Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers

H. M. Eddins, another witness called on behalf of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows

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

Q. Mr. Eddins, what position do you occupy, if any, with the C & O Railroad? Answer – Train master.

Q. How long have you occupied that position? Answer – This is my first year as train master. I was assistant train master three years.

Q. Tell us any other positions you have occupied? Answer – Conductor and brakeman.

Q. Conductor on what, freight or passenger? Answer – Freight and passenger; brake first, and conductor, and then assistant train master, and train master.

Q. Were you at the scene of the wreck near Bristow on the 23rd of February, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Where did you come from to the wreck? Answer – From Richmond.

Q. You came on the same train with Mr. Brown and others? Answer – On the tool car.

Q. Did anybody join you at Gordonsville? Answer – Mr. Hudson, Mr. Button and Mr. Midkiff, I believe.

Q. What time did you get to the scene of the accident? Answer – 3.15 A. M. on the 24th

Q. Why did you come to the scene of the accident? Answer – We always accompany the tool car to accidents. We are always required to accompany the tool cars.

Q. For what purpose? Answer – To ascertain the cause of the accident and help clear the main line.

Q. After you arrived there, what did you do and what did you see? Answer – When we first arrived we had to run around the derrick at Nokesville to get it ahead of us, so as to have it ahead of the engine at the scene of the accident, and then we commenced to help clear the southbound main line in moving cars, etc.

Q. Did you examine car 25,227? Answer – Yes, sire.

Q. What did you find? Answer – I found that the tie-bar had broken through the hole- the bolt hole of the column bolt.

Q. Did you see the tie-bar yourself? Answer – I saw the end that was still on the truck.

Q. Did you examine it? Answer – Yes, sir, I was in company with more men who examined it.

Q. Could you ascertain the nature of the break, as to whether it was fresh, or not? Answer – Yes, sir, it was fresh.

Q. What else did you do, Mr. Eddins? Answer – I went back and directed the movement of the cars around the tool cars, and directed any movements necessary to clear the track.

Q. Did you go up to make an examination of the track? Answer – No, sir, I stayed right with the tool cars all the time afterwards.

Q. Did you see the other end of the arch-bar? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Of the tie-bar I meant to say? Answer – No, sir.

Mr. Browning: I want to ask a question we will perhaps have to lay a foundation for.

The Court: Yes, sir.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. You say you were conductor at one time of C & O freight trains? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Were you ever conductors of freight trains that ran past Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir, a good many of them.

Q. You examined this wreck, you say, thoroughly on the 23rd of February, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Now, don’t answer this until the court tells you: Were you ever present as conductor of a C & O freight train at any similar wreck to this, at or near the same point?

Mr. Mackey: When.

Mr. Browning: I will bring out in my next question.

Mr. Keith: You had better put it in the question.

Mr. Browning: If so, when?

Mr. Hall: We object to evidence of any other wreck unless you show the same conditions.

The Court: I think you had better ascertain when.

The Court: If there was any such occurrence, when was it? Answer – December 31st 1911.

Mr. Browning: Now, I want to ask about conditions.

The Court: Have you any objections?

Mr. Hall: Yes, sir, we object unless the track was in the same condition.

Mr. Mackey: And then only bearing on the question of notice to the Southern Railway as to the

condition of the track.

The Court: I sustain the objection unless they can show that the road was in the same condition.

Mr. Keith: And also that it was at the frog, and everything else.

Mr. Browning: We want to put in later, when the jury is absent, what we expect to prove.

The Court: Yes, but don’t forget it.


