What the newspapers said

This is a continuation of newspaper coverage of the car line and associated events. This page begins in 1904 and seems to contain an unusual amount of gore!.


Little Adrian Bunce Instantly Killed by Street Car Monday Night.

   Little Adrian Bunce, the 7-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Bunce, of Middleport was instantly killed Monday evening by street car No. 20 in charge of Motorman George Houdashelt and Conductor E. E. Stowe.

   The accident occurred at 6.50 o'clock just as the car was going onto the Middleport switch on the down trip, The car was just drifting along, as the current being entirely shut off as is the custom when going onto a switch, and the boy, who was engaged with others playing in the street was not seen until the car struck him. It seems that he attempted to cross the track directly in front of the moving car, and either did not see the car, misjudged the distance it was away, or stumbled and fell directly in front of it. The motorman says that he saw only a dark streak as if someone was falling against the front end of the car and he at once applied the break (cq) and brought it to a stand still within a few feet. When he alighted to see what had happened he found the boy beneath the front end of the car, directly beneath the motor which pinned him to the pavement. The forward wheels had not yet reached him but when he was pulled out it was discovered that he was fatally injured. he gasped only a couple of times and expired.

   From what we can learn no blame attacked to Motorman Houdashelt or Conductor Stowe, both of whom are careful and trusted employees of the Street car company. It is said that the boy came running swiftly, followed by several other boys of the same age, and they were evidently playing some childish game such as "catchers" or "tag." The fact that the motorman was able to stop his car before even the forward wheels reached the body would be evidence that the car was under perfect control.

   The child is said to have been an exceptionally bright little lad, and the pride of his parents and grand-parents. His untimely death is a terrible blow to them and was a great shock to the entire community. Motorman Houdashelt and Conductor Stowe were almost prostrated by reason of the shocking affair.

   Coroner Stewart held an inquest over the body Tuesday evening and his verdict will no doubt that the sad affair was purely an accident.

  Funeral services were held at the Christian church Wednesday afternoon with burial at the hill cemetery. A number of little boys served as pallbearers.

   This recalls the death of another Middleport boy, Vaughn Nichols, who was killed by an engine just one year ago. It seems that parents could not caution their children too much about carelessness when hear street cars or railroads.  D 2/25/1904

[Trolleys at that time usually lacked headlights, or if so equipped, had very dim ones. Remember also that this is before widespread use of automobiles, and the presence of railway equipment wasn't given too much thought. Even this accident happened in the center of the Middleport business district, apparently there wasn't much in the way of street lighting.]

Instantly Killed.


Had Lain Down on Track. --Car in Charge of Motorman Valandingham.

   Frank Love of the Second ward was crushed to death beneath the trucks on car No. 20 in charge of Motorman Valandingham and Conductor Stowe, Tuesday night. The accident occurred between 8 and 9 o'clock on a down trip, and in front of the battery of boilers of the Slagel Salt Works in the lower end of town.

   The accident occurred in a very dark place, just after the car turned the bend in the street at the old Peacock barn, and when the car itself prevented the electric light at the salt works from shining on the tracks. The motorman says that he did not see the man until he was upon him and then he seemed to be either sitting on the rail next to the sidewalk or kneeling across the rail. He applied the brakes at once but the car went a distance of fifty or fifty feet before it came to a stop, and when it did, and the mangled form of Love was pulled from beneath the trucks life was almost extinct. The body was laid on the porch of John Goins' house and if a few moments the end came.

   There was a big cut on the side of the head, one hand was badly mangled, a hip broked (cq), and there were probably internal injuries that were the immediate cause of death.




Here's Car #20, the subject of these two articles!

   Frank Love resided in the Second Ward and was an honest and hard-working man , but addicted to the use of liquor and it was undoubtedly because of his intoxicated condition that he met an untimely death. He had gone to the lower end of town to assist another drunken man home and it was when returning that he sat down or fell down on the track just as the car was approaching. Someone saw him a few moments before the accident and he was holding on to one of the posts which support the cross wires, and as the motorman says he was down on the track when he saw him, he probably fell outward from the pole when he attempted to leave it when he heard the car coming. His body was dragged along outside the rail which is within two or three feet of the curb at this point. The trucks did not pass over the body, but merely pushed him along on the rail until the car was brought to a standstill.

   So far as we have heard no one attaches any blame to the crew of the car for the accident. The motorman is an old and experienced man at the business, having come here from Cincinnati last fall, where he ran a car for years. The Company considers him the most capable man in its employ and he is usually employed at handling the big motor engine hauling freight. Conductor Stowe who was n the rear end f the car knew nothing of the accident until the car came to a stop.

