Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers



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The Court: I am not very certain, but I will think about striking it out. I do not think it is a part of

the res gestae, but whether it can come in outside, I will consider it.



Mr. Browning: Q. I understood you to say that you made that report before you made any

examination as to the cause of the accident? Answer – Thoroughly.



Mr. Keith: He didn’t say before he made any examination.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. Before you made a thorough examination? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. After you made a thorough examination, what conclusion did you arrive at? Answer – A broken tie-bar.

Q. Where is the tie-bar – that is already in evidence; had you seen the broken tie-bar when you made the report? Answer –No, sir.

Q. You saw the tie-bar after you made the report? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Then it was that, so far as your opinion was concerned, you arrived at the conclusion that you had made an erroneous report as to the cause of the accident? Answer – Yes, sir.

RE CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Keith:

Q. Did you make a report later on that night that you had been mistaken, and that it was a broken tie-bar? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Did you make it the next day? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What time did you leave Bristow that night? Answer – I did not leave there until the next day.

Q. Did you go back to Bristow Station on the track? I mean did you walk back? Answer – Yes, sir, I walked back there that night.

Q. How many times did you walk back and forth between Bristow and the point of accident? Answer – I don’t know, but several times I reckon.

Q. Did you have your lantern? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you find that piece of tie-bar? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Did you find that piece of column-bolt or box-bolt, or what did you find, if anything? Answer – I found a piece of the box-bolt.

Q. What did you do with it? Answer – I gave it to a track man on the Southern.

Q. Who was he? Answer – Mr. O’Neal I think it was.

Q. Was it the top or bottom? Answer – I don’t remember.

Q. What time of night was it you found that? Answer – I don’t remember, but I suppose aomewhere between ten and eleven o’clock.

Q. Where was it you found it? Answer – Near the frog at the pump house.

Q. On which side of the stream was it, of Broad Run? Answer – On this side.

Q. On the North side? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And that was the only thing you found? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you make a careful search? Answer –No

Q. Was there anybody with you that helped you to search? Answer – Not that night, no, sir.

Q. By yourself? Answer – I was performing my duty. I was not looking particulary, and happened to run across that bolt.

Q. And you have it to O’Neal? Answer – I put it on the cab, and he came up and asked me for it, and I gave it to him.

Q. By yourself? Answer – I was performing my duty. I was not looking particularly, and happened to run across that bolt.

Q. And you gave it to O’Neal? Answer – I put it on the cab, and he came up and asked me for it., and I gave it to him.

Q. Was it a bolt, or a nut off the bolt? Answer – As well as I remember it was what seemed to be a box-bolt.

Q. And how long was it? Answer – I don’t remember exactly, but something like that (indicating).

Q. Six inches, or something like that? Answer – I would not like to say.

Q. Was it simply a part of the bolt? It was not the whole bolt? Answer – No, it was not the whole bolt.

Q. Did you talk to Mr. Flanagan before you left there? Answer – I don’t remember.

Q. Who showed you the tie-bar? Answer – I was up there after the accident, and was talking – I don’t remember who it was, but it seemed to me some Southern man was looking at it, but I don’t remember, as there was such a crowd around there.

Q. You can’t be sure that any Southern Railroad man had that tie-bar, or saw it. Answer – No. It was after the Southern tool car got there that I realized it was the tie-bar.

Q. When was it you saw that tie-bar? Was it that night? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Don’t you know Mr. Flanagan testified that he did not find that until next morning? Answer – I don’t mean the piece that was gone. I mean the part on the truck.

Q. You never did see the other part, the broken part? Answer – No, sir.
L. H. Tompkins, another witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Tompkins, in whose employ are you? Answer – C&O Railroad – Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad.

Q. Were you in the employ of the company on the 23rd of February, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What is your position? Answer – Engineer.

Q. And it was at that time? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You say engineer; do you mean locomotive engineer? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What train was your engine pulling on the 23rd of February 1915? Answer – Pulling extra 592 north.

Q. Freight? Answer – Freight, yes, sir.

Q. What sort of freight was it? Answer – Dead freight.

Q. I mean, Mr. Tompkins, was a through freight or a local freight? Answer – A through freight.

Q. From what point did you start? Answer – I started from Strathmore on the James River, and was on my way to Potomac Yard.

