Wednesday’s Child – Duane Farney

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Duane Farney, my first cousin twice removed, was born July 27, 1933.  He was the son of Orville Farney and Lucy Hoffmann. Lucy was the youngest child of Jacob Hoffmann, born when he was 57 years old.

The Farney family appears in Fountain Creek, Illinois, in the 1940 census. Less then ten years later, on January 26, 1950, sixteen-year-old Duane was driving his father’s 1949 sedan, with six other boys as his passengers: Paul Hickman and Don Pennick, both also sixteen; Duane’s brother James, fourteen; and three fifteen-year-olds: Tom Bell, John Hertel, and Ulyn Reece. At an unguarded railroad crossing north of Rossville, Illinois, Duane apparently drove his car into the side of a moving train.  The three sixteen-year-olds were killed; the four younger boys were taken to Lakeview Hospital but survived.

The Silver Lining, a newsletter of the Apostolic Christian Church, reports on this incident as well in the Cissna Park section of its February 1950 issue:

Tragedy struck our community January 26, when Duane Farney, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Farney, was killed in a train-auto crash. Funeral services were held Monday, January 30. Joshua Broquard of Forrest, Illinois, held the services. Arthur Gudeman of La Crosse, Indiana, prayed at the cemetery. James, a brother of Duane, was also in the accident and is seriously injured.

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