Pat Moran, age 16, who resided with his mother, and an employee at the Indian Mission, met a horrible death on the evening of January 25, 1916. He was electrocuted while playing with an electric light drop.


Pat Moran, age 16, who resided with his mother, and an employee at the Indian Mission, met a horrible death on the evening of January 25, 1916. He was electrocuted while playing with an electric light drop.

After supper, he started after some milk, going through the laundry room at the Mission. He stopped to play with others, who were tampering with an electric light socket, amusing themselves, receiving light shocks. Moran, while holding to the lamp socket, was standing on a wet cement floor. He then received a fatal shock.

Dr. W.C. Bradford was called, and when he arrived, he put in a phone call for the electric company to send out a pulmotor, in the hope of possibly resuscitating the lad. The machine was applied and operated for a half hour, but without avail.

The deceased youth was a pupil in Washington school. The funeral was held at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church and interment was at Fairview Cemetery.


Night Chief Jerry Spann was slugged and rendered unconscious for a moment on the night of February 25, 1916. The assailant was an unknown man, whom he had under arrest. He was struck in the head with a heavy clasp knife, as he suffered a long gash in his forehead and the coat on his shoulder was cut. He was not seriously hurt and was not kept from his duties.

Spann had gone to the south part of the city in answer to an alarm that someone was trying to get into Griffin’s Warehouse. He had also been looking for a person who had tried to steal some cocaine from a veterinary’s office. While searching the “bottoms,” he arrested a suspect whom he believed might be guilty of both offenses.

He searched the man and started to the police station with him. When near the electric light plant, the man suddenly whirled about and struck the officer a terrific blow in the head. Spann felt a stinging sensation, then lapsed into unconsciousness. When he recovered, the man had disappeared and though a vigilant search was made for him, no trace of him could be found.

Spann was known to have the “bottoms” under control. His practice of making the rounds there single-handedly, was generally held in police circles to be dangerous. A less courageous man would hardly attempt it as a regular thing.


At the meeting of the city council on the evening of May 16, 1916, an ordinance regulating motor vehicles was submitted for approval by the city attorney. It was endorsed by the local Auto Club, except the speed limit in the business section. The Club desired the limit be raised to 12 miles per hour.

In Section One were “definitions” The word “motor vehicle,” as used in the ordinance, included every form or kind of vehicle that was self-propelled. The word “person” as used in the ordinance included owner, lessee, operator or driver.

Section Two: Unlawful to drive without a permit – It was unlawful for any person to operate, run, drive or manage upon any of the public streets, alleys or public places within the City of Shawnee, a motor vehicle without having first obtained a permit to do so and having equipped said motor vehicle, as provided in the ordinance.

Section Three: Permit How Issued – The city clerk shall, upon application, issue to any person a written permit to operate the motor vehicle within the City of Shawnee, without cost to such applicant. The permit would show the name, age, sex, and color of such person, the name of the owner of the vehicle expected to be operated. The permit was non-transferable, and would expire on the 31st day of December, following the date of its issue, unless suspended or revoked for cause as provided, and would be exhibited upon demand from any police officer. Before the permit was issued, the applicant must show himself or herself, competent to operate said motor vehicle under such tests as may be prescribed by the board of public works from time to time and approved by the mayor and council.

Section Four: Lights – Every motor vehicle, except motorcycles, shall be equipped with two head lights and one rear light, which shall be kept burning at all times after dusk when said vehicle is in use, and the rear light shall be kept burning in same manner. Such headlights shall be so constructed or dimmed, that the rays thrown therefore shall not at a point be 100 feet distant in front of said vehicle and be more than three feet above the surface of the street.

Section Five: Speed Limit – It shall be unlawful for any person or driver, to operate or run any motor vehicle at a speed exceeding eight miles an hour in the business section of the city, and 20 miles per hour in the residence section of the city. Provided this limit shall not apply to any motor vehicle used by the fire department in responding to an emergency call, but the burden shall be upon such physician to show the emergency character of the call.

Section Six: Mufflers – That every motor vehicle shall be equipped with proper mufflers upon its exhaust pipes and it shall be unlawful for any person to operate, run or drive any such vehicle upon the streets, alleys, or public places of the City of Shawnee, with the mufflers cut out or open in such manner that such exhaust shall make any noise, and it shall be unlawful for any person within the corporate limits of the city to crank up, or start the motor engine of any such motor vehicle while standing still with the mufflers to the exhaust pipes cut out or open.

Section Seven: Horn – Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a horn or other means of giving signals by sound.

Section Eight: Driving out of Alley – It shall be unlawful for any person to drive any vehicle out of an alley or building into an intersecting or adjacent street, without first having sounded a signal to give notice of the approach of such motor vehicle.

Section Nine: Passing Street Cars – It shall be unlawful for any person driving a motor vehicle on the streets of the City of Shawnee to pass a street car, when said car has stopped to receive or discharge passengers, until such passengers have boarded the car or have left the street and reached the sidewalk.

Section Ten: Penalty for Violation – Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this ordinance, shall upon conviction, be fined in any sum not less than $5 nor more than $50; and if the conviction is for the violation of any provisions of the ordinance except those contained in Section Two, the judge of the court shall suspend the permit of such person to drive a motor vehicle for such length of time as he may adjudge.

(These stories and hundreds more appear in Volume One of “Redbud City, The Early Years, 1830-1929.” The book is the first in a series that will continue up into the 21st century. They may be purchased from the Pottawatomie County Historical Society, or by calling Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728.)