   Car No. 20, which did the killing, seems to be ill-fated. It was No. 20 in charge of Motorman Houdashelt and Conductor Stowe, that killed little Adrian Bunce a few weeks ago.

   The body was at once taken in charge by undertaker Biggs and taken to the undertaking parlors and prepared for burial.

   The funeral will occur Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock from his late home in the Second ward.

  It is said that the decreased carried two small life insurance policies n the Metropolitan and Western and Southern Life Insurance companies. and also a policy in an accident company. Altogether the insurance will net the family about $600.  D 4/21/1904


Thos. Carpenter Ground to Death Beneath Wheels of Street Car.

   Thomas Carpenter, 65 years old, residing at Harmony, a few miles this side of Athens, was crushed to death beneath he wheels of a street car in front of S. A. M. Moore's residence shortly after 9 o'clock Monday night.

   The car, in charge of Motorman Houdashelt and Conductor Stowe was proceeding along at good speed, and when in front of Mr. Moore's residence the motorman saw something fall across the track directly in front of the car. He could hardly distinguish what it was, but feared the worst, and at once brought the car to a stop, and rushing  back a short distance found a man on the track bruised and bleeding as though badly injured.

   Dr. Hysell was at once called and the injured man, who was unknown to any one in the crowd, was taken in charge and conveyed to the Grand Dilcher Hotel, when it was found necessary to amputate his right leg, which was terribly mangled. He was also badly injured about the head, and Dr. Hysell at once pronounced his injuries as fatal.

   Tuesday morning it was learned that he was Thomas Carpenter, residing in Athens County, and who had been about town the day before in intoxicated condition

   The injured man lingered until about 9 o'clock Tuesday morning when he succumbed to his injuries.

   Deceased was married and leaves a wife and six children near Athens. One of his sisters, Mr. Elizabeth Hawkins resides near Rutland, and she 


was communicated with and came here Tuesday and took charge of the remains.

   Undertaker Hibbard of Athens came Tuesday also and took the body to Athens, where the funeral will occur.

   The dead man was an old soldier and drew a pension, but, it is said, was addicted to the use of liquor and spent most of his time in the saloons.

   No one, so far as we have heard, attached and blame to the crew of the car for the accident.  D 7/14/1904

[You don't suppose this was Car #20 again?]



Thomas Holt Ground to Death Beneath Wheels of Electric Motor.  

   Thomas Holt of Hartford, W. Va., was crushed to death beneath the wheels of the electric motor and three freight cars shortly after midnight, Saturday night at Kerrs Run. His brother James who was with him was severely injured at the same time but is recovering and will soon be able to go about.

  They came down from Hartford, Saturday and spent the day in town and it is said, drank heavily. They stayed around town until late at night when they started for home and when they were a short distance above the Charter Oak mine lay down on the street car track to sleep. They were there when the motor and three box cars, in charge of Motorman Houdashelt and Conductor Bearhs, and Seth Thomas, came along shortly after midnight bound for Racine, The motor was pushing the cars ahead and Merssrs Bearhs and Thomas were on the running board on the lookout for obstructions, while Houdashelt was in charge of the brake and controller. They saw nothing of the men until they had passed over them, cutting the one in two at the waist and knocking a hole in the hip of the other.

   The dead man was taken in charge by Undertaker Biggs, and Coroner Poindexter was notified and held an inquest; his verdict being that the man came to his death by accidentally being run over, while sleeping on the track.

   The dead man was married and leaves a wife and eight children. He was an industrious man but was addicted to strong drink and was often intoxicated.   D  9/15/1904

   J. W. Wolfe, Assistant Superintendent of the street railway, and who has been ill most of the winter, first having a severe siege of typhoid fever followed by several relapses, is in bad shape, having suffered another setback just at a time when is family and friends had hopes that he was on the road to recovery. Mr. Wolf has resided in this city since the advent of the street railway, and himself and estimable wife and daughter have made many friends among their associates. they are all hoping that the husband and father may speedily and fully recover from his long and dreadful illness.  D  1/26/1905

A Narrow Escape.

   Anna Bircher, the 8-year-old daughter of John Bircher of Middleport, came within a hair's breadth of being crushed to death beneath the wheels of a street car, Monday evening, and as it was, was badly injured and will be laid up for a long time. She attempted to cross the track directly in front of the car, which was going at full speed, the view of the car being cut off by a butcher wagon, which was standing in the street, and it was only by the lightning work of motorman Harlan Byers that her life was saved, She was knocked down on the track and the forward end of the car passed over her, but the car came to a stop before the wheels reached her.

