Windom T. Gray


Grasselli Car, Heavily Laden With Passengers, Plunges Over Embankment Killing Two, Fatally Hurting One and Injuring 19 Others.

Windom T. Gray Headstone

The Daily Telegram., July 08, 1907
The Clarksburg Telegram., July 11, 1907, page five

Heavily laden with passengers who were enjoying a summer evening’s ride an open trolley car on the Grasselli division of the Fairmont & Clarksburg Traction Company’s lines jumped the track on a curve just outside the city limits Sunday evening and crashed over an embankment, instantly killing two, mortally hurting one and causing injuries to nineteen others. The following is a list of the dead and injured:


  • MISS GRACE MARKERT, aged 16, of Monticello avenue; skull and body crushed; killed instantly.
  • W. T. GRAY, 45, engineer at Washington Carbon Co. plant at Grasselli, resides on Monticello avenue; skull and body crushed; killed outright.


  • MISS MAGGIE M. ROBINSON, 21, of Barracksville; fatally hurt skull fractured and internally injured; at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • R. W. EAKIN, superintendent of Grasseli Chemical Works; back strained, bruises and left hand hurt; at St. Mary’s Hostpital.
  • MRS. E. W. EAKIN, wife of Supt. Eakin; leg broken and severe bruises; at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • MRS. NORMAN C. MERCHANT, Hammond, Ind., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eakin; shoulder and arm bruised and crushed, injuries severe; at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • MARGARET MERCHANT, five-year-old daughter of Mrs. Merchant; slight injuries; at the Eakin home in care of Mrs. Ward.
  • MRS. H. H. WARD, of Dallas, Tex., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eakin; slightly hurt; went to parents’ home on car.
  • MRS. WARD’S BABY DAUGHTER, head bruised slightly.
  • JACK FULLERTON, 16, bookkeeper of Clarksburg Telegram; ankle broken in two places and bodily bruises; taken home in automobile.
  • MRS. FLOYD B. MARTIN, of Bridge Street; leg crushed, body bruised and cut; at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • FLOYD B. MARTIN, Bridge Street; slightly hurt; at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • J. A. ROBINSON, Barracksville; right arm crushed and mangled; at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • CLAYTON POWELL, 16, Main Street; bone in ankle broken and bruises; taken home.
  • MISS BEULAH JONES, Mulberry Street, scratched and bruised, injuries only slight; taken home.
  • MISS DAISY McCARTNEY, severe shock and slight bruises; at Dr. Fletcher’s home on Mechanic street.
  • MISS DELLA McCARTNEY, sister of Miss Daisy; severe shock and slight bruises; at Dr. Fletcher’s home.
  • MISS HELEN ZARUBA, of West Pike Street; leg cut and bruises; went home with parents.
  • GEORGE JACKSON, 16, colored; scalp wound; taken to St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • ZEBEDEE MORRIS, clerk at Lowndes’ Savings Bank; elbows skinned.
  • MOTORMAN AL JAMES, of Adamston; back strained; went home.
  • DR. J. E. PRICE, dentist; ankle slightly sprained and head bruised
Car No. 236 of Fairmont & Clarksburg Traction Company

The car was Grasselli car No. 39 on the way from Grasselli to the city and it was just taking the curve a short distance beyond the Philippi switch when it jumped the track. After bounding along on the ties for a rod, it toppled over the embankment which is ten or twelve feet high at that point, by centrifugal force and landed upon its side below pinning the victims who were killed and seriously injured underneath.

Cause a Mystery.

How the car left the rails is not accounted for at present. It was going at a moderate rate of speed and the traction company officials declare that the track is in perfect condition at that point. An official investigation of the accident and its cause was begun Monday morning by Coroner W. P. Camp who impaneled a jury to hold an inquest.

Others Slightly Hurt.

