Marshfield, November 1909: A routine chore turns tragic
By Kris Leonhardt
On a Friday in Marshfield in November 1909, the cool evening chill was just hitting the air as dusk fell across the countryside.
Ten-year-old Richard Steinert was accompanying his 12-year-old brother, Curtis, into the outskirts of the city to retrieve the family cow from the Adler family farm.
Locating the cow in the pasture, the boys trudged back toward the young city side by side, towing the cow behind.
As Curtis led the cow from the pasture, he handed the short lead rope to his younger brother as he closed the gate to the Adler field.
Richard took hold of the rope and wrapped it around his arm, knowing that the grasp of his hand was not enough to secure the cow properly if it began to tug.
As the young boy finished safeguarding the rope, the cow became startled by something nearby and sprang into the air, jerking Richard from his feet. Curtis turned to see the frightened cow take off, pulling his brother behind.
Richard, unable to pull his arm from the grasp of the rope, was dragged behind the cow for blocks, eventually reaching the Steinert house.
As Richard’s mother began to comprehend what happened, she yelled out in terror for her young son to let go of the rope. She then raced to stop the cow, only further startling it and turning the cow in the direction of the railroad tracks.
The panicked cow dragged the unconscious boy for a few yards down the tracks before turning and heading to the family barn. Nearing the barn, the cow slowed just enough for Richard’s mother to grab hold of the rope and settle the frightened animal.
As Richard was extricated from the rope, Dr. Henry Wahle was summoned from his home in Marshfield to the Steinert barn on Sixth Street as family members worked frantically to revive the child.
Wahle arrived to find Richard unconscious, his body battered and broken from the horrific event.
After several attempts by the doctor to revive the young boy, the family realized it was of no use. The bright, young fourth-grader had succumbed to his injuries.
Richard Steinert is laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery in Marshfield.