Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers



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Mr. Browning: We don’t want to take up the time of the court in objecting to leading questions,

but just let it be understood we can all go along that way.



Mr. Keith: I will put the question differently.

Mr. Browning: I want you to remember when I come to get out my testimony ---

Mr. Keith: I have asked that same question several times and you didn’t object.

By Mr. Keith:

Q. Do you know whether it rained the night of that accident Mr. Hyde? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did it rain a good deal? Answer – A good bit, the best portion of the night, and a part of the next day.

Q. Did you go over the track the next morning? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You didn’t go back to Bristow and look to see if there were any marks on the track? Answer – I went that night.

Q. You could not see that night, could you? Answer – Only with a lantern.

Q. What did you see if anything? Did you see any marks on the track? Answer – Four or five places I Judge there was a little impression on the ties and on one crossing board.

Q. Where were the first impressions you saw? Answer – Going south from the accident?

Q. Yes. Answer – Just across the bridge, to the best of my knowledge.

Q. Across the bridge next to Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir, going south. I saw where it struck on two different ties between that and the tool house, and I saw something had struck the board at the tool house, at the little crossing.

Q. That crossing is at the oil house? Answer – No, sir, at the tool house.

Mr. Mackey: That is south of Bristow? Answer – No, sir, north. I saw one point close to the 37

milepost where they struck a high tie, a crooked tie, a tie that stuck up probably two and a half or three inches above the base of the rail, where something struck it and skinned a piece off it.



Mr. Keith: Where is that? Answer – Near the 37 mile post. Q. Is that south of Bristow? Answer –

Yes, sir. a C & O flagman was stationed at that point and a man came down the road, Mr. Fountain and said a C & O man there had been hurt, and was bleeding from the cheek. I suggested to Mr. O’Neal that I would go and see whether he was competent to flag, and that is how I come to see this point. Q. Who was there with you going to the flagman? Was there any one? Answer – No, sir. I went to the flagman and asked if he was competent to flag.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Hyde:

Q. Mr. Hyde, how many ties are there to the mile on your section, on the average, do you know? Answer – Yes, sir. They average about 20 ties to the rail. The rail is 33 feet long, and 1760 yards to the mile, and you can calculate that with pencil and paper.

Q. Why was the extra force sent to your section? Answer – Nothing more than an extra force to do extra work, to help me, and help any other man who needs help.

Q. Is your section an extra hard section to take care of? Answer – No, sir, not particularly so.

Q. Have you had any extra force since the day of the wreck? Answer – Last month I had a little help – this month, just a week or two ago.

Q. Where did the extra force work before the wreck? Answer – Between Nokesville and Bristow, principally on the northbound track, and some little work on the southbound, but principally on the northbound.

Q. Do you know when that extra force was there? Answer – I could not recall just the month. It was two years previous.

Q. You said within two years? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. That is as definite as you can make it? Answer – Yes, sir, within two years.

Q. You say you saw a mark on the crossing board at the highway crossing? Answer – At the private crossing.

Q. At the county road crossing? Answer – No, sir, the private road crossing is not the county road crossing.

Q. At the road crossing? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Have you replaced that crossing since the accident? Answer – No, I did not, but all our crossings have been rebuilt in the last year – that is principally all of them. Some few of the boards that were good enough to be used were replaced, but principally all of them – there was a man, Mr. Eddins, who went along and put in what is called a standard crossing with a piece of rail, with the board against it.

Q. Do you know what Mr. Eddins did to this crossing? Answer – He tore the boards up, and put it down as standard, Now, we have the standard, but before we did not.

Q. He tore the old boards up and replaced them, but in a different position; is that right? Answer – That is all the way along.

Q. That applies to this crossing? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. The same boards are there today? Answer – No, sir.

Q. That is what I am asking? Answer – I couldn’t say whether he used any board in that crossing in replacing it; he used new boards where it was needed. If there was any boards that he could use, he used it, but in a different way from what it was before, but I couldn’t say whether he put any board on this crossing back.

Q. This board that the mark was on, was it a sound board or a rotten board? Answer – It was a good board.

A sound board? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. There was nothing done to it until Mr. Eddins came along? Answer – Not to my knowledge. I don’t know whether there was a new one put in.

Q. And he came along about a year after the accident? Answer – I think about a year after he put in standard crossings.

Q. In 1916? Answer – THE COURT: In 1915.

Q. Was that board moved out of place? Answer – By being struck?

Q. Yes? Answer – I couldn’t say for sure whether it was, or not. I only saw a scar on it.

Q. What sort of scar? Answer – Most anything will make a scar, you know. It seemed something had hit it in the south end and pulled over. That is, a big weight or something had struck it. The board bevels toward each end, and it struck it on the bevel probably an inch on the board, and ran along on the board.

