Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tragedy by Train: George Haynes

In trying to gather more primary documents about our Haynes family in America and England, I was hoping to find some obituaries but came across this dreadful story instead.  Grandpa Happy Jack had told me about what happened to his Uncle George but to read the newspaper account was just heart-wrenching. 

The print may be a little hard to read, (and actually more graphic than I think would be allowed today), so I'll give you a basic summary.

Henry (Harry) Haynes, George's father.
The Hayneses were train men.  They lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Henry, the father, (who went by Harry) worked on the train and actually had an injury that left him somewhat crippled (although I'm not sure when), so he received a pension and turned to farming.  George and Charles, the elder sons, also "were railroaders".  Harry (who went by Roy!), the younger son, my great-grandfather, amazingly also "went to railroading, switching.  Railroading was kind of natural for me because both my brothers were railroaders.  I was a brakeman and I got me a job braking."  He didn't stay long because of the pay, but even after moving to Utah he was drawn to the work, being "a trolley engineer for the city of Ogden."

I say it was amazing that he wanted to work in the railroad, because when Grandpa Harry (Roy) was about 13, he and his father kept a silent vigil all night while workers tried to free the mangled body of his brother George from a horrible train wreck.  I would guess that was probably one of the worst experiences of Harry's life. (The newspaper said it was George's father and brother, not sure which brother stayed to watch, it might have been Charles.)

George's young children were subsequently raised by their Haynes grandparents, and Roy became like a big brother to them.

Here is one article.  The second article is quite a bit more descriptive but I can't get the print very big, so I'm also adding a link to where you can read that one as part of the paper, with a magnifying glass tool.  I couldn't find a picture online of the wreck (I suppose I could contact the historical society), but there were several other wrecks that year, including one that killed 14 members of the Purdue football team.

Here is a link if you would like to read this second one easier.  You will probably need to sign up to read it, but it's totally free and no big deal.  Cedar Rapids newspaper archives

Cedar Rapids newspaper archives, online

"Uncle Roy Haynes", interview transcript of Harry Raymond Haynes, ca. 1980.

"Jack Drake Haynes", manuscript by Jack Haynes, 2006.

Notes from interview with Jack Drake Haynes, 2013.

Henry Haynes photo from, Henry Haynes profile.

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