Mrs. Annie SPONENBERG Hit By Sedan Driven by William RAVERT
At Point Where Mrs. N. B. Shales Met Death
(hand dated 1939)

Death struck again A Curse? on West Front Street last night as Mrs. Annie J. SPONENBERG, 82, was killed when she stepped into the path of a car driven by William RAVERT, 17, of Market Street, Berwick High School senior. Eighteen months before on a Sunday night Mrs. N. B. SHALES was killed near the same spot. Each of the women was crossing the street to their home when the accident happened. Their injuries were similar.

Compound fractures of both legs, a fractured skull and fractured right arm were suffered by the well known Berwick woman as she was struck by the front of the machine driven by RAVERT and owned by his father, Paul RAVERT, of 1424 Market Street.

The youthful driver brought his car to a stop at once and, aided by his companion, Richard COLLINS, of Fourteenth Street, and by Miss Esther JONES, a registered nurse who lives near the scene of the accident, placed the woman in the car for a quick run to Berwick hospital. Mrs. SPONENBERG is believed to have been killed outright, however, and Miss JONES was unable to detect a pulse beat on the way to the Hospital. RAVERT and COLLINS, aided by Miss JONES and hospital nurses, carried Mrs. SPONENBERG's body into the emergency room, where a check again failed to show life. Dr. J. G. FEAR had been called and pronounced the woman dead on his arrival at the institution.

Mrs. SPONENBERG had been to the Spa at the corner of West Second and LaSalle Streets and was carrying a package of ice cream when she stepped into the path of the machine. She was thrown to the middle of the road as her body hit and broke the grille of the 1937 Plymouth sedan. The ice cream was thrown into the gutter by the impact and was later found by those early on the scene.

Both RAVERT and COLLINS, who had been at the home of Claude GIRTON, a short distance below the scene, said the West Front Street woman was apparently hurrying to get out of the downpour that was starting for they did not see her until she was directly in front of the car. The driver applied the brakes at once but was unable to avoid hitting her.

Screams Heard by Nurse
Miss JONES, a close acquaintance of the victim, was in her home next door to the SPONENBERG home when she heard the thud immediately followed by screams. She ran to the spot and aided RAVERT, COLLINS and Ernest ASHMAN in placing the woman in the back seat of the sedan.

The driver had asked his father for the use of the car for a short time last night to go to the GIRTON home on West Front Street. With COLLINS he was returning home at 9:30 o'clock when the accident happened. He reported the matter to Officer Harry BOUDMAN, who was called to the scene and to coroner William ROSS. Charges of involuntary manslaughter have been placed by chief of police Harry PETERSON and a hearing will be held Tuesday evening at 7:30 o'clock before Justice M. M. KNICKERBOCKER.

Widow of Hotel Owner
Mrs. SPONENBERG, the former Annie Jane GIBBONS, was a native of Salem Township and spent her entire life in this immediate section. She was the widow of Benjamin F. SPONENBERG, former proprietor of the St. Charles Hotel, who died in 1919. She had resided on West Front Street for many years. Mrs. SPONENBERG was a member of the First Methodist Church, the missionary societies of the church and of the Reading Circle.

Surviving is one brother, Daniel GIBBONS, of Beach Haven. The body was removed to the KELCHNER Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held from the late home at 548 West Front Street to which the body will be taken on Wednesday.


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Charges of Involuntary Manslaughter in
Death of Mrs. Anne SPONENBERG Are Dismissed
For Lack of Evidence By Justice Knickerbocker
(no hand dating on clipping - probably 1939)

Involuntary manslaughter charges against William M. RAVERT, of 1424 Market Street, resulting from the fatal injuries to Mrs. Annie J. SPONENBERG on West Front Street Sunday night, were dismissed by Justice of the Peace M. M. KNICKERBOCKER at a hearing held last night.

The accident in which Mrs. SPONENBERG was struck by a car driven east by RAVERT occurred as she crossed West Front Street just above the LaSalle Street intersection crossing. She was taken to the Berwick Hospital in the RAVERT car and was pronounced dead a few minutes after she was admitted.

Charges were laid by Officer Harry BOUDMAN, who investigated the accident. Several witnesses were heard and each in testifying expressed the opinion that RAVERT was neither careless nor negligent, and Justice KNICKERBOCKER declared that there was not sufficient evidence to substantiate the charge.

Mrs. Pearl WRIGHT was called as a witness but she declared that she had not seen the accident. Raymond DeHAVEN told of talking with Mrs. SPONENBERG a minute before she crossed the street but he said he walked off in the opposite direction and did not see the accident.

Miss Esther JONES, of West Front Street, said she was in her room and heard the crash. She accompanied RAVERT on the trip to the hospital and testified that the driver had rendered every possible assistance. Elmer HUDDLESON, who had been sitting on a porch near the scene of the accident, testified that he had seen Mrs. SPONENBERG cross the street and that she left the safety crossing and had cut diagonally across the street to her home. He said that he did not believe RAVERT had been driving too fast.