Note: At a later date during the trial, the following evidence was taken, not in the presence of the jury, in order to place in the record what Mr. Eddins would testify on the above point.
By Mr. Browning:

Q. You said in your examination a while ago, that you were there; when was that accident? Answer – December 31, 1911.

Q. Between what trains? Answer – No. 5 C & O and Southern extra 809, or 74 it was running.

Q. No. 5 C&O was it a freight or passenger train? Answer – A passenger train.

Q. Southern 809 was what? Answer - Southern freight train?

Q. In what direction was the C & O going. Answer – South.

Q. In what direction was 909 going? Answer – North.

Q. Where did the accident occur? Answer – Right in the cross-over at Bristow Station.

Q. The cross-over? Answer – Yes, sir, right in the station grounds.

Q. Nearest the station? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What occasioned this injury, if you know? Answer - I beg your pardon

Q. What caused the accident? Answer – An arch-bar broke on a tank car.

Q. Of what train? Answer – Southern 809, the third of fourth car from the caboose; three cars and the caboose turned over in front of out train. We were going south.

Q. You were at that time, the conductor of No. 5? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Where was the wreckage from 809 of the Southern deposited? Answer – Right in the cross-over, in the station grounds.

Q. On what track? Answer – On the northbound track. One tank car turned over next to the store there, or Post Office, or something.

Q. Was all the wreckage on the northbound track? Answer – The caboose car of this 809 turned across the southbound track in front of our engine, and knocked it over there at that store, or a part of it.


By Mr. Mackey:

Q. How far was this wreck of December, 1911, south of the wreck which took place on February 23rd 1915? Answer – Right from the point that the 1915 wreck was derailed where they turned over?

Q. Yes. Answer – I reckon it is near a half a mile. I judge so. It is from the bridge up to the station.

Mr. Mackey: It is ruled out on the objection of the Southern, I understand?

The Court: Yes.

By Mr. Keith:

Q. Are you able to say, Mr. Eddins, that the condition of the track south of Bristow, at the time of the accident of December 31, 1911, was the same as it was on February 23rd, 1915. Answer – I would not like to say that it was. I was a brakeman and conductor on that district for the C&O people. And I have rode over it a thousand times, and I would not like to say it was the same as in 1915.

Q.You would not like to say the Southern has not put in a new roadbed and ballasted its roadbed, and put in new frogs and switches, and done what was necessary in the way of getting a proper alignment of the track between those dates? Answer – Up to 1912 they had not done any of it because I rode over it daily, or nearly daily.

Q. Subsequent to 1912? Answer – I would not like to say.

Q. Isn’t it a fact that you don’t know? Answer – No, because I was promoted at that time to the position I now hold.

Q. Then you don’t know what was done after 1912? Answer – No.

Note: The court rules out the testimony, and an exception is noted on behalf of the Chesapeake &

Ohio Railway Company.

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

Q. Mr. Douglas, by whom are you employed? Answer – C & O Railway.

Q. By whom were you employed on the 3rd of March, 1915? Answer – C & O Railway.

Q. What is your position? Answer – I am supervisor of track, Peninsula District.

Q. What was your position at that time? Answer – Supervisor of track.

Q. How long have you occupied that position? Answer – Twenty-six years.

Q. Mr. Douglas, where were you on the 3rd of March, 1915? Answer – I was in the company of – I was at Bristow.

Q. What were you doing there? Answer – Inspection the Southern Railway track.

Q. With whom were you? Answer – Mr. Seldon and Mr. Meredith.

Mr. Hall: We have same objection to this gentlemen’s evidence.

The Court: I over-rule it.

Mr. Hall: Will you ask the same questions as of the others.

Mr. Mackey: If they have proven the conditions were the same by some other witnesses, they

don’t have to prove it again.

The Court: That is right, so I will over-rule the objection, and I wish to state that I over-rule it

and that it has been proven and no contradiction that there had been any change in the track for ten days at least south of the station before this.

Mr. Hall: Except by rain.

The Court: The witness said that the rain could not change it. They said they could see from

looking at the depressed joints that the rain could not have affected it.

Mr. Keith: I think that is a matter that the jury knows as much about as they do.

The Court: Very likely they do. The jurors are all practical men. I over-rule the objection, and

Mr. Stenographer, note an exception.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. Mr. Douglas, did you examine the Southern Railway tracks at Bristow from the place of the accident a little north of Broad Run Bridge, to a point half a mile south of Bristow Station? Answer – I did.