Trolley Cart Image

There were eighty passengers on the car and besides those mentioned several of the others were slightly hurt and given severe jolts. Among those were:
Mr. and Mrs. Graham, of Glen Elk;
Miss Mayme Kiddy, of Glen Elk;
Ernest D. Lewis;
Samuel I. Butters;
Miss Weiss;
Parley Thorn;
Miss Higley;
John Watson;
William R. Davis, nephew of Ex-Senator Henry G. Davis, of Elkins;
John Weiss;
Will Sutcliff;
John Rittenhouse;
Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Zaruba;
Misses Nettie and Kate Robinson, of Barracksville, who with their brother and sister were in Clarksburg on a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Guy Sinsel;
L. T. Springer;
Miss Anna Leachman;
Harry Fullerton and Gordon Sayre.

Uninjured Render Help.

After the car landed on the ground under the embankment, the passengers who were not injured got out and immediately rendered assistance to those who were hurt. Some ran to a telephone and sent word to hospitals and physicians telling of the accident and in a

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Clifford-Osborne Undertaking


(Continued from page 1.)

short time ambulances and vehicles were on the scene. Those who were injured the most were taken to St. Mary’s hospital, some of them by request being taken to their homes. The bodies of Miss Market and Mr. Gray were taken to the Clifford Osborn undertaking morgue.

A Terrible Scene.

There were so many passengers on the car that a number were standing on the foot board and holding to the hand bars. The car toppled over the embankment so suddenly and unexpectedly that only a few had time to jump. The scene was a terrible one with agonizing cries of injured coming from all parts of the overturned car, but a number of those who were unhurt and only slightly injured kept their heads and after extricating themselves from the car they set about immediately to render help to those who were crying in pain.

The car was in charge of Motorman Al James and Conductor Fitzpatrick. Mr. James was thrown violently against the car and was painfully hurt, but Mr. Fitzpatrick escaped without injury. Considering the nature of the accident it is a wonder that more passengers were not injured and those who did not receive injuries count themselves lucky in escaping unhurt.

Gloom of Sorrow.

Universal sorrow is felt all over the city over the deplorable accident and the friends of the dead and jnjured express the deepest sympathy for the injured and the bereaved families of the dead.

Clarksburg Post Card Image

Narrow Escapes.

Dr. J. E. Price, dentist, was among those who had narrow escapes from serious injury or possibly death. As it was he got off with a slightly sprained ankle and a bump on the head by jumping. He was sitting on the floor of the car with his feet resting on the side foot board and on the side that the car turned over on. He raised to his feet when the car struck the ties and as it careened he jumped out over the embankment landing on his feet and turning a somersault. When he stopped rolling the trolley pole of the car struck him in the head. Jack Fullerton was standing on the same side of the car near Dr. Price and he, too, jumped, and landed by Dr. Price’s side. Dr. Price says the sight of the struggling, screaming mass of humanity inside the overturned car was heart rendering and piteous. He helped several out through a broken window in the end.

Miss Grace Market was 16 years old and was the daughter of Mrs. Annie Market, of Monticello Avenue. She was a bright and lovable young lady with a wide circle of friends who grieve very much over her untimely death. For a time she was employed as an operator at the Consolidated Telephone Exchange. Besides her mother she is survived by one brother, Albert Market, and two sisters, Misses Louise Market and Mrs. James Shinn. Her funeral will be held Tuesday with services at her late home and burial in the Masonic Cemetery.

Attorney E. D. Lewis saved a baby from being crushed to death. He fell above the little one, but saw it and held the crowd up off the baby until it could be rescued.

Gray Leaves Family.

Stock image of flowers

W. T. Gray was a married man 45 years of age, and is survived by his wife and three children. He resided on Monticello Avenue and was employed as engineer at the Washington Carbon Company’s works at Grasselli. A brother, Calvin Gray, of Parkersburg, arrived here Monday, having been called here by his brother’s death. Gray’s funeral will take place Tuesday afternoon at 5 o’clock. Services will be held at his late home and the interment will be in the I. O. O. F. Cemetery.

Jury Empanelled.

Coroner W. P. Camp impaneled the following jury Monday morning to hold the inquest: Oliver P. Boughner, Isaac M. Kelly, G. Art Waldo, Guy R. Merritt, Patrick J. McDonald and Charles S. Smiley. After viewing the remains of Miss Markert and Mr. Gray at the undertaking establishment the jury adjourned to meet at 2 o’clock in the afternoon in Coroner Camp’s office to examine witnesses.