   She was badly cut and bruised but the doctors say that she sustained no injuries that are likely to prove fatal.    D  5/11/1905


Street Car Conductor Named as Republican Candidate For Mayor.

   Conductor Morton Webster of the street railway was nominated for Mayor at the Republican primary, Saturday evening, defeating Ed ward by the comfortable majority of a hundred and forty votes.

   Ward carried the Second ward by a majority of ten votes, receiving, it is said, the solid vote of the brewery workers there. Webster won in each of the other three wards, making a regular whirlwind clean-up in the Fourth, where he received thirty-three votes to three for his opponent.  D  7/25/1905


(Continues below.)

(Continued from above.)



    William Allen, 35 years old, residing at Hartford, W. Va., was killed by being run over by a street car, late Thursday night. The accident occurred in the lower part of Syracuse directly in front of L. H. Bridgeman's residence, and the car, which was going up the road, came upon him as he sat on the track and injured him so that he died in a few hours.

   The car was in charge of Motorman Ed Borham and Conductor W. R. Scott, and the motorman did not distinguish the figure on the track until he was right upon it. It was impossible to stop the car in time to prevent the accident, as it was down grade and the car was going rapidly, although the brakes were applied and the current reversed.

  One leg of the unfortunate man was almost cut off and he was injured otherwise and never fully regained consciousness, and although an effort was made to save his life by amputating the mangled limb at Crooks' boarding house, where he was taken immediately after the occurrence, he succumbed to the shock of the accident.

   Deceased was a son of Mr. Allen, the merchant at Hartford, and it is said that he had a habit of sitting on the railroad track. Upon several occasions he has been found there and narrowly escaped being run over and had been warned repeatedly against the practice.

   The accident occurred at 9:25 o'clock and he died about five hours later and his body was taken in charge by Undertaker Briggs of this city and prepared for burial which took place Saturday at Letart. It was a sad but unfortunate occurrence but so far we have heard of no one who attached any blame to the crew of the car because of it.   D  8/17/1905

Crushed to Death.


Put Off a Car For Unbecoming Conduct, Drunken Man Goes To Sleep on Track.

   Walter Calmus, 31 years old, a deckhand on the towboat Henry Lowrey, was almost instantly killed by being run over by a street car a mile above Syracuse late Wednesday night of last week. He was drunk and had evidently laid down on the track to sleep. The front trucks passed over him, breaking one leg and crushing him abut the head and shoulders. He died in about twenty minutes.

   The boat on which the unfortunate man was employed was laid up a short distance above Racine, and Calmus and another man came to this city and filled up on "booze." They left for Racine on the last through car, both being under the influence of liquor. Calmus went asleep on the car, and would have gone through to the end of the line in safety, it is said, had it not been for his partner who aroused him in an attempt to take a bottle of whisky from him. When he awoke he was in bad temper and began using bad language and failing to desist when Conductor Scott requested him to do so, was put off the car near the company store building in the upper end of Syracuse. As he left the car he had a quart bottle of whiskey in his hand.

   The car proceeded to Racine and it was on the return trip that the man was killed. There were no passengers on the trip and Conductor W. R. Scott stood in the vestibule with Motorman Athey Chase, keeping a sharp lookout for fear that the man might be on the track. When near the residence of Wash Nease, an object was discovered across the track but it was mistaken for the shadow of a trolley pole until the car was almost upon it, when the horrible discovery was made that it was a man. The motorman applied the brakes, reversed the current and did all he could to bring the car to a stop, but without success, and the front trucks passed over the prostrate man, who made no movement to get out of the way. The conductor and motorman pulled the body from beneath the car and at once discovered that it was the man put off on the up trip. They carried him into the car and hurried on to Syracuse where Dr. Scott was called, but before he arrived the man had breathed his last. The body was brought here to Undertaker Biggs' establishment, where it was viewed by the coroner, who later examined a few witnesses and rendered a verdict holding the trainmen blameless.

   The dead man was of medium size, wit a short stubby mustache and on the right arm was tattoos a picture of clasped hands, and the following inscription: "Walter Calmus, 1874; married to Emily J. Jones, 1901."

   Calmus was the seventh person killed by being run over, since the opening of the street railway, five years ago.

   When the accident occurred, there was no one on the car except the motorman and conductor and it was a terrible shock to them. Motorman Chase was so effected that he was unable to operate his car and conductor Scott had to take charge of the brake and controller.