Q. Was it something like a nail, or wider than that? Something a 2 ½ or 3 inches wide? Answer – No, it was not a nail; it was something probably wider than that. Or probably wider. I never measured, and only took a glance at the time.

Q. Was it deep enough to remain so you could see it for some weeks, taking into consideration the amount of traffic across that private road? Answer – Yes, sir, it could have been visible in the end.

Q. How long was the scar? Answer – It reached somewhat slightly all the way across the board, but more so on the south end. I suppose two or three feet. It seemed to lighten end it made only a light impression.as you come over. On the north end it made only a light impression.

Q. That tie up there you say you saw the mark on quarter of a mile south of Bristow: You say the end was kicked up? Answer – Sticking up. The end of the ties are there now, I judge.

Q. 2 – ½ or 3 inches? Answer – No, I would not say it was broke off two or three inches.

Q. You misunderstand my question. I understood you to say the end of that tie you saw the first mark on was kicked up two and a half to three inches? Answer – Raised from the bottom of the rail; the end of the tie turned up, in other words.

Q. How many ties are there of that character? Answer – Of that kind.

Q. Yes, Answer – Only that one that I really know of. Ties of that kind are pretty rare. We rarely care to use them – that is, when the ties are crooked. It don’t make a slightly appearance, and so on. Of course the tie is all right, but we don’t use very many of them.

Q. As a matter of fact, that tie is not a suitable tie for a first class railroad, is it? Answer – Only in appearance, and that is all.

Q. Will you support the track as rigidly as a first class tie? Answer – The tie has a bearing under the rail. The appearance of the tie is not all that would be wrong with it, I suppose.

Q. Can you tamp a tie of that kind up as rigidly as a tie that is even? Answer – Probably at the end you would not get a solid bearing just at the end.

Q. You would not get as solid bearing? Answer – I don’t know that you would.

Q. Why has not that tie been removed? Answer – Because it is a sound tie.

Q. Not withstanding its shape? Answer – It was in that shape when it was put in, and it has not gotten so by use.

Q. How far from the outer edge of the rail was the mark you saw on the tie? Answer – I judge ten inches, or a foot, or something of that kind, I never measured the distance, but probably a foot.

Q. In your best judgment, it was probably a foot? Answer – Yes, sir – 10 inches or a foot.

RE DIRECT EXAMINATION

By Mr. Keith:

Q. That crooked tie, did that extend above the rail? Answer – No, sir; the rail is five inches.

Q. Above the crooked tie? Answer – The height of the rail is five inches, and the tie extended probably two and a half to three inches from the bottom of the rail, and if it extended three inches it left two inches.

Q. How far would that be from the arch-bar, if the arch-bar had been in place? Answer – I am not familiar with the height of the arch-bar from the rail. I never made the measurement.

Q. It is supposed to clear the truck? Answer – None of the equipment of the cars or engines come to the top of the rails.

Q. They are not supposed to touch the rails, or anywhere near them? Answer – No, sir.


Dr. R. E. Wine recalled by the Southern Railway Company, testified as follows:

By Mr. Hall:

Q. Dr. Wine, there has been some discussion here about a piece of door-jamb, or door-facing, that you are said to have given the plaintiff after the accident as a relic; I want you to say, according to your best recollection, where you found that piece of door-jamb? Answer – If I recall correctly, it was possibly in the vestibule it was in the front end somewhere.

Q. The front end of the vestibule? Answer – It may have been on the ground. I do not recall exactly where I got it, but in the front end somewhere.

Mr. Mackey: It may have been on the ground? Answer – On the ground, or floor of the car?

Mr. Hall: He said ground.

Q. I want to know whether or not, according to your best recollection, you did not find that piece of wood inside of the car? Answer – In the car proper?

Q. Yes, inside of the car proper? Answer – If my memory is correct, there was a toilet at the end of the car, and a little side seat on the opposite side, but I am not sure about that; it was either in the vestibule or in that place there.

Q. Do you recollect the car door as distinguished from the vestibule door? Do you know the difference? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What do you mean by the vestibule is the space of the platform between the car door and the vestibule door? Answer – That is it exactly.

Q. and according to your recollection, you think you found that piece of timber in the vestibule? Answer – It was in that section somewhere – either there or on the ground, I would not say positive which it was.

Q. Do you know when you picked that up? Answer – I don’t recall what time we came back to Manassas,. I think it was several hours after the accident.

Q. You came back that night, and picked it up that night there? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. After Mr. Sullivan had left? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And you gave it to him subsequently? Answer – A few days after, if I recall correctly.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. You say it was a part of the door jamb? Answer – I would not say positively it was a part of the door jamb.

