N&W in 1908--Mail crane

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Dec 23 21:09:35 EST 2008

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 18, 1908

C. E. Whittaker, a fireman on the Pocahontas division, was killed by a mail crane at East Vivian at 12:10 this morning. He was riding a freight engine pulling No. 16 into Bluefield and was looking ahead for the station at East Vivian when suddenly a mail pouch which was hanging to the crane struck him in the head, tearing him from the engine and throwing him to the ground where he was not discovered until the train had gone nearly a half mile.
Train No. 16 was pulling into East Vivian at about 30 miles an hour over ??? [Too faint to interpret.] hours late on account of a wreck on the River division and had again met with a mishap on this division which resulted in Whittaker and his engineer being pressed into service with a freight engine to take the place of a disabled passenger engine. It was Whittaker's first passenger run and he was watching carefully when the accident occurred. The engineer did not discover that the fireman was missing until the train had gone several train lengths. He then tried to stop the train and backed to the place where the man and the mailbag were found.
Whittaker was about 22 years old and lived with this parents on Williams street in South Bluefield. His father and mother had not arrived at the station at 2:30 when No. 16 pulled into this city over five hours late and the remains were taken to Crockett's undertaking parlors where they were prepared for burial. The trainmen say that the body was not badly bruised and only a few slight scars can be seen on the forehead where the buckle on the strap which tied the mail pouch in the middle struck him.
The firemen who were at the station to meet the body requested the Daily Telegraph to ask all of the firemen to be present at their hall this morning at 8:30 so that they can make arrangements for the funeral.
Gordon Hamilton
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