4th of July Cannon Kills Twice
July 4, 1871 & July 4 1889 – Madison, WI
John Betz died in his home a day after the cannon he was firing on the Capitol grounds went off prematurely and tore off part
of both his arms. The left arm severed above the elbow, and the right one below, driving splinters into his side, splitting his
nose and badly burning his chest and face.
Betz is interred at Forest Hill Cemetery
Eighteen years later - to the day later, William Melvin, was killed firing a cannon on the Capitol grounds. The flesh was
ripped from his right hand and arm to the elbow, and his forearm was broken in four places.
Melvin is also interred in Forest Hill Cemetery
“A curious coincidence is that Melvin was distantly related to John Betz, who was fatally injered in the same manner on the 4th of July eighteen years ago, and who was removed to the same house that Melvin expired in, where he died next afternoon”
Janesville Daily Gazette – Saturday July 6, 1889
1036 University Ave.
William J. Melvin (45)
John Betz (34)