What the newspapers said

This is a continuation of newspaper coverage of the car line and associated events. This page begins with 1901 and works into 1904.. Coverage gets pretty spotty, leading me to wonder if the DEMOCRAT was miffed at the railway and simply tried to ignore it. When time permits, I need to look at the other newspapers for this time frame and see if we can fill in some blanks -- particularly regarding accidents and the outcomes of the various suits and injunctions.

  Engineers Ordered

TO BEGIN PREPARATION FOR STREET PAVING AT ONCE.

Street to be Widened at Schwegman's Corner

   The city council met in adjourned session Monday night with all of the members present except Kaspar.

   Mr. Barnes reported that the special committee of which he was chairman had called upon the Superintendent of the street railway to make knows the wants of Council and had been accorded a respectful hearing by the company's representative. He reported that the light at the intersection of Front and Locust streets had been furnished, the schedule for running care re-arranged so as to give us a 20 minute service between Pomeroy and Middleport which was satisfactory to the members of the committee and that the company had agreed to repair damages to the streets as fast as possible. They are at present spending about $250 a month in leveling up their track and putting in necessary ballast.

   Mr. Dains of the special committee to confer with George Schwegman with a view to buying a corner off his lot for the purpose of widening the street reported that Mr. Schwegman would give the desired strip of land if the city would remove and replace the wall and build a sidewalk in front of his lot on Front street. The proposition was accepted. The expense will be abut $125.              D  2/21/1901


NOTE: The edition of 4/25/01 contained lengthy articles regarding "another great flood -- the third greatest in the memory of man." (The other floods occurred in 1884 and 1898. According to the report, the river rose 40 feet in 48 hours! The part of the story as regards the street railway follows.

   The Street Railway is probably the greatest loser of all. Four-fifths of their track is under water and while it cannot be told as yet, what the extent of the injury will be, it is almost sure to mount far into the thousands. The most of the track was ballasted with cinder from the salt furnaces and this is sure to wash away leaving the track in bad shape. They will be lucky if some of the track proper is not washed away, especially where it runs close to the river bank and the retaining walls were not completed. Their big tressels (cq) between here and Racine are far under water and will most surely be wrecked if not floated away altogether. They were not weighted down as it was impossible to secure freight cars after the danger was discovered. The company was forced to abandon its service Friday, the water coming on the track in many places and a big slip shutting them off near Robt. Hughes'. One of the Racine cars was caught above the slip and was left on the high ground at Syracuse. The others were taken to Gravel Hill, with the exception of a couple left standing in front of Schwegman's store. The water is five or six feet deep in the car barns although the power house is several feet above the water. Almost the entire track will have to be straightened up and re-ballasted and it will be many weeks before the full service can be resumed.      D  4/25/1901

Flood Echoes.

LOSS OF PROPERTY LESS THAN ESTIMATED LAST WEEK.

What Was And What Might Have Been -- Notes Of the Big Freshet.

   The great flood of 1901, which was at its height when the DEMOCRAT went to press last week, was in many respects a record breaker -- as floods go. There never was another flood that came with such suddenness and retired with such hesitancy, and there never was a flood of such proportions that resulted in so slight damage to the property throughout Pomeroy Bend.

   When the river fairly began rising, as recorded last week, the waters crawled up the bank with such rapidity that within the short space of 48 hours it fell less than 18 inches. This was fully as surprising as the rapid rise.

   The damage, which at the flood's height was estimated at from forty to sixty thousand dollars turned out to be only about one-fifth of that amount, not counting the lost salt or loss occasioned by the suspension of business. She street railway, which it was expected would be washed away in many places and greatly damaged in others was found upon the receding of the waters to be all in place with the exception of one of the tressels (cq) on the upper end, which was only slightly displaced. The cars between this city and Middleport were running Sunday afternoon -- almost as soon as the rails showed above the water. D  5/2/1901

[Like we used to joke: "Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story." Despite the reported calamity, apparently the car line was closed for less than two full days.]

