This Week in History: Youth lost nose in sledding accident

120 years ago in 1903

Taken directly from the pages of The Youngstown Vindicator:

“Deplorable accident overtakes a bright little boy while coasting. His nose torn off. Ran into a wire while riding at high speed — remarkable display of fortitude.

“While coasting on West Avenue hill Wednesday evening, Roy Campbell, about 10 years old, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W.L.S. Campbell of 863 Mount Pleasant St., met with a frightful accident and sustained injury that will disfigure him for life.

“With a number of playmates, Roy had been coasting on the hill for an hour or so. Along about 5 o’clock, he started from the top of the hill and was coasting toward the bottom at a high rate of speed and several yards to one side of the beaten path. He was riding in the matter boys usually ride when indulging in this pastime — flat on his stomach.

“When at a point about half way down the hill he came in contact with a wire that had been stretched from one post to another and which had probably been used as a clothes line. It had sagged in the center and was hanging less than a foot from the ground. Unfortunately, the little fellow struck the wire at its lowest point and it caught him just above the bridge and cut his nose off clean as it could have been done with a knife.

“Some of his companions ascending the hill at the time saw Campbell’s mishap and ran to his assistance. His face presented a frightful spectacle and one of their number ran to E.P. Freed’s grocery on Mahoning Avenue for assistance.

“Mr. Freed went to the scene, gathered the unfortunate little fellow in his arms, carried him to his grocer delivery wagon and placing him in it, drove to the office of Drs. Blaine and McGranaghan as fast as his horse could travel.

“During all this time, the little fellow gave a most remarkable exhibition of nerve. Although suffering intensely, he never once gave an outward sign. Freed carried the little fellow into the doctor’s office and after a hasty examination, Dr. Blaine requested his office attendant to call the boy’s parents by telephone and notify them of the accident and request them to send someone after him.

“‘Don’t tell my mamma over the telephone,’ the little fellow interrupted, ‘She will be frightened. Tell Papa and let him tell Mamma. Is my nose broken, doctor?’ he asked, turning his big brown eyes on the doctor with a look of anxious inquiry.

“‘No, no, it’s not broken. You will be all right in a few days,’ Doctor Blaine assured him.

“‘Well, I must go,’ Grocer Freed spoke up and turning to Roy said, ‘Don’t forget to come over and see me as soon as you are able to be out again.’

“‘Oh, I won’t,’ he answered. ‘I’ll be over Saturday.’

“Then he was placed in a large chair and the work of dressing the wound was begun. Not once did the brave little fellow flinch during the necessarily painful operation. The fortitude with which he bore up was, to say the least, most remarkable.

“A portion of the little fellow’s nose had been torn off and lost and Dr. Blaine stated that despite anything that could be done, Campbell’s face would be badly disfigured.”

• Compiled from the Youngstown Vindicator by Traci Manning, Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education.


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