employ about [14] years; first saw Waffle between 7 and 8 o'clock on day of accident; had been asked by Waffle to got with him to locate trouble in machinery; Waffle sent Jeffrey on roof; had been previous trouble with machinery earlier in the afternoon, probably an hour before; was only man with Waffle at time of death; Waffle asked him to hold lantern; witness got on cement platform with hand on pipe that goes across; lantern passed through three times, backwards and forwards, irregularly; witness was not looking directly at Waffle, who was within three feet, a little forward, on his knees on the floor, within a foot back of machinery, left hand on upright shaft; heard Waffle scream; gear caught him on the side.

Mr. Murphy stated that Waffle toldd him he wanted to fix the gear because he might not be there the next day. He was asked if Waffle had said anything in reference to rumors of any kind and replied "No."

Mr. Andrew Jeffrey -- In employ about 20 years; had talked with Waffle; nothing said about incident; had conversations with Waffle on Saturday previous; Waffle said he had received anonymous letters through the post; turned conversation around.

On Monday wanted opinion on shaft about 10 minutes to four; sent witness on roof. Had left roof and arrived at the door when accident happened. Machinery running at full speed.

Mr. Brook (recalled): In reference to statement made by Mr. Murphy that Waffle said "he might not be there the next day," Mr. Brook stated that Waffle had told him Monday afternoon that he was going away. For reasons of his own he did not ask Waffle where he was going or how long he would be away.

Waffle wrote instructions in the office on "how todo carbonizing," and said there were a few other little things he wanted to fix up before he went away.

He found out after the accident that Waffle had drawn $900 from the bank on that day and also found three life insurance policies around the office. He did not ask permission to go away and Mr. Brook asked no questions. It was the only occasion of a talk of that character. As to the disposition of the $900, Mr. Brook said it was found in Waffle's overcoat at the house and placed in the bank in Mr. Brook's name in trust.

Mr. James Bint -- Did you know anything about the accident; was given a parcel on the day in question by Waffle to take to Mr. Harry Johnson, and was to deliver it to no one but Mr. Johnson. Did not know the contents.

Mr. Brook (recalled) -- Did Waffle have a desk of his own at the mill? Yes.

The Verdict

We the jury empanelled to inquire into the death of Homer Waffle, find that he came to his death by accidentally being caught in the gears at the mill of the Simcoe Wool Stock Co., in the Township of Woodhouse, about 4:30 p.m. on Monday, 10 Nov 1919.

We further find that deceased was guilty of carelessness in examining said gears while in motion and we find no blame can be attached to any person or persons but himself.

          R. Craig (foreman)
          Geo. O. Werrett
          R. Cropp
          Fred Mattice
          H. R. Crabb
          Wm. Burgess
          Lewis Barber.

Copyright 2017 John Cardiff