The jury also went to the scene of the accident and viewed the track along that point. The wrecked car was also examined by the jurors. At press time Monday afternoon Miss Maggie M. Robinson was in a very low condition at St. Mary’s hospital and her death is momentarily expected. All of the other victims of the accident who are patients there are reported to be getting along very nicely.

The Clarksburg Telegram., July 11, 1907, page five

Update– Dead MISS MAGGIE M. ROBINSON, 21, of Barracksville; fatally hurt, skull fractured and internally injured; died Wednesday.

Osborn Examines Car.

While the jury’s investigation is being held, A. C. Osborn is examining the car that jumped the track, at the traction company’s barns at Adamston and he will report the result of the same to the jury as soon as he has finished. Mr. Osborn was engaged to do this at the instance of the jury in the capacity of an expert machinist and he has been instructed to thoroughly examine the car and tracks.

Coupler Dug Into Ties

Stock image Angel of Death

S. I. Butters was the first witness examined Tuesday. He said he had been out to the Industrial addition in a righ just before the accident and had returned to the city. He saw the car on his way back but saw nothing unusual about it. After coming into the city he was told of the wreck and went back arriving on the scene about the time the ambulances were taking the injured away. While there he examined the track and car and saw that where the car left the track there were holes in several of the ties as though made by the front coupler of the car digging into them. He also examined the coupler and found it bent back underneath the car into a horseshoe shape.

Normal Speed Says Reynolds

John P. Reynolds, of Glen Elk was examined and he said that he saw the car turn over the hill as he was siting on the front porch of Jonathan Danley’s home at the junction about 200 yards distant. He saw the car coming around the curve and as soon as he saw it turn over he ran down there.

“I don’t think the car was running at any faster speed than any of the other cars running up that hill,” he said. He said that he usually sat on the porch and watch the cars turn up the hill but didn’t notice anything unusual about the one that was wrecked. He couldn’t say what caused the accident. He saw the trolley pole of the car before it came into sight and saw the car come into view, stop and topple over the bank. Judging from the sound he didn’t think the car was moving rapidly.

General Manager on Stand.

A. J. Purinton, general manager of the traction company, was next put on the stand. He said that car No. 39 was put into service two or three weeks ago. The trucks and motors were used under a closed body car all last fall and winter, a yellow car, No. 39’s trucks the same?” he was asked.

“No, the wheels were different ones. We ran No. 36 to Fairmont, took the car body from the truck, took the wheels which were somewhat worn from all the winter service and put

Sketch of Court

New Wheels on the Truck.

The truck was looked over and given a general overhauling. We put this new open car body, No. 39, which had never been used before, on this truck and ran it around Fairmont a day or so to see that the bearings didn’t heat up and so on and then brought it to Clarksburg.”

“Hasn’t car 39 been unusually unfortunate in being derailed?”

“It was reported to me that the car, No. 39, was derailed once at the Industrial crossing when the rails had spread and let the car down and another time at the Grasselli junction where you turn off. The track was a little wide and ran on a frog. This might have happened at any time.”

“Were the axles sprung, or were there any visible defects about car 39 when you examined it?”

Saw Nothing Wrong.

“I looked at the wheels but couldn’t make a thorough examination, but didn’t see anything out of the way. Our master mechanic was summoned from Fairmont and he examined the car but saw nothing wrong with it.”

Regarding the theory that passengers jumping off one side of the car had displaced its balance and caused it to turn over the embankment, Mr. Purinton said that he didn’t believe that was possible. There were between 75 and 80 on the car with all of the seats full and with the weight thus distributed and some jumping from the car on both sides he didn’t think it was possible that the car could have been overbalanced. If there had been more people on the rear of the car the front truck springs would have to stretch at least a foot, he said, before the front trucks could be lifted from the track.

Doesn’t Know the Cause.

“I cannot see what caused the wreck,” Mr. Purinton said.