Q. Where is Potomac Yard? Answer – Washington, right this side of the river.

Q. How many cars were you pulling? Answer – 17 loaded and 5 empty, including the cab.

Q. Who was the conductor? Answer – W. B. Gentry.

Q. Who was your fireman? Answer – W. W. Roberts.

Q. And how many brakeman were there? Answer – Two.

Q. Mr. Tompkins, have you any signal system between yourself as engineer, and the conductor in the caboose? Answer – On approaching stations.

Q. Yes, Answer – Yes, sir. When you approach a station, you blow a station whistle, and if everything is all right and is ready to go, the conductor gives a signal, and if he is not ready to go you stop.

Q. Do you remember the accident having happened near Bristow on the 23 February, 1915? Answer Yes

Q. Do you remember the stops you made between Strathmore and the point of accident? Answer – I know I stopped at Lindsay, and Orange and Culpepper. I don’t remember whether I stopped at Rockaway for water or not. That is between Lindsay and Strathmore.

Q. Do you remember approaching Bristow Station? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What did you do, if anything? Answer – When I approached Bristow Station and got the proper distance I blew a signal whistle, and got a signal to proceed, and kept moving.

Q. What was your rate of speed? Answer – I think my rate of speed was between twenty and twenty-five miles an hour.

Q. Did you apply your brakes? Answer – Yes, sir, I applied my brakes coming down that hill.



Mr. Hall: That is most distinctly leading, and I move to strike it out.

The Court: I sustain the objection

By Mr. Browning:

Q. What was the effect of the application of your brakes? Answer – Well, is slowed the train down, and just before I went into Bristow bridge I released the brakes – between the station and the bridge.

Q. And your speed you say was 20 to 25 miles an hour? Answer – between 20and 25 miles an hour, yes, sir

Q. Mr. Tompkins, what did you do when the accident occurred? Answer – Well, in going down that hill passing the station, after passing the station between there and the bridge, the brakes were released. After I got across the bridge, I felt a slight jerk in the train, and I came to the conclusion that all my brakes had not released. I made a further release of the brake, and started to pulling the train, and when I did that I turned my head and looked back. Then I saw that fire was flying from somewhere about the middle of my train, and then I brought the brake valve into position to apply the brakes again.

Q. Did you know before that there was anything the matter with your train? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You said you stopped at Lindsay, Orange and Culpepper, did you stop at Gordonsville. I may have, but I don’t remember.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. How long did you stop at Culpepper? Answer – Just long enough to fill the tank up, as I remember now.

Q. In minutes how long? Answer – Inside of five minutes I would say.

Q. Could your crew inspect 21 cars and an engine in five minutes? Answer – They did not have to inspect the engine; I do that.

Q. Could they inspect 21 cars in five minutes? Answer – I don’t know, sir, whether they could, or not. I should think that they could see whether anything was wrong with the cars after they were inspected at the terminal. I should think that they could go over them with three men.

Q. They had no way to get around this train of 21 cars except to walk around? Answer – No, sir

Q. It would take five minutes to properly inspect one car, wouldn’t it? Answer – I don’t know about that.

By Mr. Keith:

Q. I want to ask him if he will look at this map. Are you able to recognize the track on the Southern Railway Company just as you cross Broad Run, from this map? Answer – This is the Washington end; this is the north end, and that the Southern, and that is the spur track just beyond the pump house?

Q. Yes. After you crossed the bridge over Broad Run, you say you saw the fire fly? Answer – I guess the train was out of the bridge when I looked back.

By Mr. Hall:

Q. By “out of the bridge” do you mean north of the bridge? Answer – Yes, sir. It is right sharply dark at that time of day at that time of the year.



By Mr. Keith:

Q. You had not looked back before that? Answer – Not since passing the station.

Q. Had you looked back then? Answer – Before passing the station.

Q. You don’t know where you looked back? Answer – within a mile of the station. The whistle boards on the Southern are a mile of the station.