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Killed A Horse.

   A street car ran into a horse at Minersville last Thursday and injured it so badly that it had to be killed. The house belonged to M. L. Lambert of East Letart and Mr. Lambert was injured about the legs in the accident but not seriously.

   He had unhitched from his wagon during the heavy storm and left the wagon standing near the car track. After the storm he brought the team out to again hitch to the wagon, but had only gotten the breast chain fastened when the car came along. The horse became frightened and backed around onto the track wad was hit on the hip and badly injured. Lambert, who was beside the horse trying to keep him off the track was knocked against the tongue of the wagon and injured as before stated.

   The horse was shot to put it out of its misery. D  6/13/1901

Sunday Concerts.

   The street railway company has arranged to give a series of Sunday concerts by some of the biggest musical organizations beginning next Sunday afternoon with an open air concert at Syracuse. A week later Racine will likewise be favored.

   The splendid patronage the company is receiving on Sunday's has brought this about, Manager Furbay desiring to show his appreciation in some way.

   Syracuse will be the "mecca" for pleasure riders next Sunday.  D  6/13/1901

[Not quite as glorious as building a trolley park at the end of the line to increase rider ship, but not too shabby. I wonder on which side of the fare zone the Syracuse concert will be held?]

 

STREET RAILWAY SUED

Middleport Wants $2500 for Damage to her Streets.

   The village of Middleport, by her attorneys, Russell and Russell, filed a suit against the Ohio River Electric Railway and Power Company and John Blair MacAfee last Saturday, for $2500 for damage to the streets of that village.

   The petition which is sworn to by Mayor J. H. Williams sets forth that in the construction of the street railway track it became necessary to make a large excavation in the center of the street and that in so doing a large amount of dirt and other material was thrown to the side of the track and allowed to remain there thus hindering travel and obstructing the flow of water and causing a nuisance.  D  7/11/1901

[Notice they've added "and Power Company" to the name.]

 

CRUSHED TO DEATH

Jack Keiser Fatally Injured While Walking on Street Railway Track.

   John Keiser was run over and fatally injured while walking on the street car track just above the Charter Oak Coal tipple Monday afternoon. One leg was severed near the body and the shock of the accident with other injuries sustained caused his death abut seven o'clock the same evening.

   It was the big electric motor with a freight car attached that ran over him and the train was in charge of Ed Mitchell and Charley Price two of the employes of the street railway company.

  Keiser was walking up the street with an empty barrel on his shoulder and when just above the coal tipple met a team, and to allow it to pass stepped over onto the track just as the motor and car was passing. He was knocked down and the wheels passed over him, injuring him as before stated.

   The freight car was being pushed ahead of the motor  and it was difficult for the trainmen o se ahead, but both Mitchell and Price say that only an instant before the accident they observed that the track ahead was clear and had just turned on a mottle more electricity to carry them up the hill at Schwegman's corner.

   Drs. Hysell and Gribble were called at once and amputated the crushed leg but the shock was so great that the injured man never rallied.

   Keiser was 47 years old, unmarried, and was a noted character in this city. He was addicted to strong drink and never over-looked an opportunity to get full, but he was harmless and had some good traits of character.

   He was buried Wednesday afternoon in the cemetery back of Minersville. D 10/24/1901

[Apparently the brakeman never thought about actually riding on the end of the car so the motorman could know what was ahead -- although the car was probably 40 feet or less in length. How sober was the victim?] 

 

ELECTRIC LIGHT PLANT SOLD

Street Railway Company Absorbs it and Will Hereafter run It.

   Judge J. P. Bradbury and I. L. Oppenheimer, acting for the street railway company have purchased the Pomeroy and Middleport Electric Light company and it will shortly become the property of the street railway.

  The deal was closed Tuesday and part of the purchase money paid over and the whole matter will be closed up in a few days.

