Like Father, Like Son

Week 43: #52 Ancestors – Cause of Death

By Eilene Lyon

GussoCharles 001
Charles J. Gusso

As Charlie Gusso was welcomed into the light of day, his father was expiring from his grievous wounds on a cold day in Milwaukee. That story is well-known family lore which I was able to confirm with church records (in German!).

Less well-known family lore, confirmed by the following news report, is the tragic tale of Charlie’s demise on November 30, 1931 in Watertown, South Dakota.


According to the article, two other farmers were assisting Charlie in loading pigs on a stock truck. Somehow, Charlie ended up between the truck and the barn, sustaining serious internal injuries. The men in the stock truck drove away, unaware of the accident.

It’s a shame that Charlie’s life was bookended by these two awful accidents. His father likely could not have been saved by any surgeon, but if Charlie had sought immediate medical care, he probably would have postponed his fate for many years.


Photo of a barn on what used to be the Gusso farm. (E. Lyon 2015)

Charles J. Gusso on

Feature image: The Charles J. Gusso farm with Walter Gusso, Katie Gusso, Olive Springer Gusso and Charles. The other two sons, Henry and Bill, were not home at the time.

Note: Aside from completing the 52 Ancestors prompts for the year, I will be taking an extended hiatus from blogging. Not that I lack material – far from it! I need to focus on my two book projects, one of which has some (mild) interest from a publisher. Nose to the grindstone time!

22 thoughts on “Like Father, Like Son

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  1. Very interesting. As a medic I had the experience of responding to a similar crush injury that was very emotional. A loader had rolled back and pinned the guys abdomen between the loading dock and the tractor. He was conscious and alert, but we knew when we moved the machine he would die. All he wanted was for us to call his wife. She came down to the yard to say her good byes. It was all very emotional for us all. He slipped away within about 15 seconds. Life is precious. Thanks for sharing this remarkable piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a horrible way to go. Apparently Charlie wasn’t crushed quite that dramatically. I once came across a live deer hung up on a fence. She went into shock when we cut the fence and got her down. Horrible to watch. The guy I was with had to shoot her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had the exact same thing happen at my house in Cle Elum. I woke up in the morning to bleating screams and the deers front legs were in the neighbors field fence. It was ugly. Well, this is a different way to start my day… thanks a lot friend :))

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t generally do any sort of updates on my writing. Because the books are historical non-fiction they take a lot of research time. They are a long way from getting published, but I need to devote more time to them. Thanks for asking. Believe me, when they are available, I’ll be letting people know!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear that you are stopping blogging for a while… I have been enjoying your posts. Good luck with the book projects. I assume your blog will still be live…I have a poem inspired by one of your posts that I should finish…will try to do so this week…JIM

    Liked by 1 person

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