16 May 1909  - Death comes to Solon W. Baxter

Was Native of City, Civil War Veteran and Former Fire Marshal

End to Long Suffering Occurred at Soldiers’ Home Hospital

Yesterday, Burial in Oak Hill

Solon W. Baxter, aged 65 years, of 952 Wealthy avenue, died at the Soldiers’ home at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon. His death was indirectly the result of an accident sustained 14 years ago, when in his capacity of assistant fire marshal his horse fell upon him while he was riding to a fire and caused injuries to his head which resulted in unbalancing his mind. He was retired from the force within a few weeks and since lived a life of retirement. Last December he fell on the icy walks and suffered a fracture of the hip, since which time he has failed rapidly. A month ago he was taken to the Soldiers’ home in the hope that the treatment there might restore him bodily health, but he gradually grew worse until death relieved his suffering.

Mr. Baxter was one of the oldest residents of Grand Rapids having been born in this city July 1, 1844, at the corner of Fountain and Division streets. All of his life was passed here with the exception of three years spent in the Union army during the civil war. At the age of 18 years he enlisted, on August 19, 1862, in the Sixth Michigan cavalry and was captured by the confederates at the battle of Falling Waters. For five months he was a prisoner at the southern military prison on Belle Isle, Ga., when he was exchanged and served with his troop during the remainder of the war.

Accident while Riding to Fire

Returning to Grand Rapids at the close of the war, he followed for a time the business of furniture making and repairing. In 1871 he joined the fire department and was one of its best known members. The accident which was in a measure responsible for his death 14 years later occurred while on his way to a fire. His horse, remembered as "Old Frank" by many residents of Grand Rapids, slipped and fell heavily upon him. It was this accident and its results which led to the giving place of the saddle horse for use by the fire marshal to the light wagon of today.

As a result of this accident, Mr. Baxter was retired on a pension and held his membership in the department to the day of his death. At the funeral, the date of which has not yet been announced, his old companions of the fire department will act as pallbearers and the Honorary pallbearers will be men who were his friends in his childhood. The funeral will be held in O’Brien Bros. chapel and will probably occurred Wednesday. Burial will be in Oak Hill cemetery.

Mr. Baxter was united in marriage July 2, 1869, to Miss Katie L. McMahon, the sweetheart of his childhood. They were the parents of five sons, two of whom died in childhood. The three who survive besides the widow are Frank C. Baxter of New York City; Solon W. Baxter, Jr. of Chicago and D. Harold Baxter of Grand Rapids.

Following Mr. Baxter’s retirement from active service in the fire department no expense was spared which promised relief from the mental cloud which enshrouded his life. But this malady was beyond the power of medical skill to cure and he was finally brought back to Grand Rapids to be cared for by his faithful wife. Then came the accident which shattered his limb and made him physical wreck in addition to his mental infirmities. Time after time was the fractured limb placed in a plaster cast, which was as often broken by the patient in his efforts to leave his bed, until the strain became too great, and death released him from his bondage to pain and suffering.

Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 23 February 2010
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/obituaries/local/baxterS.html