Q. By looking back you could tell whether fire was flying from under the cars? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you look at a point about one mile south of Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And you did not look again until you crossed the bridge and felt the jerk? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Didn’t you feel the jerk as a matter of fact, - didn’t you feel some sort of jerk when you passed this point right here (indicating) – the switch just north of the road at Bristow? Answer – No.

Q. You did not feel any jerk or jar of any sort at that point? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Did you feel any jar when you passed the road crossing of any sort? Answer – No, sir. I don’t know that I can remember now. You see you are asking me questions now going on two years old.

Q. You did not feel any jar of the train as you passed Bristow? Answer – As well as I remember, no, sir.

Q. You did not feel any jar or jerk at this switch point or road crossing north of Bristow? Answer – No, sir. The brakes were applied, and it held it steady. If you apply the brakes on a rough road, you would not feel it.

Q. If you had the broken box bolt off here, you would feel it? Answer – No, I don’t know that I would . You can pull the whole box off.

Q. But you did feel it on the other side? Answer – Yes, sir. I believe that is when the train pulled apart. I thought it was a brake hanging on me, and I proceeded to further release my brakes.

Q. Did you notice anything rough at all from half mile south of Bristow to the point of accident? Answer –I can’t recall anything unusual at all.
At one o’clock the court took a recess until two o’clock for lunch.
AFTERNOON SESSION

June 12, 1916

The court met at the expiration of the recess.

Present: Same parties as heretofore noted.


W. W. Roberts, another witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Roberts, you were fireman of extra C & O 592 on the 23rd of February, 1915, I believe? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Mr. Roberts what speed were you all making when you passed Bristow, and along about Bristow? Answer – Between twenty and twenty-five miles an hour.

Q. How long had you been fireman? Answer – Now or at what time?

Q. Either one? Answer – At that time twelve years and a half.

q. Thirteen now? Answer – Thirteen in December.



W. S. C. Acree, another witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Acree, you were brakeman, I believe, on extra 592 February 23, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir. Head brakeman.

Q. how long had you been in the C & O employment at that time? Answer – About twenty-five years.

Q. Where did you start your run that day, Mr. Acree? Answer – Strathmore.

Q. Well, what were the stops you made between Strathmore and the scene of the accident? We stopped at Lindsay, Gordonsville, Orange and Culpepper.

Q. At those stops did you have anything to do, or did you do anything? Answer – Yes, sir, we always inspect the train.

Q. Who do you mean by “We”? Answer – Us brakemen and the conductor.

Q. What did you do on that run? Answer – Inspected the train at Lindsay, Orange and Culpepper.

Q. Tell the jury, Mr. Acree, how those inspections were made? Answer – We just when a train stopped at a point where they don’t have to have any flagging, me and him go down on the sides until we meet one another, looking at the running gear and truss rods and draught timber, and we meet one another, and we jump to the other side.

Q. You say “me and him”? Answer – The other brakeman. Sometimes the conductor jumps in and gives us a lift.

Q. You stated, I believe, that was done at each of these stops? Answer – Yes, sir, it is always done at any sidetracks and stops.

Q. Where did you start on the inspection at Culpepper? Answer – Started from the engine. I am the head man.

Q. And went on each side? Answer – On the left hand side until I met the conductor.

Q. What do you mean by the left hand side? Answer – On this side until I met the conductor, and then I crossed over.

Q. All right; then what did you do? Answer – Then I worked back to the engine.

Q. Do you know how far you went down before you met the conductor? Answer – I went eleven cars.

Q. Do you know what position car 25,227 occupied from the engine? Answer – Yes, sir; the ninth car from the engine.

Q. Then state whether you inspected one or both sides of that car? Answer – I inspected both sides of it.

Q. What was its condition, Mr. Acree? Answer – Apparently to me it was all right.

Q. Now Mr. Acree, what speed were you making, if you know, passing, approaching and departing from Bristow Station? Answer – I could not, of course, take an oath on the exact speed, but we were not running over 22 or 25 miles an hour.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Mr. Acree, how long does it take to inspect a train of twenty 0ne cars, and do it properly, with two men. Answer – Of course if you class me as a car inspector at a terminal, I would have to take thirty good minutes.

