Documented Bridge Deaths

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This is the tenth post in a multi-part series on the Municipal Bridge Vision.

Former believers have a letter from a historical society in Louisville indicating that no one died during the construction of the Municipal Bridge. There are no bridge deaths documented in the Bridge’s Wikipedia entry. No deaths are mentioned in the Bridge Hunter entry for the bridge. There are no deaths mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Louisville. We found all of these sources to be incorrect. Here’s the documentation we’ve found regarding deaths that occurred as part of the Municipal Bridge construction project in 1928 and 1929.

Bridge Death #1

On Wednesday, June 19, 1929 Richard Pilton died after being hit in the temple with an iron crank. He was in a barge near pier number 5. He did not drown.

Newspaper article on first death

Here’s a PDF scan of the front page of the Jeffersonville Evening News from June 19, 1929 for your review.

There’s a couple key points to note:

  • The article clearly states that this was the first fatality associated with the bridge.
  • The bridge had been under construction for just over a year at the time of this accident.
  • The article indicates that the bridge construction project had a formal safety program whose effectiveness was touted because this was the first and only serious accident associated with the project.

Bridge Death #2

The second death related to the bridge construction was on September 10, 1929. Lloyd McEwen from Bruce, Wisconsin lost his footing and fell, landing on a barge below the bridge. He did not drown, but rather, broke his neck, back, and arm. He also had lacerations on his head. The newspaper article documenting his death specifically lists him as the second death to occur since construction began.

Newspaper article on second death

Here’s a PDF Scan of the top of the page of the Jeffersonville Evening News from September 11, 1929. The article is on the second half of the page near the bottom and the bottom of it is cut off in this scan. Here’s a second scan of just the lower portion of the page.

Note that the article indicates:

  • The man did not drown.
  • He fell into a barge, not the river itself.
  • This is clearly the second death to occur since construction began.

Were There Any Other Deaths?

The bridge opened on October 31, 1929 and no further fatalities occurred between September 10th and October 31. We checked through December 31, 1929 just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. The bridge opened ahead of schedule and under budget.


Did sixteen men fall off of the Municipal Bridge during it’s construction and lose their lives? Historical records indicate exactly two men died during the construction of the bridge in two separate accidents. Neither drowned.

We discovered that only two men had died during the construction in our first visit to the Indiana State Library. To say this grieved us would be an understatement. We challenged our own research and reviewed the material we unearthed many times. We looked for additional resources and even made a second trip to the Indiana State Library to re-review our findings and search for additional evidence.

If anything, our research has shown us there’s always more out there to look at and dig in to. Some will choose to take all of the information we’ve collected and presented here and use it as conclusive evidence that there’s no way this event could possibly have occurred the way Brother Branham said it did. Others will search for flaws in our research and look for other potential fulfillments for this vision. Our goal has been to present the evidence as factually as possible and not try to put our own spin on it. We encourage you to dig into these things yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you feel we’ve missed something, please search it out yourselves or at least let us know so we can decide if it’s something we’d like to pursue farther as well.

This is not quite the conclusion of our research. We do have some more information related to this that we’ll continue posting in the coming days, albeit the pace may be slower than what it’s been so far.

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25 February 2013