   Conductor Scott has handed in his resignation and says that he will never run another car. He was in charge of the car that killed a man named Allen in the lower part of Syracuse several months ago and he is determined that he shall not undergo the sensation a third time. His friends regret to see him leave the road, as he is one of the most popular conductors on the line and is careful and painstaking and neither of the accidents in which his car has figured was because of any carelessness on his part.  D 12/14/1905

Forced to Walk.


Will Being Suit For Damage and Test Legality of New Form of Ticket.

   R. B. Lawhead, manager of the Red Star Grocery in this city, but residing in Middleport, was ejected from a street car last Thursday night at the Slagel salt works and was forced to walk to his home in the lower end of Middleport. He was put off because of a failure 


 to produce the cover of his book of tickets along with the ticket itself, which is a new rule of the company, He presented the conductor a ticket issued by the company and which declared upon the face that it was "good for one fare," but because it was detached from the book in which it had been sold, the conductor refused to accept it and when Mr. Lawhead declined to tender a cash fare he was put off the car. He will sue the company for damages, setting up the injury and inconvenience t which he was put, as well as the humiliation to which he was subjected by being put off the car. Attorney M. S. Webster has his care in charge and it is said the suit will be filed in a few days.

   The new form of ticket which caused the unpleasantness has been in use several weeks and there has been almost continual we\wrangling between the conductors and the patrons of the road because of it. Many resented the idea of holding the book of tickets in view until the conductor came to take up the fare, being accustomed to tearing off one ticket and handing it to the man as he passed through the car. When they attempted this manner, after the advent of the new style of ticket, they were required to again produce the book, so that the man of the ticket punch might know that they had not received the ticket from someone else. This, many refused to do, insisting that their word that they had the book in their pocket should be sufficient. Some went to the extent of returning their books to the office and demanding the return of their money, and thereafter paying cash fares.

   The form of ticket was gotten up to encourage people to pay a full cash fare of five cents, instead of using the tickets  which cost but four cents when bought in quantities of one dollar's worth, It is proving a success, for many prefer to pay cash rather than submit to what they term the indignity of having to produce their "book" each time they ride, much is thought they were suspected of having come into possession of the ticket by some underhand method.

   The reason given for substituting the book form of ticket for the ordinary kind, used on all other street railways, was to circumvent some Middleport boys who were picking up pennies by buying tickets by the dollar's worth and selling them out one at a time, thus making a cent on each transaction. They had the little chaps "spotted" all right and for a while got the best of them by refusing to sell them tickets when they came to the office and presented their money, but the embryo financiers got to sending grown up people to make their purchases for them and were soon in business again, The new style of ticket, where the cover and stubs had to accompany every ticket, completely knocked then out, however.

   The chief objection to the new form of ticket, upon the part of the patrons of the line, is that it makes it necessary for each member of a family to buy a dollar's worth of tickets to take advantage of the fur-cent rate, pledged in the ordinance granting the company a franchise. Under the old rule, one member of the family could buy a dollar's worth of tickets and divide them around among the members of the family, who had occasion to use them, but this can no longer be done. Now each member must make a similar investment, for the tickets are no good if detached from the book. The man who goes to work -- at six o'clock can not tear out a couple of tickets for his wife who desires to come down an hour later to do the family marketing. Now the wife must have a book of her own or pay a cash fare, which sometimes works a hardship. Unfortunately, many people along the line of the street railway have not the means to provide each member of the family with a book of tickets.

   Many patrons of the road who have been discommoded by the new rule are encouraging Mr. Lawhead to bring his suit and some are going to the extent of pledging him financial aid, believing that to bring the matter into court will mean the abandonment of the obnoxious rule and restore the old style of ticket where a single ticket is just what it purports to be, a check good for one ride, whether accompanied by a stub and cover or not.

   The councils in this city and in Middleport are also being appealed to and it is believed that they will attempt some action at their next meetings. The members are being taunted with being afraid to act for fear the company will revoke their free passes and will no doubt goad them to action. They are being told that they should demand that the old style of tickets be restored at once and that if the company refuses to do so, that they should demand a full compliance with the terms of the franchise, which calls for a fifteen-minute service between here and Middleport and a three cent fare for children between the ages of five and ten years. The attention of the members of council is being called to these provisions which the people have suffered to be ignored up to this tie, but which they will insist upon being complied with if the obnoxious tickets are continued.  D  12/21/1905

  Another Suit.


Refusal to Carry Child For Fare Stipulated in Franchise.