In response to a question he said that the curve was properly elevated and that he would not be afraid to run a car around there at the rate of twenty miles an hour. The speed of the cars around curves is left to the discretion and judgment of the motormen.

Mr. Purinton said that when car No. 39 was being taken to the barn yesterday it jumped the rails and had to be lifted upon them again.

The Jury then adjourned to meet again Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock.

Seven witnesses were examined by the jury at the session Monday afternoon which was adjourned at 4 o’clock until 10 o’clock Tuesday morning. Each told a story of how the car left the tracks and plunged over the embankment and the removal of the injured from the wreck.

St. Mary's Hospital Clarksburg WV

Z. W. Morris, who was a passenger, said that he thought the car was travelling at a high rate of speed and that it didn’t seem to slacked speed after leaving the bridge. He says the motorman rang the bell to warn two children who were crossing the track some distance ahead before the car took the grade.

Miss Oriena Weese was sitting in the second seat from the rear end of the car. She said the car seemed to be running pretty fast.

“You came down that straight track at high speed?” she was asked.

“Yes, sure.” she replied.

Brantley Rittenhouse was examined and said: “I didn’t notice any extra speed at all. It was the same as usual, I thought.”

Charles C. Jacox was walking in the road opposite the car when the accident occurred.

“Was the car running at an unusual speed?” he was asked.

“I thought it was going at a pretty fast speed,” he replied.

Running Slow, Says Riley

James J. Riley saw the accident from the porch of his home nearby. “It seemed to be running slower and stopped sooner in approaching the curve than I noticed the balance of them,” he said.

E. D. Lewis, who was a passenger on the car says he didn’t notice any excessive speed until the car struck the ties and then he thought it was making unusual speed on the ties.

J. H. Watson, colored, was a passenger on the car, sitting in a middle seat. He says the car slowed up for a cow some distance ahead and when the animal got off the track the car seemed to run faster then.

Some of those injured are in a more serious condition than at first reported.

Kessler Hospital

Miss Elva Jones is among these. She is at the home of her mother, Mrs. Emma Jones, at 237 Chestnut street, suffering from serious injuries to her back, side and chest and is not able to turn herself in bed.

Mrs. Cretia Himler, of Morgantown, is also at the Jones homes suffering from a sprained back, broken ribs and injury to the stomach, some one having stepped on her in the wreck.

Mrs. Frank Rush nee Beulah Jones, who was in the wreck escaped with very slight injuries.


Awful Accident On Trolley Line
The Fairmont West Virginian., July 08, 1907

The first accident in which a passenger was seriously hurt on the lines of the Fairmont, Clarksburg Traction Company occurred yesterday afternoon between Grasseli and Clarksburg when two persons were killed and fourteen were injured.

The Dead.

W. F. GRAY, Clarksburg; employed as engineer at Washington Carbon Works, Grasselli.
MISS GRACE MARKET, aged 16, Clarksburg; employed as operator at Telephone Company office.

The Injured.

Harrison County Map

Miss Maggie Robinson, Barrackville; badly crushed and injured internally: cannot recover; taken to Kessler Hospital.
Motorman James, Adamston, badly crushed.
Amos Robinson, Barrackville, shoulder crushed; taken to hospital.
Clayton Powell, Clarksburg; circulation manager of The News; ankle broken.
Jack Fullerton, Clarksburg, bookkeeper for the Telegram, leg broken.
Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Eakin, Clarksburg, slightly injured.
Mrs. Merchant, Columbus, Ohio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eakin, injured internally; her child slightly hurt.
Mrs. Ward, Clarksburg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eakin, child slightly hurt.
Mrs. Floyd Martin, Clarksburg, injured internally; taken to hospital.
Floyd Martin, slight injuries.
Miss Helen Zaruba, Clarksburg slightly injured.
D. W. McGeorge, Clarksburg, slightly injured.
G. W. Jackson, colored, Clarksburg head bruised.

The officials of the company have been unable to determine the cause of the accident. The tracks were measured and found to be the proper gauge and the car was not running at a rate that the speed would cause it to leave the rail. The company is doing all it can to relieve those who were unfortunate in the accident.

