The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60595   Message #3907319
Posted By: Joe Offer
23-Feb-18 - 12:11 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Wreck of No. 52
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of No. 52
Despite grammatical shortcomings, I think the newspaper account is a great story. It was a hell of a lot of typing, so I hope somebody will read it.

Now, the song says the engineer died from injuries from the wreck, but that wasn't stated in this newspaper The Danville Bee for May 5, 1933, said the engineer had taken a turn for the worse, but the fireman was expected to live. The May 6 Bee said a 7-year-old boy named Junior Cardwell admitted placing a spike on the rails to flatten it whild two other boys looked on to see what would happen. No warrants were issued, but the boys were being given a whipping.

Here's another article from the Danville Bee May 6, 1933:


Engineer to be Buried at Clover; Services at Local Church

The Southern Railway company's fast freight wreck at Stacey, N.C., on Wednesday took a human life after all.
George J. Allen, 53, engineer of the train who was badly scalded by steam passed away at Memorial hospital last night a few minuted after eight o'clock after weakening steadily during the day. He died of toxemia, set up by reason of the extended scalded area about his body, stopping the functions of the pores of the skin. Possibly he had internal hurts also, but he was never well enough to stand extended examination.
The engineer was never able to shet material light on the wreck. Before the fatal reaction set in he told visitors that it all happened to quickly that he did nor ralized what took place. He had only a dim recollection of being taken from the hissing fog of steam which swept back into the shattere cab where he lay maidst the weight of coal which heaved forward at the train plowed into the earth on its side.
A fatal outcome was indicated yesterday when he developed fatal symptoms. His wife and members of his family were at his bedside....

and then I ran out of free use of the service, and had to access the rest on a library computer, where it wasn't as clear.

when the end came. Throughout the day he received telegrams of sympathy from colleagues in the service. One of these came during the final anguish of death while hospital nurses labored at his side to make the going easier.
Allen's death caused universal grief in the service especially in Danville. He lived in Danville - on Keen Street - for many years before the duties of his calling necessitated his removal to Spencer. He maintained his membership in Ramah Lodge of Masons in Danville which will officiate at his funeral which was to be held at Shelton Memorial Church at ten o'clock tomorrow morning followed by the removal of the remains to his old home near Clover in Halifax County.
The engineer had been in Southern service for over thirty years. He was promoted to the position of engineer September 20th 1906 and while he had passenger train assignments he was cjhiefly entrusted with the special freight trains which run on express schedules to get perishables to their destination. He was known as a highly efficient technician in railway service and had shared the hard knocks of railroading with its more happy moments. Fifteen years ago he was at the throttle of the long peach train which was ditched at Stokesland not very far from where he met his death but the engine in that wreck did not roll over. Once he threw his brakes during war time at Ruffin and ran with screaming wheels into a wagon passing over the crossing in which five were killed. He was exonerated of blame in both of these, probably his major disasters, prior to that of Wednesday.
Mr. Allen was a son of G.J. Allen of Clover, when he spent his boyhood days on a large plantation. He was a second cousin to J.N. Webb (?), a former well known Danville resident.
He was married to Miss Clair Hughes of Eastern Carolina. She survives, with three sons, John Allen, George Allen, and Hugh Allen. His four sisters and two brothers are Mrs. J.T. Moore and Miss Lillie Allen of Charlottesville NC. Mrs Elizabeth (?) of Richmond, and Miss Marcia Allen of Washington State. V.C. Allen of Clover, and Walter Allen of Newport News.
He was a member of the Railway Brotherhood and the Eastern Star and maintained his church affiliation at Elberton(?) Memorial Church.
[final paragraph, about fireman Woodson, is blurred out]