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The light plant was owned by Pomeroy and Athens capitalists and the claim has always been made that it was not a paying investment. This though was not because the city did not pay well for the light she is receiving. The new owners Say that the service will be able to furnish light during the day as well as at night, using the same power that propels their cars for that purpose. This of itself will be a great advantage to those who have dark rooms as well as those who desire power to run motors, operate elevators, etc.

   Judge Bradbury is the new president, succeeding Ira Graham, and I. L. Oppenheimer is a director in place of E. S. Trussell.  D 12/19/1901

[Makes it sound like electricity was available only at night. The management structure sounds kind of hinky as well -- Oppenheimer is a director of the plant that furnished electricity to the car line that he superintends. And Judge Bradbury seems to be pretty friendly too. Bet he gets free rides!]

Wrought Up.

COUNCIL DEMANDS THAT STREET RAILWAY REPLACE THE CAR TAKEN OFF MONDAY.

Committee Appointed to Confer With Company Regard to Street Work.

   The City Council met in special session Tuesday night with all members present. The meeting was called to take some action to compel the street railway to replace the short line car recently taken off.

   It seems that the people living between Schwegman's corner and the trestle at Hughts' are greatly put out by the new arrangement and want the displaced car put back on as it will greatly improve the service as it applies to them. The miners living down town who work in Baer's and Malone's mines are also complaining because they are unable to reach their work without waiting for a through car that runs only once an hour.

   When Council convened President David stated the object of the meeting and Mr. Kaspar called for the reading of the ordinance granting the franchise so that the members might have a better knowledge of the terms and provisions of that instrument. The clerk complied and everything in the record touching upon the matter was gone over.

   The ordinance provides for a 15 minute schedule between Pomeroy and Middleport and a hone hour service to Racine. The service has never been any better than every 20 minutes between this city and Middleport, but as this has always been ample to accommodate the travel no complaint has been made. If Council should demand it however there is no doubt that they could compel the running of cars every 15 minutes, which would necessitate the changing of all of the switches.

   The reading of the ordinance developed another condition that has been almost entirely overlooked and has never been complied with. That is a 3 cent fare for children between five and ten years, in addition to the low rate for school children during school months. During all the time that the road has been in operation a five cent fare has been charged children when they have been required to pay at all, but now that the provision has been brought to the attention of the company they will probably accept the lower rate hereafter in compliance with their agreement.

   Judge Bradbury and C. E. Peoples, attorneys for the road and I. L. Oppenheimer, Superintendent, were present and spoke in favor of the new schedule, which they thought was equally as good as the old one as it gave a better service to Syracuse and Racine in return for the small inconvenience to the people between Schwegman's corner and Hughes' trestle. The company proposed the appointment of a committee to confer with the Street railway with a view to compromising the matter, but this Council opposed, unless the extra car was put on pending a settlement. This, the company said was impossible without the leave f the general manager, Mr. MacAfee.

   Finally after much talk on both sides, Mr. Clifton moved the appointment of a committee to confer with the Superintendent of the street railway relative to a change in the schedule and also to take up the matter of certain improvements to the streets which were damaged by the building of the Street railway, the same to make a report at the next regular meeting of Council. This called for another long discussion but finally the motion was put and carried, Davis of the 3d Ward and Weeks of the 1st voting no. The chair appointed Messrs. Kaspar, Lloyd and Skinner the committee to confer.

   Judge Bradbury counsel for the company stated that the wording of the ordinance was such that if Council compelled them to put on a 15 minute service between Middleport and Pomeroy against their will they could comply by running one car back and fourth over the line dividing the two villages.

   There is small danger of the company attempting such a thing however as they would be no money in such a move and they would soon tire of doing it for spite.                     D  11/20/1902

[Let's see here. The line has been in operation for two years and they're just discovering the fares are incorrect. And they've just discovered the schedule doesn't match with the franchise agreement. Apparently the passing sidings were spaced to allow for 20 minute headways when the line was built. Such a big rock to overturn because of one trip taken off. And did you notice nothing's really said about what time the trip ran, and if anybody rode it?]