Q. You stopped at Culpepper five minutes, your conductor said? Answer – We were there, I should say, seven minutes.

Q. So you just had one-seventh of the inspection through when you left there? If it takes thirty minutes to inspect it, and you devoted five minutes to it, you had about one-fifth ; say seven into thirty, you had one –fourth or one-fifth of the inspection done when you left there? (Pause). There is no reflection on you, but it is information? Answer – If it is information you are asking, you must remember the road men only give the running gear, the truss rids and draught timber inspection.

Q. Was it day time or night when you got to Culpepper? Answer – Day time.

Q. If there was a motion in the arch-bars, where they come together over the box, if there is a motion there that was gradually shearing off the bolts, you could not see that when the car was standing still? Answer – If the car was standing still, we would hardly see it.

Q. You never put the car in motion and stand off to the side to see what was going on? Answer – No, sir.
G. T. Greaver, another witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Greaver, what is your business? Answer – Rear brakeman in the freight service.

Q. What were you doing on the 23rd of February, 1915? Answer – I was rear brakeman.

Q. With what company? Answer – The C&O

Q. What was your train? Answer – Extra 592

Q. Was gondola coal car 25,227 a part of that train? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How many cars constituted the train? Answer – We had twenty-two, including the caboose.

Q. Where did you start from? Answer – Strathmore.

Q. At how many places did you stop between Strathmore and Bristow Station? Answer – The first stop we made was Rockaway, Lindsay, Gordonsville, Orange and Culpepper.

Q. What were your duties when the train stopped? Answer – To go back and flag immediately.

Q. Any other duties? Answer – When the train stopped where we were not required to flag, I inspect the train, a portion of the train at least. At Culpepper we are not required to flag a freight train unless there is some superior train over-due, which on this occasion there was not. I started down on one side of the train from the caboose, and the conductor started down on the other side from the caboose, and I went until I met the front brakeman.

Q. Who is he? Answer – W. S. C. Acree. He rides in the engine while the train is in motion, and the rear brakeman rides in the caboose, and he came until he met me, and he crossed over and went back. If everything is all right the conductor or myself signals ahead.

Q. Was the last inspection you made at Culpepper? Answer – That was the last inspection, yes, sir.

Q. What was the results of your inspection at Culpepper? Answer – The train was in condition, so far as I knew, except one journal on the box-car near the caboose, which was running a little warm, and I put in some cooling compound, what we call dope.

Q. That was not car 25,227, was it? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Mr. Greaver, do you remember approaching Bristow Station? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What was your speed, the speed of the train? Answer – To the best of my knowledge and belief between 23 and 25 miles an hour – not over 25 miles an hour.

CROSS EXAMINATION



By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Mr. Greaver, the ninth car from the engine, you did not inspect that because the fireman took that on the train of twenty- two cars? Answer – The front brakeman.

Q. So you had nothing to do with the car that caused the wreck? Answer – No, sir.
H. C. Hughes, another witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Hughes, what company are you working for now, and what company were you working for on the 23rd of February – I will say the 10th of February 1915? Answer – C & O

Q. How long have you been working for the C & O? Answer – About eight years.

Q. What is your position now with the C & O? Answer – Inspector.

Q. Inspector of what? Answer – Inspector of cars.

Q. What was your position the 10th of February, 1915? Answer – Car inspector?

Q. Where – at what point? Answer – Strathmore.

Q. On the 23rd of February were you? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. On what division was the C & O Railway system is Strathmore? Answer – It is on the James River Division.

Q. Mr. Hughes, did you inspect car 25,227 on the 23rd day of February, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What was the result of your inspection? Answer – OK

Q. Was the car then a part of a train when you inspected it? Answer – Yes, sir, it was made up in the train to leave there,

Q. It was made up in the train to leave there? Answer – Yes, on the main line.

Q. who inspected with you? Answer – No one at all. I am the only one there. There was but one man there.

Q. Now, what do you mean by saying that it was OK? Answer – No defect found – no trouble found with the car.

Q. Will you tell the court and jury how you inspected it? Answer – We inspect all running gear and journal boxes, arch-bars and box-bolts and column-bolts and brake beams and everything pertaining to the running of the car.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. What time did you inspect it? Answer – It was between one and two o’clock; I don’t know exactly

Q. In the day? Answer – In the day.

Q. You don’t know what was the matter with it five hours afterwards, do you? Answer – No, sir. I didn’t follow it up.

Q. You didn’t follow the train? Answer – No, sir. All I have is on the yard.

By Mr. Hall:

Q. How long did that car stay at Strathmore? Answer – It came in along between nine and ten o’clock in the day; it came in the same day it left there. It came in the morning, and left about one or two o’clock.

