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Algonquin Historic
Commission

Unknown Newspaper, April 22, 1914

 

JAMES H. PHILP LOSES BALANCE,

FALLS TO DEATH

Scores of Pedestrians See Fatality in Fountain Square Late

Yesterday Afternoon; Victim Instantly Killed

 

CENTURY CLUB FRIENDS SHOCKED BY ACCIDENT
 

Worry Over Business Cares had Affected Health of Retired

Business Man, Is Testimony

James H. Philp, 58 years of age, retired Algonquin merchant who purchased a residence at 224 North Worth Avenue in this city, three weeks ago, fell from a window of the Century Club to his death on the sidewalk in Fountain Square at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

Scores of pedestrians in the street below saw the man’s body as it toppled from the window; struck a wire and turned once; then turned over again, and finally hit the sidewalk, head and shoulders downward.

Women screamed and turned their faces away. men stood motionless in horror.

Man Was Instantly Killed.

A moment after the body struck the stone sidewalk in front of the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago waiting station, a half dozen men reached it. They found no pulse. The man was dead.

Drs. J. Forest Bell and A. L. Mann were the first two physicians to reach the scene. They confirmed the fact that life was extinct. The city ambulance, summoned hastily to carry the man to the hospital, was driven to Wait and Ross’s morgue.

Philp had been sitting in the reading room of the Century Club, which is on the third floor of the Opera House building. He went to the club rooms as the gust of his brother-in-law, C. A. Chapell, 900 Highland Avenue, about 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon.

Went into Reading Room.

After playing cards for an hour, he excused himself, and went into the reading room. He returned a moment later to speak of the unusually large number of automobiles passing, and then went back into the reading room.

S. J. Gifford, 393 Chicago Street, entered the room a short time later. He saw Philp sitting on a window ledge. The window was up, and Philp’s head protruded into the street. He had his hand on the lower sash of the window. Gifford seated himself in the north window and started to read. Philp was in the south window of the reading room. Two windows intervened between the men.

Shortly before 4 o’clock, Clarence Reed, 61 South Geneva Street, caretaker of the Century Club rooms, entered the reading room and saw Philp still gazing out of the window. He then passed into the card room.

No one in the club rooms saw the man fall from the window. No---- son, William Yeo and others --- were in the room.

At the inquest held at the city hall by Coroner Eugene H. Norton, C. A. Chapell, S. J. Gifford, and Clarence Reed testified.

Witnesses at Inquest.

Other witnesses were Frank Dwyer, 9 North Chapel Street, Frank Freeman, 637 Grace Street and H. J. Rhodes, 71 Grove Avenue, all of whom witnessed the accident from the street, and B. C. Getzelman, a friend of the Philp family from Algonquin.

Dywer stood in front of the Grand Opera House. the body struck with in ten feet of him. H. J. Rhodes, his wife, and daughter, Mrs. John Berner, stood in front of the waiting station, a few feet from where the body fell. Freeman saw the accident from across the street, where he had been standing in front of the Town Block.

B. C. Getzelman, Algonquin banker gave testimony which led the juror to believe that Philp had fallen while faint or after suffering a slight stroke of apoplexy.

Getzelman stated that the dead man’s health had declined steadily during the past few months, and he was extremely nervous.

Settled Large Estate.

“Mr. Philp was the administrator of an estate valued at $30,000 to $40,000 in 1908,” said Mr. Getzelman. “He settled up the estate and distributed it between the five heirs who lived in New York State. He received only the administrator’s fees.

“Then five years later, an attempt was made to collect from him, five years of back taxes on the estate. The matter worried him considerably. Two Woodstock attorneys continually harassed him, and it affected his health.

“This drove him out of Algonquin, affected his health and I believe resulted in his death. It caused him to be extremely nervous. This nervousness, I think, resulted in his becoming faint of suffering a slight stroke. while he was sitting in the window.”

Coroner’s Jury Verdict.

The coroner’s jury returned a verdict of death “from shock and injuries sustained in accidentally falling from a window in the Century Club, on the third floor of the Opera House block, while probably faint or sustaining a stroke of apoplexy.

Mr. Philp was one of the best known men in Algonquin as he was born and raised in that city. For twenty years he was owner of a general store and fifteen years ago he retired. He is a large property owner.

He is survived by his widow and one brother, Volney, of California, tow sisters, Mrs. C. E. Chapell, 900 Highland Avenue. The remains will be taken by carriage to Algonquin, where the service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Congregational Church, Rev. Thomas Smith officiating. Burial will be at Algonquin.

Friends are requested kindly to omit flowers.

Crystal Lake Herald, April 23, 1914
 

J. H. PHILP INSTANTLY KILLED

Former Algonquin Resident Meets Sudden death in Elgin

The unforeseen tragedy which robbed us of our friend, James H. Philp, on Tuesday afternoon,, was so unexpected that it is as yet hardly realized. But a day or two ago his friendly salutation on the street and the appearance of health he presented makes it seem impossible to accept the fact that he has passed filled his destiny and we can only mourn his loss and learn to bear his disappearance form our daily life with the patience with which we are forced to accept the inevitable.

James H. Philp was born Oct. 12, 1856, being the youngest son of James Philp and his wife. His parents were of English birth and among the earlier residents of Algonquin. His life as a youth was spent in school and in the home life of his native village. On reaching maturity he spent some time working on the farm of Guy Friary, near Cary Station, and in teaching school in the same neighborhood.

On attaining his 21st birthday he married Miss Emma Frary, and soon after returned with his wife and reside in Algonquin village. Here a good business opening presented itself and with a partner, Louis H. Wenholz of Dundee, be purchased the general store of Mr. Tomisky. The business proved very successful and was faithfully followed for twenty years, when Mr. Philp's interest was sold to his partner, and he retired from active business life.

Mr. Philp was elected in 1891 and 1893 to serve as trustee on the Algonquin board of trustees, he second term ending in 1895.

For many years preceding his death his home was in the village of Algonquin, where he resided in a house built on land belonging to his father's old homestead. Here he led a settled, quiet life and enjoyed the constant presence of this old friends.

In March of this year he purchased a house in Elgin, and on the 26th of the month removed to that city. But he did not reside in his new home long for the tragic accident which terminated his life occurred on April 21, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Mr. Philp in early manhood was situated so that the struggle for financial means of existence did not distress him. Consequently, his character was molded in different form from that of many of this fellows. But in his case it resulted in making a man, modest and social in character, with none of those objectionable self-assertive traits so common in men of coarser tendencies. He was emphatically a true and faithful friend to all those who were in close association with hem. His friendly acts to those who trusted him were devoid of ostentation and were freely given with most generous intentions.

He was a model son and the deaths of his father and mother, when they occurred, were each heavy blows to his sensitive nature. As a husband he was unusually affectionate and happy and throughout his whole married life an example worthy of notice. Quiet and a little reserved in manner, he was decidedly domestic in habits, a home lover and an estimable man.

His English parentage was a feature of his character and to all persons of that nationality he met he was unusually friendly and helpful. He his generosities and helpful acts he was ever the quiet, unostentatious friend, who extended material aid, but did not publish his good deeds. And thus his character, to those who knew him best, ever possessed a quality which showed clearly his sympathy with humanity and his willingness to do his share as a fellow human being.

Mr. Philp left to mourn, his widow who was ever his chosen companion, two sisters, Mrs. C. E. Chapell and Miss Anna Philp, both of Elgin, and a brother, Volney Philp of Glendale, Cal. He also left a host of friends and associates who will mourn his loss and miss the quiet gentleman they were accustomed for so many years to meet almost daily.

Requiescat in pace.

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