 

   (Continued below.)

(Continued from above)

Stoned a Street Car.

   Jacob Botzell of the First Ward is in Jail and in a fair way to go to the penitentiary for stoning a street car on Tuesday afternoon.

   He rode up town on the car of which Morton Webster is conductor and had some disagreement with Mr. Webster and when he got off at the Gold Mine store picked up a rock and hurled it at the car, striking it just below the window and exactly in line with Richard Needs who was sitting in the car.

   When the car reached Schwegman's corner Deputy Marshal Arnold was notified and came down and arrested Botzell and brought him to jail but when in front of the bastile the prisoner broke and ran, outfooting the officer and excaping through the back of the lots near Mr. Vorhes' residence.  The Marshal followed him however and in an hour or so found him and again took him in tow, landing him in jail. He was given a hearing before Squire Titus Wednesday and was held to answer to the grand jury in the sum of $500 which bail he was unable to furnish and was returned to Jail.

  The offense is a serious one, the penalty being a term in the penitentiary. Only a few years ago a Meigs county man was sent up for a year for a similar offense.

   Botzell s a hard working man but is in the habit of getting drunk and boisterous,  D 11/20/1902

 

Will Bring Suit.

COUNCIL WILL GO TO COURT TO COMPEL THE STREET RAILWAY

To Comply With Terms of Franchise

   The City Council at their regular meeting Monday decided by a unanimous vote of the members present to bring suit against the street railway to compel the latter to live up to the terms of its franchise both in the matter of running cars and also with regard to damages done Front Street in building the road, which damage Council, says has never been repaired. The action was taken upon motion of Mr. Kasper of the Second Ward, seconded by W. S. Davis of the Third Ward, and the vote of the five members present was all one way. Messrs. Skinner, Clifton and Weeks were absent.

   Mr. Kaspar reported that the committee of which he was a member had called upon the street railway people with a view to seeing whether or not they would replace the short line car recently taken off, and that they were informed that under no consideration would it be replaced. The committee had asked that the car be placed in service during the rush of travel this month but this the company refused to do. He thereupon made the motion that the City solicitor be instructed to bring suit against the company for failure to comply with the terms of their franchise which carried as before stated.

   This action is equivalent to a suit of ouster and if it is successful the street railway company will have its franchise revoked. D 12/4/1902

 

Fell Off Car.

   Jim Pence of Kerrs Run, pitched headlong off a street car as it was rounding the curve at Mrs. Reuter's store in the lower end of town Saturday afternoon, alighting on the sidewalk on his head and injuring him so severely that for a while it was feared that he would die.

   He was under the influence of drink and insisted on standing on the back platform against the protest of the conductor and when the car whirled around the curve he pitched out head-first much after the fashion of the small boys who dive off the barges into the river.

   He was taken to his home at Kerrs Run and a doctor summoned and it was found that he was considerably injured about the head but not at all dangerously. He is now confined to his home and complains of a terrible pain in his head.  D  12/25/1902

OUSTER SUIT FILED.

Solicitor Russell Gets Into Court With His Suit Against Street Railway.

   The suit to oust the Pomeroy and Middleport Street Railway for failure to comply with the terms of its franchise, as ordered by the City Council was filed in the office of the Clerk of Courts Saturday.

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This is a replica of an advertisement in the 7/31/1902 newspaper. The original was too yellowed to reproduce. It raises the question again: Where was the end of the car line? At this point, apparently in Gravel Hill rather than Hobson.

The suit is for $5000 damage to the city and asks that the street railway be enjoined from hauling freight cars during daytime, from charging more than 3 cents for a single cash fare for children between the ages of 5 and 10 years, from charging more than 5 cents for children traveling between Middleport and Racine, and also to require the street railway to run cars every 15 minutes between Pomeroy and Middleport and every hour between Middleport and Racine. If the company fails to comply with these requests, within a reasonable time, to be fixed by the court, the petition asks that the rights, privileges and franchises be adjudged forfeited and forever held for naught.  D  1/8/1903

[More confusion over the name again.]