Q. Was it loaded when it got there? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And it went out loaded? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Have you any independent recollection of inspecting the cars? Answer – I inspected the whole train that this car went out in, and our records shows that this car was in the number. I do not make any report unless there is some exception.

Q. Did you make any record of that car? Answer – I did not keep a record unless I found a defect, and have to set the car out.

Q. The only reason you think there was no defect in the car is because you have no record of it? Answer – No, it was not that; there was no defective car there, and I have no record of it. If there is any defect, I cut out the defect.

Q. Do you cut the car out for any defect? Answer – No; if it is small I repair it, and if it is not , I set it out until it is repaired.

Q. Would it be easier for you to see that a car is in bad condition than to see that the holes in the box-bolts were elongated? Answer – How is that.

Q. The elongated holes in the box-bolt or defective tie-bar, which would be the easier? Answer – The defective tie-bar.

Q. That is easy to see? Answer – Yes, sir. You can’t see the holes because the bolts go through the holes in the arch-bar.

Q. How can you remember inspecting this whole train if you have no record of it? Answer – Just a record of what time the train went out. I didn’t take that record.

Q. What record have you got? Answer – The only thing in the world I have of the train going through is the number of the train, taking the car away, and the record in the office shows that this car was in there. Extra 592 there as second 410, and this car was in that train. That car was on the yard, and left with this train.

Q. What is that book? Answer – The book which has the engine number in it. I took this myself.

Q. It had the engine numbers? Answer – Yes, sir, that is at the time it went to the coal bin, I keep that tally.

Q. You put down the engine numbers in there, do you? Answer – Yes, sir. All the engine numbers that go to the coal bin.

Q. and you got this engine number what had gone to the coal bin on February 23rd ? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. When you were asked about the condition of this car, what did you do – go to the office and find out what cars had been there at Strathmore that day? Answer – No, sir, I went.to look to see what cars were in that train.

Q. Didn’t you have to go to the office with it? Answer – I didn’t have the cars in the train; there were four or five trains that day, and I didn’t know whether it was in 592, but I knew the cars on this train had left Strathmore, but I didn’t know the number. Q. You mean all the cars that left Strathmore that day were in good condition? Answer – I knew that the cars that engine 592 pulled away, that they had passed through there.

Q. When did you go to look that car up? Answer – I don’t remember the exact time.

Q. You don’t remember? Answer – No, sir.

Q. How many cars were in the train? Answer – There were twenty-one cars.

Q. How do you remember it? Answer – The records shows it. I haven’t the record at all.

Q. What record? Answer – The one that they keep in the yard office. They write up the record of the number of the trains, and what cars, and all.

Q. Who keeps it? Answer – The yard clerk.

Q. You did not keep the record? Answer – No.

Q. You did not keep any record or any inspection on February 23rd? Answer – I didn’t keep it of any cars, but of the train.

Q. And you have an independent recollection of having inspected car 25,227, and know it was in good condition? Answer – There was no record made of any cars that went out of there that day.

Q. Do you know how long that train stopped at Strathmore that day? Answer - Which train?

Q. The train in which this car was that you claim to have inspected? Answer – Do you mean from the time the car came there until it left?

Q. Yes. Answer – I don’t know exactly the time, but it came in between nine and ten o’clock that morning, and left between one and two. It shows the engine went to the coal bin at one o’clock. I don’t know what time it left the yard.

Q. How long did it take you to inspect that train of twenty-one cars? Answer – oh, about thirty minutes.

Q. That is a little bit over one minute to one car, isn’t it?




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