It was an open car and it was coming to Clarksburg. The car had to cross the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. After the car crossed the rail road it had to slow down on account of a cow that was on the track. Shortly after the car started it left the track and turned over. This was done so quickly that the passengers had little chance to get off the car.

Those that escaped injury busied themselves at once to relieve the unfortunate ones that need assistance. The ones that were most seriously injured were taken to a hospital.

Miss Maggie Robinson and Mr. Amos Robinson, who are injured, reside with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Z. G. Robinson, near Barrackville. They were at Clarksburg yesterday in company with their sisters, Misses Katherine and Nettie Robinson, visiting friends. And while taking a car ride they received painful injuries.

Miss Katharine Robinson notified her parents of the occurrence. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson went to Clarksburg last evening to the bedside of their suffering son and daughter. A late dispatch from Clarksburg this afternoon stated that Miss Robinson is still in alive but in critical condition.


Funerals of Miss Grace Markert and W. T. Gray Take Place Tuesday Afternoon.
The Daily Telegram., July 09, 1907
The Fairmont West Virginian., July 10, 1907, page two

Open casket image

The funerals of the two who met their deaths in the deplorable trolley wreck Sunday evening when a crowded Grasselli car plunged over an embankment a short distance beyond the eastern city limits, were held Tuesday.

Miss Grace Markert’s funeral took place at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Services were held at the family home on Monticello Avenue, led by the Rev. H. G. Richardson, pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church, and the burial was in the Masonic Cemetery. A large number of the friends of the dead girl attended.

The funeral of W. T. Gray took place at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Services were conducted at his late home on Monticello Avenue by the Rev. H. G. Richardson, and the burial followed in the I. O. O. F. cemetery.


The Daily Telegram., July 10, 1907, page 5

Mrs. W. T. Gray, sons and daughter desire to express their deepest gratitude for the kindnesses and attention given in their bereavement caused by the death of husband and father in the trolley car accident Sunday evening.


The Daily Telegram., July 19, 1907, page 5

Mrs. Cora A. Gray, widow of W. T. Gray, who was killed in the trolley accident Sunday, July 7, has received a check for $1000 in payment of a life insurance policy carried with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company by Mr. Gray.


Coroner’s Jury Finishes Investigation Into Distressing Accident and Renders Verdict.

The Daily Telegram., July 19, 1907
The Clarksburg Telegram., July 25, 1907, page seven

No cause for the trolley wreck in this city Sunday evening, July 7, which caused the death of three persons and the injury of twenty, could be ascertained by the coroner’s jury that investigated the accident and which concluded its work and rendered a verdict late Thursday afternoon after the Daily Telegram went to press.

In the concluding session the Jury examined one more witness, Motorman A. C. James, who was operating the ill-fated car at the time of the accident. He said that he knew of no cause for the wreck whatever. The car was not running at a fast speed, he declared, and that just before taking the uphill grade the speed was slackened.

The verdict returned by the jury is as follows:


“State of West Virginia, County of Harrison, to-wit:

“An inquisition taken at the Clifford-Osborn undertaking establishment, in the county of Harrison, commenced on the 8th day of July, 1907, before W. P. Camp, Coroner of said county, upon the view of the bodies of Miss Grace Markert, W. T. Gray, and Miss Maggie May Robinson, there lying dead, the jurors sworn to inquire when, how and by what means the said Miss Grace Markert, W. T. Gray and Miss Maggie May Robinson, came to their deaths, upon oath do say:

“Their deaths were caused by the derailment of car No. 39 on the Fairmont & Clarksburg Traction Company, upon which they were passengers, within the corporate limits of Clarksburg, County of Harrison, and State of West Virginia, on Sunday, July 7, 1907. The cause of the derailment of car No. 39 the jury have been absolutely unable to discover from evidence submitted.

“Given under our hands this 18th day of July, 1907.

“W. P. CAMP, Coroner.

(article above also ran as)

Jury Failed to Find The Cause

The Fairmont West Virginian., July 20, 1907, page 2

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