Q. In company with the gentlemen you mentioned awhile ago? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Well, what was the result of your examination of the track from Bristow and half – mile south? Answer – I found the track rough in a good many places.

Q. Well, now, say if you please, Mr. Douglas, in detail what you mean by “rough”? Answer – Low joints and low places, and the track out of line.

Q. Now, what do you mean by the track being out of line? Answer – I mean the rail out of its proper line.

Q. What effect, Mr. Douglas, does that sort of track have upon freight cars going over it? Answer – It would cause the cars to ride rough and choppy, as we railroad men term it.

Q. What effect would that sort of track have upon the iron equipment of loaded cars?

Mr. Keith: You have not shown that he knows, or that he has any expert knowledge that anyone

else does not possess.

Mr. Browning: What has been your experience with car machinery and equipment? Answer – A

track of that kind.

Mr. Keith: Wait a minute.

The Court: First he wants to know whether your experience would give you any better

knowledge or information on that subject than these gentlemen who sit before you. Have you had any experience than any other ordinary man living along the railroad track.

Witness: I have.

Mr. Browning: What is that experience? Just mention it? Answer – My experience at other

wrecks and observation for the past 35 years. Q. With car equipment? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. What effect, then, Mr. Douglas ---

Mr. Keith: We object as it has not been shown he has any experience.

The Court: I over rule it. Note an exception.

Note: Exception is noted by counsel for Southern Railway.

By Mr. Browning:

Q. What effect would that condition of track affecting the cars, as you said it would effect the cars, what effect would it have upon the iron equipment, tie-bars, etc? Answer – I think it is liable to cause breaks of different description to the running gear.

Q. Now, you say you examined that track; did you examine it through the station, just along past the station, or opposite the station? Answer – I did

Q. To a point within five hundred feet of the bridge? Answer – I did.

Q. Five hundred feet from the station going north? Answer – I did.

Q. What was the condition of that track?

Mr. Mackey: Now, if your Honor please, there was evidence that, that had been changed since the


The Court: No. I think the evidence is from the station five hundred feet there had been no

change, but from there on to the wreck there had been change.

Mr. Mackey: Yes. Answer – I found the track at that point in better condition than the track south

of Bristow Station. Q. How about the track right through the station – right through the village? Answer – The track was rough along through the station. Q. Mr. Douglas, would you call that track, the condition in which you found it, a standard track? Answer – I would not. Q. In standard condition? Answer – I would not.


By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Could you tell, by looking at the track south of the station, on March 3, whether any change had taken place in its condition since February 23rd? Answer – I could.

Q. Had any change taken place in its condition? Answer – I think not.

Q. It was, in your opinion, in the same condition that it was on February 23rd? Answer – There was every indication that it was.

By Mr. Keith:

Q. Mr. Douglas, do you know about the rain that took place between February 23rd and March 3rd? Answer – No sir.

Q. You don’t know that there was any rain, do you? Answer – No, sir, not at that place.

Q. You do not undertake to say that there was not some rain, do you? Answer – No, I don’t know anything about 100 miles away.

Q. What would be the effect of rain on the track in respect to low joints and sloppy joints, and so on? Answer – That would depend on the proper drainage of the track.

The Court: What would have been the change, if any, upon that track that you saw there? Answer

– I don’t think there would be any material change.

By Mr. Keith:

Q. Isn’t it a fact that practically all tracks are affected by rain – a great majority of tracks are affected by rains, and are made soft? Answer – Not all tracks, no sir.

Q. I didn’t say all tracks, but isn’t it a fact that the majority of tracks are made soft by rains, and that it has a tendency to make a joint work down, or become sloppy, as you say, or to make the joint low? Its not that the usual effect of rain on the average track? Answer – Well that is the effect on the average track. It depends upon the rain and the kind of track. It doesn’t make all tracks that way.