Miss Dorothy LONG, who had been on the porch at the home of her parents, said that she did not see Mrs. SPONENBERG because of a long, dark shawl she had been wearing. James GINGHER, of Ninth Street, said he had been driving behind the RAVERT car and that he didn't think RAVERT had been driving more than 25 miles per hour or so. He said that the car had been stopped within the length of a car.

The driver pleaded not guilty to the charge, and Richard COLLINS of Mulberry Street, who had been with him, offered testimony to support the denial of negligence or carelessness.

Justice KNICKERBOCKER, in closing the case commented on the dangerous conditions which exist at the intersection and on the difficulty encountered by drivers there.

From The Berwick Enterprise


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1939 (in pencil)

Largely attended funeral services were held yesterday afternoon for Mrs. Anne J. Sponenberg of West Front street, Berwick. The servicces were in charge of the Rev. Robert J. ALLEN, pastor of the First Methodist church, Berwick. There were many floral tributes. The pall bearers, members of the Berwick Lodge of Elks, were: Joseph HORNEFIELD, James LABOUR, John BOWMAN, Gilbert HAGENBUCH, Claude BOWMAN and George FARVER. Burial was made in the family plot in Pine Grove cemetery, Berwick.

Attending the services from out of town were: Mrs. Mary DIETTERICK, Beach Haven; Mrs. Lizzie EVELAND, New York City; Edward SCHANK and Miss Eva HARRIS, of Bloomsburg, R. D.; Mr. and Mrs. Waller BAKER, of Philadelphia; Mrs. Hess BENTON; Mr. and Mrs. Ralph GIBBONS, of Nescopeck; Mr. and Mrs. Frank GARNEY, of Kingston; Mrs. HAMLTON, Mrs. Florence McBRIDE, Mrs. Frank WENNER, of Orangeville, R. D.; Mrs. Charles HOWE, Mrs. Arthur ROAT, of Bloomsburg; Mrs. Jane Miller rupert; Mrs. Jack RISHEL, Catawissa; Robert VAN SICKLE, Catawissa; Mr. WATTS, Millville; Mr. and Mrs. Lewis CREASY, of Bloomsburg; Mr. SHUMAN and Miss GRUVER, of Mifflinville; Mrs. BLANKENBERG, of Harrisburg; Mrs. Alice FREAS, of Bloomsburg; Mrs. Evelyn YORE, Mrs. George POST and Mrs. BUCKALEW, of Fairmont Springs; Mr. and Mrs. Freas KINNEY and Mrs. Kate FREAS, of Nanticoke; Mr. and Mrs. Samuel COLE, of Hammond, Ind; Mrs. C. NACE, of Trenton, N. J.; Mr. and Mrs. Roy GIBBONS and Mr. and Mrs. Clayton DUNHAM, of Eagles Mere(?); Mrs. Gertrude MOYER, of Milton; Mr. and Mrs. George JOHNSON and Mr. and Mrs. W. E. BOLTEN, of Chicago, Ill; Miss Mary CROMLEY, of Bloomsburg; Mrs. Norman FITE, of Almedia and Daniel GIBBONS of Beach Haven.


1939 (in pencil)

The will of Mrs. Annie J. SPONENBERG, late of Berwick, admitted to probate, makes the following bequests: $300 to a brother, Daniel GIBBONS; $100 to Eva HARRIS; $100 to Lizzie EMMANUEL; $300 to Mrs. Pearl ROBINSON; $100 to Edward SCHENKS; $500 to H. O. KLINE; $300 to Annie HAMILTON; $100 to Mary Lee BOLTEN; $200 to Creet SPONENBERG NACE; $200 to Lizzie SPONENBERG OLIVER; $300 to the Moore cemetery in Salem township in trust to provide for the GIBBONS and YORE plots; her watch and diamond ear rings to Grace A. JOHNSON; her fur coat to Mary GIBBONS DIETTERICK; two steel engravings to the Berwick Lodge of Elks.

The executor is to sell all real estate and personal property except the items of personal property named in the will and certain household furniture and effects which she directed be given to friends and relatives as is directed on a separate sheet which the will stated, should leave where it could be secured by the executor.

The residuary estate is bequesthed as follows: A fifth, less $350, to a nephew, Bernard YORE; a fifth, plus $125 to First National Bank, Berwick, in trust to pay the income to a grand-nephew, Robert YORE, until he is ready to attend a high school higher than the local schools when the bank is to use so much of the principal as may be necessary for his education and turn over the balance to Robert YORE when he is twenty-one years of age; a fifth, plus $125, to a nephew, Samuel COLE; a fifth, plus $125, to a nephew, Samuel COLE; a fifth, plus $125, to a nephew, Ralph GIBBONS, and a fifth, plus $125, to a niece, Mary GIBBONS DIETTERICK. Alex C. JACKSON is named executor of the will made January 22, 1937 and witnessed by Charles N. FAHRINGER and Arthur E. ARNDT.

Courtesy of
John H. Harter III
and Catherine Betty Sponenberg