Friday, November 12, 2010

Fatal Destination on the Evening Train

Michael Preston was the grandson of Irish immigrants, Michael Preston and his wife, Catherine Donnell, who arrived in Dutchess County, New York in the 1840s.  The family eventually migrated to Hudson County, New Jersey.  Many are buried at Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City.  The Preston family plot has no headstone, so information concerning their burials is based on the burial cards of the cemetery, available at the cemetery or through the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
Plot card for Holy Name Cemetery, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey
FHL microfilm #1412638

Michael Preston was buried at Holy Name Cemetery on 20 June 1918.  Like most of his immediate relatives, he had no obituary; however the circumstances of his death caused him to appear in the newspaper.  He was found almost dead on a train trestle at night and died shortly after arriving at Bayonne Hospital.  His injuries were not necessarily consistent with a train injury, but instead were perhaps caused by a physical assault inflicted by a human- not a train.  Further investigations were probably made, so I should have additional resources to consult.
This article may lend credibility to the family story of falling asleep on the train on the way home from work, missing his stop, and jumping out of the window, only to have been killed.  Or maybe that was someone else.  Railroad work was a common profession in the 1800s and 1900s and deaths and injuries were commonplace among the workers as well as the passengers.  This Preston family was no exception.