 Street Car Accident.

   The second through car from Syracuse ran into the Standard Oil Company's team and wagon at Syracuse Wednesday morning and badly injured one of their fine horses. It is said that the team was standing on the track without any driver when the car came along and the motorman was unable to stop in time to prevent the accident.     D  2/12/1903

 

  [The newspaper ran a lengthy column each week of what I'd call gossip for lack of another term. This usually started on the first page and ran over to an inside page. Several such items herewith.]

   Motorman Jewell of the street railway, came near meeting with a serious accident, Saturday morning. He was on top of a freight car coming down the hill this side of Syracuse and failing to duck sufficiently as he passed beneath one of the cross wires that support the trolley wire, it caught him square in the face, cutting a gash across his nose, bruising his eye and knocking him down on top of the car with sufficient force to open an ugly gash in his head. He clung to the top of the car and escaped further injury.   D 9/10/03

 G. W. Burson of Rockspring, had a close call for his life, Tuesday evening while returning home from this city. He was driving along onthe street car track above the Chartar (cq) Oak Mine, when a car came along in charge of Motorman Seth Thomas and Conductor Stowe and as it was very dark he was not noticed until the car was upon him. The caar struck the rear end of the wagon knocking him out and cutting an ugly gash in his head and injuring him severely. No blame attaches to the crew of the car as it was impossible to stop the car in time to prevent the collision. The wagon was wrecked and the front end of the car demolished, but the team escaped injury.   D  12/24/1903

Waters Receding

RIVER GETTING BACK INTO CHANNEL AFTER REACHING HEIGHT OF ALMOST 50 FEET

Considerable Damage Done in Pomeroy Bend. -- Flood Notes.

   The river reached its highest mark at noon, Tuesday, remained stationary during the 

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afternoon and began to slowly recede at night. The waves lapped the steps of all the stores from the New York Clothing House to Dr. Owens' block, but did not get upon the floor of a single business house, It was a close call and our merchants are all rejoiced that they escaped even by so small a margin. The present flood, while it has been exceeded in height scores of times, has been one of the most diastrous (cq) in the history of the Ohio Valley, barring always the memorable deluge of 1884. It came with such suddenness that most persons were taken by surprise, although the Government weather bureau did send out warnings as early as last Thursday which told of the great deluge of water from points above. The prophecies contained so little of fact and so much of prediction that little attention was paid to them.

[Some of article not legible.]

The Hocking Valley train managed to reach the depot upon its arrival at noon Monday, plowing through a foot or more water down at the railroad yards. This was its last trip up however, and passengers who left onn it that afternoon had to go down to the round-house by street car to board it. As soon as the ice and drift are removed it will be able to resume its trips up to the depot. This will probably not be later than this afternoon.

   The street car service was entirely suspended between this city and Racine Monday, and only two cars were in service between here and Middleport. The ice cut down scores of trolley poles between here and Racine and a mile or two of trolley wire is under the ice and probably carried away. It will be some time before the service can be resumed on the upper end of the line and the loss to the company will be very great.  D 1/28/1904

 

Street Railway Again in Operation.

   The street railway was hard hit by the recent break-up, and the upper end of the line was knocked out for almost two weeks.

   Many of the poles were cut down and washed away and a couple of miles trolley wire is still covered up by the mud, ice and drift and will be valuable only as so much scrap copper when recovered.

   By Monday evening the line was repaired so that the cars could get through to Hughes' trestle and Wednesday morning the service was resumed through to Racine. During the suspension there was almost no travel from up the river, the people not caring to go back to the old conveyances, such as prevailed before the advent of the street railway.  D 2/4/1904

[You have to wonder if they knew how much trouble it was going to be to maintain a line that was a stones-throw away from the river. So far they've had two major floods in just over three years of operation.]

 

 

 

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