Looking back: Woman gets severe injuries in explosion and missing man awarded Medal of Honor - East Idaho News
Looking Back

Looking back: Woman gets severe injuries in explosion and missing man awarded Medal of Honor

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IDAHO FALLS — EastIdahoNews.com is looking back at what life was like during the week of Dec. 4 to Dec. 10 in east Idaho history.

1900-1925

FIRTH — A mother was “painfully burned” while working with a fire in a cook stove after her child poured kerosene into the fire box, the Blackfoot Idaho Republican reported on Dec. 8, 1916.

“The explosion which immediately followed covered Mrs. Sundquist with burning oil, and enwrapped in flame, she ran out of the house holding her hands over her eyes,” the paper explained.

Her husband and brother “luckily came to the rescue” and put out the fire in her clothing before she was fatally burned.

“In the meantime, the house was completely demolished by the flames that started in the kitchen,” the article states.

Dr. Simmons, of Blackfoot, was the first physician to arrive on the scene. The paper said under his treatment, Sundquist was “in a fair way to recover without any severe consequences.”

1926-1950

REXBURG — Family members of a missing man offered a $100 reward to whoever found his body, The Rigby Star reported on Dec. 5, 1940.

John L. Jones, 78, Rexburg hotel owner, was missing since Nov. 13, 1940. The article said it’s believed he drowned in the north fork of the Snake River.

“The money was posted by relatives of the missing man who continued to search the river about six miles west of Rexburg and in the vicinity of the Menan Buttes,” The Rigby Star mentioned.

1951-1975

POCATELLO — A 25-year-old Pocatello man, missing in action in Korea for more than a year, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Idaho State Journal reported on Dec. 4, 1951.

The Associated Press reported Sgt. James E. Johnson became the seventh Marine to win the nation’s top military honor in Korea.

“The Marine Corps, in announcing the award, held out hopes Johnson may yet turn up to receive the medal,” the article reads.

Gen. Clifton B. Cates, Marine Corps commandant, notified Johnson’s wife, who was living near Washington, D.C. with their 15-month-old daughter, about the award.

“The sergeant placed himself in a position from which he could provide covering fire for his men,” the article explained.

It continued, “He was fully aware that his voluntary action meant certain death or capture. He was last seen wounded but still fighting with hand grenades against the onrushing Reds.”

The Marine Corps said Johnson’s “valiant and inspiring leadership” saved the lives of many men.

1976-2000

POCATELLO — Pocatello Police arrested a man suspected of kicking in a door and stealing cheese from a fridge, the Idaho State Journal reported on Dec. 4, 1977.

Jerome Richard Beard, 33, was taken to the Bannock County Jail for “investigation of first-degree burglary” after police and firefighters responded to a false report of a fire at the St. Anthony Convent.

The Journal said it’s believed Beard kicked in a door to the convent, took a bottle of red wine and a half-pound of cheese before calling the fire department to report a Christmas tree inside was on fire.

Police arrested Beard near the convent shortly after midnight.

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