N&W in 1911--Two articles

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Sun Jul 4 17:36:27 EDT 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 13, 1911

Knuckle From Drawhead Placed on Rail and Tie So as to Cause Derailment. Discovered in Nick of Time
There was an expression of horror generally yesterday when it was learned that a most dastardly attempt had been made to wreck passenger train No. 3 Wednesday night. It is frightful to imagine what fearful toil might have been taken by death had the nefarious plot not have been frustrated.
A knuckle from a drawhead was placed on the outer rail of a curve about a hundred yards east of the section house at Welch, and tied to the rails in such a way that a derailment of the heavy train could not have been avoided. The scene of the attempt was on the bank of the river and had a derailment occurred there is no doubt but that the train would have been thrown into the river.
Fortunately Samuel Walker and Mr. Ballou, who were returning from the ice plant about 9:30, passed along the track just before No. 3 was scheduled to arrive, discovered the obstruction and notified the station agent, who had it removed, thus preventing, most likely, a disastrous wreck.
Train No. 3 is a very heavy one, carrying two baggage cars, mail car, three day coaches, a dining car and three sleepers, and when it left here the day coaches were crowded, and the sleepers were filled.
On account of the belief among many of the people that the Welch fire was of incendiary origin, many connected the origin of the fire with the attempt to wreck the train with the result that had a definite clue been forthcoming, it is likely that Welch might have been the scene of another disaster which might have resulted in summary punishment for the supposed and unknown miscreants.
[Earlier newspaper article reported that much of downtown Welch was destroyed by fire.]

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 14, 1911

Thirteen-Year-Old Howard Pickle Arrested and Said to Have Confessed
Obstruction Discovered a Short While Before Train Was Due by a Man Passing Along the Track and Wreck Averted
Special Agent Pitman, of the Baldwin force, yesterday secured a confession from Howard Pickle, thirteen years old, in which the boy admitted having placed a knuckle from a drawhead on the Norfolk and Western tracks near the Welch depot with the intention of seeing what it would do. The confession was made in the presence of Mr. Pitman, Chief of Police Brewster, of Welch, and Deputy Sheriff A. C. Hufford. These officers then took the matter up with the county officials and on account of the tender years of the boy, he was sent to his home where his mother gave him an old-fashioned whipping. The father, J. M. Pickle, is confined to his bed and is very ill. He was a former police officer in McDowell county.

[In the balance of the article the mother agreed to send her son to reform school if he did not behave, and the balance of the article is omitted here.]

Gordon Hamilton
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