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COLLINS, Richard Chilcott 1907 - 1918


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 1/2/2021 at 22:05:04

"The Fairfield Daily Journal"
Monday, December 16, 1918
Page 2, Columns 2 and 3


Richard COLLINS, the 13 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis COLLINS, of this city, was run over by a Rock Island train about six o'clock Saturday evening and died shortly afterward. The sad accident accurred (sic) at the Grimes street crossing of the Rock Island tnd (sic) the body was found by trainmen lying almost in the middle of the driveway and between two of the three railroad tracks.

The funeral occurs at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, from his parent's home.

The lad was a carrier for the Ottumwa Courier and had shortly before secured his papers from a Rock Island train. He had delivered only one or two papers and had just left the home of Charles Hastings a moment before the accident. Mrs. Hastings and children were among the first to reach his side after the trainmen discovered the body.

The exact manner in which the lad lost his life has been found uncertain and is not likely to be decided by the Coroner's inquest.

Coroner W. H. Conner convened the inquest at nine o'clock this morning at the Davies' Funeral Home, where the body was viewed by the jury composed of the following:

R. C. Sayers
Oscar Herring
D. R. Beatty

The body was not bruised or mangled as is sometimes the case, one cut or scratch across the forehead being the only one upon the face or head. The right foot was crushed and the left leg was practically severed just below the knee. The right arm was broken below the shoulder and the fingers of that hand crushed.

Conductor H. C. Huckleberry was the first witness called. He, like other members of the crew of freight No. 87, reside at Eldon. The general statement of the situation, first given by Conductor Huckleberry, was repeated by each witness practically without variation as follows:

"Number 87 arrived in Fairfield about 4:19 p.m., on Dec. 14th, 1918. While we were here extra freight No. 2542 went through going south at 5:43. We were on the stockyards track with a string of six cars ahead of the engine and none behind the tender. The engine was headed south and we were backing north slowly while the extra was going past the engine stopped on the Grimes street crossing.

Conductor Huckleberry's testimony in addition to that recounted by the others was:

I first knew about it when Brakeman Shrive said that a boy was under the edge of the pilot of our engine. It was right at 5:55 or 6:00 p.m., about ten minutes after the extra went through. I was on the platform of the freight house when the extra went through and in the office when told that some one had been killed. The boy was practically dead when I arrived. I don't know how he was killed. Brakeman Randolph was in charge when the boy was found.

Spots of blood men found under the frame of the tonk truck on the east side and were traced to the front of the engine. It did not look as if the tank had hit him. He might have been thrown against the end of the tank or he migh (sic) have climbed onto it. The tank wheels or possibly the pony truck wheels passed over him.

Rear Brakeman Fred M. Shrive was the next witness called. He said:

After that we coupled onto the cars and were about 140 feet from the crossing. The engine just crept north. I thought I would ride, but it was not worth while, so I waked (sic). The engine stopped for the "de-rail." After the extra had passed I stepped out onto its track and Brakeman Humbe was about to cut the engine off. I saw a shadow by the pilot and something white like papers. I called "What's that under the pilot, a man?" He said "Yes, somebody." I said to the fireman "Don't move." I went to the ice house to telephone and I never seen no more of it.

I don't know whether or not anyone was riding on the back of the tender. There was n light (sic) so far as I know.

William S. Randolph, "swing brakemen," was the next to testify. He said:

I was north of our tender about 40 feet when I heard Shrive call. I ran back and with Humble helped to get the boy out. He moaned once and Humble said he thought we were hurting him so we let him loy (sic) right there. The boy was clear of the rails and to the east of our track. Both knees were just under teh (sic) corner of the pilot. We didn't move him at all, we just attempted to and then left him there. I only found blood on the arch bars of the tank truck, on the east side, only small spotts (sic) as if splashed on. I don't know if anyone was riding on the back of the tender or if the light was lit. The bell was solnding (sic). The engineer whistled fr (sic) the main line track as he started to back. It is our duty t (sic) be on the end of a car when switching but do not know that to be the case on an engine.