Q. You did not make any complaint to the Southern Railway Company about that track being in dangerous condition to run cars over, did you? Answer – No, sir, I did not.

Q. And you did not as a matter of fact, consider it dangerous did you? Answer – I did not.

Q. And the fact that all the other cars on that train that went over there without breakage, indicated that there was not any danger in the track, so far as the track was concerned? Answer – Put that question again?

Q. I say the fact that all the other cars of the train went over the track without any breakage indicated that there was not anything substantial the matter with the track? Answer – No, I don’t say that. As I stated, the track was rough at a great many places.

Q. How can you explain that this one particular tie-bar broke, and none of the others did. Answer – I don’t propose to explain it.

Q. You can’t explain it? Answer – It is not for me to explain. I don’t know.

Q. Did you take any memorandum of the condition of that track? Answer – I did not.

Q. And yet you were there inspecting it for the very purpose of coming here to testify about it? Answer – The notes were made by Mr. Selden at our consent.

Q. But you don’t know what is on his notes? Answer – I read the notes as he made them.

Q. But you haven’t got them here. Did you undertake to specify how many low joints you found half mile south of Bristow? Answer – Not any special number.

Q. You did not undertake to indicate where you found those low joints? Answer – It was indicated in the notes and in the letter.

Q. Only in a very general way? Answer – That there were low joints.

Q. Only in a very general way; who was that letter written to? Answer – Mr. Knapp?

Q. Who is Mr. Knapp? Answer – Superintendent.

Q. Of the C & O? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. That has been over a year ago, hasn’t it? Answer – Yes, sir, over a year ago.

Q. And you inspected that track from Bristow to Nokesville, didn’t you? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And yet you are undertaking to come here a good deal over a year after, and tell the jury what was the condition of that track one half mile south of Bristow by memory only; is that so? Answer – My statement by memory.

Q. And you have been inspecting tracks ever since that time on your own line o railroad? Answer – I have.

Q. You have inspected how many miles of track possibly on your own railroad since that time? Answer – I don’t know.

Q. Possibly hundreds of thousands of miles? Answer – I don’t know. It is my business to inspect all the time.

W. B. Gentry, recalled for further examination on behalf of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, testified as follows:
By Mr. Browning:

Q. Captain, will you state whether any change was made in the make-up of your train from the time it left Strathmore until the wreck? Answer – No, no change.

Q. The same cars that were put in the train were brought to Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir, were brought to Bristow.
W. J. Sullivan, the plaintiff, in rebuttal, testified as follows:
By Mr. Mackey:

Q. I just want to ask this question: When did you have your last epileptic spasm? Answer – Between seven and eight o’clock this morning.

Q. Do you know this witness O’Neal who testified that he was a foreman at the Steel Plant? Answer – I have known him for a month or a month and a half, as long as he was foreman in that department. I don’t know just how long.

Q. Did he come to your house a few days before he discharged you? Answer – Three or four days.

Q. Tell the jury what he said to you when he came there about keeping you or discharging you? Answer – He saw my eyes were failing me on the machine ---

Q. Just state what he said to you? Answer – He wanted $50.00 to retain me.

Q. Just tell the jury exactly what he said, and what you said to him about the $50.00. Answer – Well, he wanted the $50.00 to peek me. He meant to keep me there, I guess, as long as I wished to stay, or, in other words, if I left there it would not be his fault. I told him I was under heavy expense, and had no money to give him, and there was no possible use, and he didn’t seem to like it very much, and when I went a couple of nights he returned a double amount of scrap work to me, and I had to pay more than what I got.

Q. What did he say at your house? Answer – He said if I would give him $50.00 he would keep me at the Steel Plant.

Q. How were you rated at the Steel Plant? What was your position, and how were you carried on the pay rolls? Answer – I went as helper at 20 cents an hour, and two cents extra an hour if I worked night work. That is from four in the evening until midnight, of from two until six in the morning. I left there the same way.