Q. It was a part of the car? Answer – It was evidently a part of the car.

Q. Do you think you picked it up in the vestibule, or in that little recess near the toilet? Answer – That is my memory.

Q. On the coach? Answer – Yes, sir. I would not, as I said before, be positive, but that is my memory of it.
J. W. Puckett recalled for further examination on behalf of Southern Railway Company, testified as follows:

By Mr. Hall:

Q. Mr. Puckett, will you state to the jury whether or not, after this accident, you examined the track from the point of accident as far as Bristow Station, and then south for as much as half a mile? Answer – Not half a mile, I don’t think, Mr. Hall, but some distance back there. I would not say half mile.

Q. Some distance south of Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Beginning at the point of accident, will you describe to the jury what, if any, marks you found on that track, and at what points, and what those marks indicated to you? Answer – The first mark I saw was just after I crossed the bridge going south, on the tie it looked as if something had hung and pulled a little piece off the edge of the tie, a little further up the hill, between there and Bristow, we found another one, the same kind of mark, and at the crossing just north of the station the crossing board was knocked northward possibly three or four inches, with a scratch down the length wise of the board.

Q. How wide was that scratch? Answer – Anywhere from three to four and a half or five inches.

Q. How wide is an arch bar? Answer – Four or five inches.

Q. Go ahead. Were there any further marks south of the station? Answer – Yes, sir, just south of the station I found another mark on the end of a tie.

Q. How far? Answer – Probably two or three hundred yards. I didn’t measure it.

Q. What did those marks indicate to you? Answer – It indicated something had been dragging and struck the ties.

CROSS EXAMINATION



By Mr. Browning:

Q. That mark that you last mentioned south of the station, on the end of the tie, how far was that from the edge of the rail? Answer – About six or eight inches. I didn’t measure it particularly, but something in that neighborhood.

Q. Was the surface of that tie flush with the rest of the ties along there? Answer – I would not say.

Q. Did you examine that mark and tie closely? Answer – I just saw that it was something that had been dragging, and struck the edge of the tie, and tore a piece off.

Q. You did not examine the character of the tie? Answer – No more than to see it was a fresh ark.

Q. Did you stop and examine it? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And you did not notice whether the tie was above the ties on either side of it or not? Answer – I noticed that there was a mark on the tie, indicating something had been dragged.

Q. But you did not notice whether the tie was above the ties on either side of it? Answer – Not especially.


SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY RESTS
Mr. Flanagan, a witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION

By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Flanagan, what are your initials? Answer – M. M. Flanagan.

Q. What position do you occupy, Mr. Flanagan? Answer – Division master mechanic for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, with headquarters at Richmond.

Q. What previous positions, if any, have you occupied with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company? Answer – I was general foreman at the Richmond shops for eight years, and was eleven years as an apprentice journeyman and gang foreman in the shops.

Q. The Richmond shops are the main shops of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad company, are they not? Answer – The Huntington shops are larger, and the Richmond shops next.

Q. Where were you on the 23rd day of February, 1915? Answer – I was at my office during the day. I left there on the night of the 23rd with the tool car about 7:50 P. M.

Q. For the scene of the accident which had occurred at Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Who went with you, Mr. Flanagan? Answer – Our assistant superintendent and trainmaster Eddins,

Q. Assistant superintendent? Answer – Mr. Bryant, and tool car foreman Brighwell.

Q. What time did you reach the scene of the accident? Answer – We reached Bristow at 3:15 the morning of the 24th.

Q. That is the same night as the wreck? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. I will ask you, in passing, did you pick up any of the Southern officials enroute to Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir, we picked up Mr. Hudson and his train master and one other officer of the company, but I don’t remember the name. We picked up three at Gordonsville.

Q. Mr. Hudson is the superintendent of the Washington Division? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. When you got there, go ahead and state the conditions you found. Answer – Upon arriving there ---

Q. (Interposing) And what investigation you made? Answer – Upon arriving there I immediately got off our tool car, and looked around, and saw the cars which had been damaged. There were a good many of them down the bank. I had inspector’s lantern, which I took from the tool car, and after taking a general view of the conditions where the cars were piled up and track damaged, I went up towards the head of the train with the view of determining what deflected first to cause the derailment. I went up several hundred feet, and found that the C&O coal car Ni. 25227 had a damaged truck. I was alone then, and made a careful examination, finding the tie-bar broken; the arch-bars at the back end bent; the rear wheel of the rear truck was off the track. I examined the bent arch-bars and the tie-bars very carefully while I was there. I got down on my knee and could see the fracture in the tie-bar. The arch bars were not broken. The break in the tie-bar was perfectly bright and clean.

Q. What did that indicate? Answer – It indicated that it had just failed. It had not failed long enough for any corrosion to set in.

Q. Did that indicate a new break? Answer – Yes, sir, it indicated a new break.

Q. What was the character of that break? Answer – That break in the tie-bar was almost direct angular, and practically through the center of the column bolt hole, the back column bolt hole in that truck.

