Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

A tragedy which took the lives of two men occurred in Warsaw just forty-nine years ago today, on Monday, July 25, 1904. About 3:30 on that afternoon, Warsaw City Marshall William H. Funk, and City Engineer James V. Godman went to the corner of Ft. Wayne and Buffalo streets to examine the lift-well there. They were making the inspection to see if they might find the best method for making certain necessary changes in the construction of the well. Our readers will probably recall that until recently a brick structure stood in the middle of Buffalo street over the well.

Marshall Funk was the first to descend the ladder into the well. He had scarcely reached the bottom of the ladder when Godman and the other men at the scene heard him cry out for help, complaining of the deadly sewer gas which was in the well. Making a frantic effort to reach the surface, Funk was nearing the top of the ladder when he fell back, completely overcome by the gas. Quickly Godman descended the ladder to go to the aid of the marshall, but he too was overcome by the "damps".

A rope was then procured and Deputy Sheriff Charles B. Moon with the rope tied around him descended the ladder. He was unable to bring the men to the surface and was soon pulled from the well in a semi-conscious condition. Pike-poles and more ropes were brought to the scene, and after much effort the bodies were brought to the surface. Funk's body was recovered first, and for a half hour attempts were made to revive him. As a last resort an electrical charge was sent through his body. Similar efforts were made to revive the city engineer.

For his unsuccessful attempt to save his co-worker, James V. Godman was posthumously awarded a national citation for heroism. Two Warsaw streets bear the names of these two men who were the victims of this tragedy which stunned Warsaw just forty-nine years ago today.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. July 25, 1953