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  • Writer's pictureKyra Mangold-Ostovich

Voices of the Past: John W. Yost

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Voices of the Past will showcase an interesting person or family within the Cemetery each week.

John W. Yost

Born: 1869/70

Died: September 26, 1901, aged 31/32

Location: Old Section E, lot 12

The sad story of John Yost, a structural iron worker, begins with the death of his wife, Mrs. Agnes (McConnell) Yost, on April 1, 1900, following the birth of their child. Overcome with grief for his late wife that not even the surviving infant could alleviate, he is reported to have left his Elizabeth Street residence with suicidal intent.

Around 4 PM on April 6, 1900, the Homestead Cemetery sexton, Mr. William Johnston, is said to have witnessed from afar Mr. Yost fall on the cemetery grounds. Upon reaching Mr. Yost, Mr. Johnston found that Mr. Yost had removed the flowers from his late wife's grave and had ingested 3 ounces of carbolic acid. Mr. Johnston carried Mr. Yost to his home where he received immediate medical aid from Dr. R. E. Woods. He was not expected to survive the night.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Yost miraculously survived his suicide attempt. His father-in-law, Mr. William McConnell, reported on April 12, 1900 that his son-in-law would probably recover, and described Mr. Yost as being "morose and only with difficulty is he induced to take the medicine prescribed. He says he wants to die."

On September 26, 1901, Mr. Yost had been at work on the Pittsburgh, Virginia & Charleston railroad bridge over Becks Run Road in Baldwin Township. As he was walking on a trestle, his footing slipped, and he fell from the bridge, plummeting down 45 feet. He was killed instantly.

His funeral arrangements were handled by Semmelrock Brothers undertaking rooms of Carson Street in the South Side. A coroners inquest was held on September 27, 1901, ruling his death accidental.

Information gathered from:

  • "At His Wife's Grave." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 06 Apr 1900, p. 1

  • "Fell 45 Feet and Was Killed." PIttsburgh Press, 27 Sep 1901, p. 2

  • "Fell from the Trestle," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 27 Sep 1901, p. 4

  • 'Took Poison in a Cemetery," Pittsburgh Press, 6 Apr 1900, Friday, p. 10

  • "Yost Still Wants to Die," Pittsburgh Press, 12 Apr, 1900 p. 2

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