Monday, October 7, 2013

Train of thought

My maternal grandmother's family has many stories of death by train.  I was looking around at FultonHistory, which is a free site of New York newspapers (but you can help defray costs), looking for information on some of her Dutchess County lines.  I happened upon a newspaper from Warren County, New Jersey, which is where her mother was living in the 1900 census.

Research tip:  New Jersey is so small that most of the state touches another state, so do not limit your search to New Jersey.

A previous post discussed the death of John Daniel Preston in 1928.  He was one of my great great grandfathers.  His death certificate revealed that he was an employee of the Central Railroad and was killed by one of their trains in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.

Certificate of Death
Copied at New Jersey State Archives in Trenton
(Note: if you order through mail, the cause of death may be blocked)

I did not realize that I did not have a newspaper article about this accident until I stumbled across the article at FultonHistory.

Research tip:  While they may not have obituaries or death notices, people who died tragically may have an article in the newspaper.

The Hackettstown Gazette (New Jersey)
July 6, 1928, page 1
FultonHistory.com

The newspaper article provides details not possible in the death certificate.  John had worked on the railroad for thirty years.  His job was to warn workers of approaching trains so that they would not be hit.  Ironically, John did not see an oncoming train and that is how he met his end.

John's son, Michael Preston, died by a train accident (or murder), exactly ten years and ten days earlier.