Q. Through the center of the rear column bolt hole? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. I mean by asking the character of it, the character of the iron as shown by the break? Answer – The character of the iron, it looked good and clean. There were not defects or flaws visible at all.

Q. What next did you do? Answer – After examining that, I examined carefully the arch-bars and the box-bolt holes, in them, and I could see little fins as if shearing action, or some condition of that character, had taken place there in the bolts, but I did not see anything of the bolt, so I then went back to the point where the derailment occurred, and looked carefully all the way along the track, and I didn’t find them. So I went on south of the point of derailment then, and, after going about 75 feet, I found nut in which the point of the bolt was still locked, from one end of the column bolts.

Q. Do you know where that nut is now? Answer – Yes, sir, it was turned in to our ---

q. This is the one? Answer – I should not have said column bolt. I will ask the court to permit me to correct it; A nut from one of the box bolts I found 75 feet.

Q. That has been in your possession until it was turned over here? Answer – Yes, sir, since it occurred.

Q. You first found the box-bolt going south? Answer – I first found the nut from the box-bolt in which the point, as you see there, was still locked.

Q. You found that about 75 feet south of the scene of the collision? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Next what did you do? Answer – Then I walked slowly along the track southward, and from that point all the way along practically every tie under the rail was marked. I could track it very distinctly, and I went back at that time I suppose two or three hundred feet seeing if the condition was still there, and I did not go as far west, because it was dark and raining very hard, to see the general conditions. I went back down to the scene of the accident then, and asked our assistant superintendent and showed him the broken tie-bar, also showed it to our tool car foreman, Brightwell, and told them in my opinion that was the first thing that had failed.

Q. Never mind about that. Answer – After daylight we were working around the wreckage, and I was getting up the statement of damage as best I could. After daylight I talked to Mr. Hudson, the superintendent, and told him about the broken tie-bar, and asked him if any of his people had seen anything of the journal box-bolts. I told him that they were both missing, and that I had not been able to locate them. He told me yes, that they had them, and that they were placed right across the track, and directed me a few feet distant. He said Mr. Puckett )I was not acquainted with him at that time) would show me where they were. I went over immediately and asked Mr. Puckett if he would show them to me, and he said that he would, and he carried me to the point where he said they were, but we were never able to locate them. I never saw any portion of the journal box-bolt except the point where the nut was broken off. I asked Mr. Puckett the condition of them, and he said that they had the appearance of having been sheared off, leaving the short ends up next to the head of the bolts, which verified really what my conclusions were when I examined the condition of the arch-bars, which would have sheared the bolts. I thought maybe the tool-car people had them (everybody was busy), and I went to the Southern tool-car people and asked if they had got them, and they said that they knew nothing of them, and hadn’t seen them at all.

Q. Mr. Puckett misplaced them, and, as a matter of fact, they have never been found since? Answer – They have never been found since.

Mr. Keith: You say Mr. Puckett misplaced them?

Mr. Browning: Yes.

Mr. Keith: No; he said that he placed them and when he went to find them again they were not

there.


Mr. Hall: He said that they were on the end of a tie.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. They have never been found since, so far as you know? Answer – So far as I know we have never been able to locate them. It was entirely light then, and I took our tool-car foreman Brightwell and started further southward on the main line, and following the mark which I had seen before it was light on the ties, and followed it up to the switch just north of Bristow Station. We looked around there very carefully, and then went on a few steps further to the frog of that switch right north of Bristow, and right in the heel of that frog we found a nut and a nut lock from the column-bolt of this truck.

Q. Is that the nut? Answer – Yes, sir, that is the nut from the column-bolt. That has been in my possession since the accident.

Mr. Mackey: He has not shown how he knew it was from this truck.

Witness: I will say this, that the bolt, the column-bolt, which was broken on this truck, was

exactly that size, and the nut locks were exactly the same type, and we did not have other cars derailed or damaged that had those parts missing.



By Mr. Browning:

Q. State exactly the position in which you found that column-bolt nut and piece which is with it – state whereabouts in the frog? Answer – Right in the prong or what we call the heel of the frog. The car moving, that truck, the tie-bar having broken, sagged, and let the nut come down low enough to strike the heel of the frog, which broke or sheared it off at that point, and left it there.

Q. Now, Mr. Flanagan, go ahead and state any further investigation you made, if any? Answer – I took that nut and lock with me. There was nobody along except Mr. Brightwell and I.

Q. This is the one you refer to, the large one? Answer – Yes, sir. I had the one from the journal box-bolt, which I found during the night, before it was light. I found the nut from the column-bolt next morning immediately after daylight, when Mr. Brightwell and I went up to make the examination.

Q. Mr. Puckett testified yesterday that he was with you, if I remember his evidence correctly, when you found this column-bolt nut?



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