Being asked, "What is your judgment as to how the boy was killed?' Brakemon C. C. Humble said: "If the extra had killed him and thrown him onto us it would seem as if he would have been cut and scratched up; I would judge our train ran over him(.) The extra was not going over 10 or 12 miles an hour. The acident did not hoppen as our engine was goin into the switch as I was riding on the pilot then (sic). I think it migh (sic) have occurred on the back-up movement."

Fireman Wright and Engineer Myers testified before the noon hour arrived and the inquest was adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.


"The Fairfield Daily Journal"
Monday, December 16, 1918
Page 3, Column 1


... --Miss Ila COLLINS has arrived home from Iowa city, called here by the death of her brother Richard COLLINS. ...


"The Fairfield Daily Journal"
Tuesday, December 17, 1918
Page 2, Columns 2 and 3


The inquest into the death of Richard COLLINS who was killed Saturday by a Rock Island train was concluded this morning and the jury returned the following verdict:

We do find that the deceased came to his death by being struck by engine of local freight train on Grimes street crossing, Fairfield, Iowa, Dec. 14, 1918 at about 5:50 o'clock p.m. Said engine and crew were and had been switching in the Rock Island railroad yards without displaying any light on the rear of the tender of said engine which at the time of the accident was backing north toward said crossing. At this time there was a freight train of 57 cars going south on the main track.

R. C. Sayers,
O. H. Herring,
D. R. Beatty.

When the inquest was resumed this morning Keith Fligg was the first witness called, and testified:

I was on Eighth street between Broadway and Briggs when the freight went through. I knew Richard COLLINS and he was a little hard of hearing. I was near the freight house when I heard that some one had been run over and I went to see with one of the men to see who it was. The engine was still standing there; the men had their lanterns and I could see him lying there. His feet were on the rails and his head was out toward the northeast, toward the ice plant. His paper sac was about a yard to the south of him.

C. S. Hastings who lives at 701 W. Grimes street was called and identified the body as that of the COLLINS lad who had collected for his paper only a few minutes before the accident happened. He said:

It was right around six o'clock when he was on my porch; he was there about five minutes. It might have been a little earlier. He went east from my house on the north side of the street and that was all I saw until afterwards. I saw both trains. One was going south and the other was down in by the wareroom. The boy had not had time to get across the tracks. The engine down by the stockyards was going 15 miles an hour at least. I think the way it happened was that he was waiting on the freight and the other one backed up onto him. I can swear that there was no light on the back of the tender. I knew the boy was dead so I noticed in particular.

Engineer W. W. Friend of the extra freight 2542 testified:

I saw no boy or anyone else as my engine was passing the ice plant crossing on December 14th. We had a fairly good light and I would have seen anyone on the track. At about 150 feet the light would show the track on both sides. I whistled for the interlocking plant and had to slow down to four or five miles an hour before I got the signal. I could not have been going much faster at the ice plant for I had 57 cars and could not get up speed. The local engine was just about at the stock chute when I passed. I use a red light on the end of the tender when switching in towns the size of Washington and Fairfield; that is the practice it is customary.

Fireman G. C. findlay saw no one at or near the ice plant crossing, and could give nothing bearing on the accident.

The last testimony received at the rst (sic) session of the inquest yesterday, and not given in last evening's Daily Journal, was as follows:

Fireman Willard E. Wright said:

Brakeman Shrives called to me and I said to the engineer: 'We've run over somebody" or "some one is killed." He said: "It can't be. I was watching both ways. Watching the signals ond (sic) for the target. I didn't see anyone struck." I found some blood on the back pair of trucks, on the arch bars and on the box bolts on the other truck. I don't know whether there were lights or anyone on the end of the tender. I don't believe there was any light. Possibly it should be lighted. It would be the fireman's or the engineer's duty to light it, but there was no oil in it. The round house should have attended to that. The extra was going about 12 to 15 miles an hour.

