Thomas Family Train Accidents Revisited

One of the first blogs I wrote, back in March, 2012, was about the train accidents which claimed the lives of both Warren Perry Thomas (1860-1896) and his nephew Charles Franklin Thomas Jr. (1878-1899).  The original article is here: “Thomas Family Train Accidents“.

It occurred to me today that I never posted the original articles about those accidents, so I’m going to put them here, for the record.

The first article I found was this short blurb from the “Saint Lawrence Herald”, Dec 1896:

WarrenThomasDeath1896_zoom

St. Lawrence Herald, December 1896.

This article, from the “New Haven Register”, New Haven, CT on 5 Dec 1896, outlines the basic facts of the first accident:

"New Haven Register", New Haven, CT.  5 Dec 1896

“New Haven Register”, New Haven, CT.     5 Dec 1896

The next article, from the “Watertown Daily Times”, Watertown, NY.  9 Dec 1896, fills in more details:

Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, NY.  9 Dec 1896

Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, NY. 9 Dec 1896

This article, from, includes an emotional interview with Charles Franklin Thomas Sr. about the accident, and finding his dead brother in the wreck:

WarrenThomasDeathStory_Long1897

One more from the “Brattleboro Vermont Phoenix”, page 3. 11 Dec 1896:

WarrenThomasDeathStory1896_2

“Brattleboro Vermont Phoenix”, page 3. 11 Dec 1896.

Bridge Cemetery, Canton, NY.

Bridge Cemetery, Canton, NY.

Three years later, Warren’s nephew Charles Franklin Thomas Jr. was killed when the train on which he was working as brakeman passed under a bridge.  Normally there was plenty of clearance, but the bridge was being painted, and Charles was struck from behind by a piece of a the scaffolding as he walked along the top of the freight cars.  His neck was broken, and he died within minutes.

A shorter article, from the “Potsdam-St. Lawrence Herald”, 21 Jul 1899. Courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society.

"Potsdam-St. Lawrence Herald", Potsdam, NY.  21 Jul 1899.

“Potsdam-St. Lawrence Herald”, Potsdam, NY. 21 Jul 1899.

This article about the accident, was printed in the “Brattleboro Vermont Phoenix”, 23 June 1899, page 2:

Charles F. Thomas Jr. Death, 1899

Charles F. Thomas Jr. Death, 1899

Charles’s gravestone features an image of a freight train brake wheel, a nod to the duties he was performing when he was killed.

Greenwood Cemetery, Saint Albans, VT.

Greenwood Cemetery, Saint Albans, VT.

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About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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