   Trouble is piling up for the Ohio River Electric Railway and Power Company, which is the full name of the local street railway company. The damage suits brought by R. B. Lawhead because he was ejected from a car for failing to produce the stub of one of the 


company's tickets, had not yet been placed in the hands of the Clark of Courts, when another citizen John Kaspar, was after the corporation with a sharp stick.

   Mr. Kaspar was a member of the Council when the company was granted a franchise, and is therefore perfectly familiar with the terms of the agreement between the city and the company, and when the latter refused to carry out one of the plain provisions of its contract he thought it his duty to bring it to an accounting.

   The provision referred to is the one in which the company agrees to carry children between the ages of 5 and 10 years for half fare, but which has never been lived up to, and Mr. Kaspar, in his petition will recite that the company not only ejected his child from the car after it had tendered its three pennies in payment of its fare, but that his wife who was with the child was humiliated by the conductor in charge of the car.

   According to the story of Mr. Kaspar his wife and little son, just past 6 years old, boarded a car in the 2nd ward to go down to the 4th ward to call on the former's mother. Mrs. Kaspar aid her fare and was asked by the conductor if the child with her was 6 years old to which she replied in the affirmative. He told her that the boy would have to pay a fare also and the little chap shelled out his three pennies in payment. The conductor said he would have to pay full fare but the mother said she guessed not, as the company's franchise provided for half fare for children. The conductor said he would have to put the boy off, and stopped the car where the mud was shoe top deep, but Mrs. Kaspar refused to alight unless taken to a crossing, and the car was again started up and continued its run to the ticket office, when a stop was made and the boy told to get off. The mother left the car with him and says that after she had alighted from the car the conductor called to her not to get on his car and "attempt that truck again."

  Mrs. Kaspar says that she was greatly humiliated by being thus spoken to in the hearing of the other passengers.

   Mr. Kaspar had placed the mater in the hands of his attorney and a suit will be filed as soon as the matter can be gotten in shape.   D 1/11/1906


Prospects Said to be Brightening For Belpre and Pomeroy Line.

   T. W. Jackson of Belpre, O., and Dr. S. P. Deem of Tuppers Plains, were here Monday in the interest of the traction line from Belpre to Pomeroy, which was originally promoted by Col. Boone before he wandered off on a rainbow chasing expedition to the west of us, terminating in his cooperative hidden wealth and development company at Dyersville,

   Mr. Jackson, who is one of the substantial citizens of Belpre, says that there is a prospect for the building of the line between those points, as part of a chain of electric lines which will eventually extend from Pittsburg to Cincinnati. When the line is built, it must needs follow the route blazed by Boone, whose work was all right and entitled to support until he began following a will-o'-the-wisp, after reaching this city, which led him wherever a subscription was in sight.

   The road from Belpre to this city not only will have some excuse for existence as uniting those two places, but will be valuable as a link in the chain of traction lines from Pittsburgh to the Queen City and would therefore have to be built even though the country traversed was of no importance. The proposed line shortens the distance to Parkersburg no less than 27 miles which of itself is as item that should not be lost sight of.

   Mr. Jackson says that himself and Mr. Hatcher will hereafter have charge of all negotiations in this city and that they will shortly appear before Council for some arrangement by which they can get through the town. When they come they should be shown every courtesy, for there is no denying the great value such a line would be to Pomeroy.  D 5/10/1906

[This project made it as far as the municipal ordinances, but I doubt if any earth was ever turned. And the concept of lines linking Pittsburgh and Cincinnati is pretty bizarre, even given the expansionistic ideals of the early 1900s]

No. 12 Initiated.

   Last Friday, Supt. Oppenheimer of the street car company, gave a trolley ride to the village officials of Racine, Pomeroy and Middleport and to the newspaper men of the county in one of the fine new street cars.

  It was the first tryout of the new car and it was admired greatly by the guests of the superintendent. The car is seven feet longer than Nos. 10 and 11 and has an actual seating capacity of twelve more than these cars. It is built like the large interurban cars in the northern part of the state, excepting it is a semi-convertible car and can be used in summer as well as winter.

  Light refreshments were had at the Cooper house in Racine, after which the run was made back to Middleport, part of the way being at the rate of 30 and 35 miles an hour just to see what the new car could do.  D 7/12/1906

[I bet that was a white-knuckle trip! It's unfortunate they made no mention of what other cars were new at that time, or if the new cars would replace older ones.]



Items continue on next page.

The newspaper of 2/15/1906 described in detail how an "immense" rock crashed into the home of Adam Darling, driving the rear part of the building into the earth and completely wrecking every part of it. Maybe this is a picture of the event?