Engineer John C. Myers testified:

The fireman said, "The soy for us to stand still." (sic) We waited four or five minutes, then he said, "I believe we've run over somebody, they are down at the front of the engine." I went and the brakeman was holding the boy's head and he was gasping his last.

They said they had sent for the ambulance. I said don't move him. Someone asked about his bleeding and the brakeman said "He's past bleeding."

The automatic bell ringer was working. All of the body was clear of the rails as far as I could see. There was blood n the front side of number three tank truck as well as under the arch bars. Also some on the back side of the pilot step. I think there was no light at the rear. I can't say how he was killed but he might have got in between the two trains. I found no blood on the wheels.


"The Fairfield Daily Journal"
Thursday, December 19, 1918
Page 2, Column 2


We wish to thank our friends for their kindliness and sympathy toward us in our recent bereavement.

Especially thankful are we to those who were so helpful in word and deed, and also to those who sent so many beautiful flowers.

510 D. C. COLLINS and family.


"The Fairfield Daily Journal"
Thursday, December 19, 1918
Page 3, Column 1


... --Lieut. Carter COLLINS arrived, Tuesday night, from Fortress Monroe Virginia. He was called here by the death of his brother, Richard COLLINS. ...


"The Fairfield Tribune"
Friday, December 20, 1918
Front Page, Column 1


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

We, do find that the deceased came to his death by being struck by engine of local freight train on Grimes street crossing, Fairfield, Iowa, December 14, 1918, at about 5:50 o'clock p.m. Said engine and crew were and had been switching in the Rock Island railroad yards without displaying any light on the rear of the tendre of said engine, which at the time of the accident was backing north toward said crossing. At this time there was a freight train of fifty-seven cars going south on the main track."

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Richard COLLINS, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis COLLINS, of this city, was instantly killed Saturday evening when he was struck by an engine on the Rock Island tracks at the West Grimes street crossing. As far as can be learned there were no eye witnesses to the accident but evidence leads to the conclusion that he was struck by an engine without an end light, which was switching and while he was proceeding to cross the tracks, just immediately following the passing of a long freight train.

Trainmen were the first to learn of the accident when they found the body beneath the engine and removed it. An inquest was held at the Davies undertaking parlors and the above verdict rendered.

Richard was eleven years old in July and was an exceptionally bright lad. Like all typical American boys, he loved to play and was a great favorite with his playmates. He also liked to work and always since a small boy, desired to spend a portion of his time at some little employment. It was while delivering his papers, as carrier of the Ottumwa Courier, that the iron monster bore down upon him and crushed out his life. He had met the evening passenger, obtained his papers and left the first ones on his route and was crossing the tracks to continue deliveries, when death came. His sack, containing his papers, was found near the lifeless body.

Richard, familiarly known as "Dick," was the baby of the family and he was looked upon with pardonable pride by his parents, his older brothers and his sister. Sympathy of the entire community is extended to the family in their bereavement. The surviving brothers are Quinlin, at home, and Lieut. Carter COLLINS, now located at Camp Stewart in Virginia, and who was in attendance at the funeral; also one sister, Ila, at home.

Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon from the home on West Briggs street, conducted by Rev. Roland Butler of the Baptist church, where Richard attended Sunday school and of which he was a member.

Amid the profusion of beautiful flowers the body was laid to rest on the family lot in Evergreen cemetery by the side of twin brothers who had preceeded (sic) him in death.


"The Fairfield Tribune"
Friday, December 20, 1918
Page SEVEN, Column 2


... Packwood

... Word was received here Sunday of the death of the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs Dennis COLLINS, caused by accident at Fairfield. Many of the readers will remember Mr. and Mrs. COLLINS when they were young. ...


"The Fairfield Tribune"
Friday, December 20, 1918
Page EIGHT, Column 1


Miss Ila COLLINS was called home from Iowa City Sunday by the death of her brother, Richard COLLINS. ...

... Lieutenant Carter COLLINS was called here from Virginia to attend the funeral of his brother, Richard COLLINS. ...

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*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.

Note: Buried in Lot 1st.024.


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