Q. Was your rating as helper at 20 or 22 cents an hour changed while you were there? Answer – They had a new rating which took effect on the first of February.

Mr. Hall: That is not rebuttal.

The Court: He stated it before.

Mr. Mackey: He didn’t state it, but I asked the witness on cross examination.
Mrs. W. J. Sullivan, on behalf of the plaintiff, in rebuttal, testified as follows:
By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Mrs. Sullivan, do you know Mr. O’Neal of the Steel Plant? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you ever see him out at the Steel Plant, or did he come to your house? Answer – He has been to the house, but I have never been to the Steel Plant.

Q. How many days was it before your husband’s service ended at the Steel Plant that you saw Mr. O’Neal? Answer – I really couldn’t tell you exactly the days.

Q. About how many days? Answer – I suppose, as near as I can remember, it was three or four days, but perhaps not quite that much, or maybe greater.

Q. What time of day or night did he come to your house? Answer – Between one and two o’clock.

Q. In the day? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How long did he remain there? Answer – I couldn’t exactly tell you, but I suppose an hour or maybe three-quarters.

Q. I have never talked to you about his visit there, or Mr. Patterson? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What conversation did you hear between him and your husband? Answer – I heard a conversation of him offering him $50.00, or him asking my husband to give him $50.00 to hold his position at the Steel Plant.

Q. What did your husband say? Answer – That he didn’t have it.

Q. What did Mr. Neal say? Answer – They were both talking very low, and that is the most I heard of it.


By Mr. Hall:

Q. You say Mr. O’Neal stayed there three-quarters of an hour? Answer – I didn’t pay but very little attention. I went about my work.

Q. Quite a long time? Answer – He might not have been there that long.

Q. You were doing something about the house? Answer – I don’t know exactly, but it was between one and two o’clock that he was there.

Q. They were in a different room? Answer – No; our dinning room and parlor are all together. I was in the dinning room and heard the conversation.

Q. And they talked to the best of your knowledge how long? Answer – Let us see how near you can fix it? Answer – I say it was about three-quarters of an hour, and it might not have been that long.

Q. Would you say that it was at least half an hour? Answer – I don’t know.

Q. Did you hear them talking about anything but offering the $50.00 Answer – That is all I heard.

Q. Was it a pleasant conversation? Answer – That is all I heard about the $50.00. He said that was all I could state that I heard.

Q. You didn’t here any fuss or any noise? Answer – No, sir.

Q. No protest about bad treatment by Mr. Sullivan, and no protest about being require to pay the $50.00? Answer – I heard him say if he didn’t pay it he would loose his job.

Q. That is something you heard that you did not state a few minutes ago? Answer – That is what I heard.

Q. And you only heard them talking a few minutes? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You don’t know whether it was thirty minutes or fifteen? Answer – No. It may have been half an hour or three-quarters.

Q. And it might have been over an hour? Answer – No, it was not over an hour.

Q. How do you know it was not over an hour? Answer – I know by my own judgment.

Q. Can’t you exercise that judgment and say whether it was half an hour or an hour? Answer – No.

Q. It was between half an hour and an hour? Answer – I couldn’t state exactly.

Q. That is the only thing you heard in that conversation? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Mr. O’Neal said that if he would give him $50.00 he would stay at the Steel Plant. Answer – That he would hold his job, and would see that it was held.

Q. Do you know any reason why Mr. Sullivan did not report that to the Steel Pant’s general foreman? Answer – I do not. I was never at the Steel Plant.

Q. What did Mr. Sullivan say to you about the conversation? Answer – I ask him about it, why they had such a conversation, and he told me that is what he told him.

Q. He looked angry? Answer – I couldn’t tell whether he was angry or not. I don’t think he liked it.

Q. He was not worried about it? Answer – I don’t know. He didn’t tell me but very little about it. I asked him before he even told me.

Q. You had to ask him before he mentioned it? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And then it dropped through, and he didn’t say anything more? Answer – I don’t know whether he did, or not.

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