BOARD OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS REPORTS
State Of New Hampshire. In Board Of Railroad Commissioners. Concord, September 29, 1891.
Witness, E. D. Kidder, station agent at South Newmarket.
This accident occurred on the Boston & Maine Railroad, as above stated, probably about 8 o’clock in the evening, as a freight train passed over the road near that time. Delaney had been at work there for a contractor, who is excavating and doing the work for a second track between South Newmarket station and the Junction. Delaney was found at ten o’clock in the evening by a person who was traveling along the track. He at once notified Mr. Kidder, the station agent. The selectmen of the town were notified, who with a physician, constable, and others, went where the body lay, reaching it at 10.45 o’clock p. M. They found the body had been rolled for quite a distance by the train. Both legs and one arm had been cut off, and his body in other particulars had been terribly mangled.
A pocket-book was found upon him in which there were several names and among them his own name. He belonged in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His remains were taken to the freight house in South Newmarket, and an undertaker at Exeter was sent for, who came and prepared the body for burial; he was buried in the town lot. Mr. Delaney, in all probability was under the influence of liquor when the accident happened, as some was found near where he was killed. No one saw him upon the track and he probably strolled there and was asleep when the train passed over him.
B.F. PRESCOTT, For the Board
State of New Hampshire. In Board of Railroad Commissioners. Concord, December 8th, 1899
Investigation at Concord, NH December 4, 1899. Gen. John H. Brown appeared for the railroad
Witnesses: E.M. Gurley, Engineer, Charlestown, Mass., E.T. Saunders,
Freight Conductor, Dover NH; Harry Fall, Freight brakeman, North Berwick,
ME.; H.E. Hanson, station agent, Newmarket, NH.
As a freight train which left Dover for Boston about 4 o’clock a.m., September 29, 1899 approached Newmarket, its engine men saw lying beside the track under the bridge, which is about 200 hundred feet from the station, the boidy of a man who was afterwards found to be Otis Nichols. Subsequent investigation found that Mr. Nichols had been in Manchester a few days before and had left the place to go to Lewiston Maine, having been given, by his brother, enough money to pay his fare to Newmarket Junction, from which point he thought he could make his way on a freight train. When found he had been dead several hours, and as he lay under the end of the bridge and his skull and hat were crushed in, evidently by coming in contact with the overhead timbers, the conculsion is that he got upon a freight going east from the Junction, and was stealing a ride when he struck the bridge and was thrown to the ground. He was not runover. The bridge was properly protected by telltales, but he either did not know what they signified when he hit them or rose up after he passed them. None of the crew of the train from which he fell, knew he was upon the cars.
H.M.PUTNEY, For The Board
State of New Hampshire. In Board of Railroad Commissioners. Concord, N. H., November 6, 1903.
Investigation at Manchester, November 3, 1903. Gen. John H. Brown appeared for the railroad.
Witnesses: Frank E. Benson, engineer, Somerville, Mass.; L. K. Oiney,
conductor, Melrose, Mass.; William E. Knights, brakeman, Reading Highlands, Mass.
Freight train No. 603 from Boston to Portland, August 5, 1903, consisted of 23 cars and the locomotive. Sixteen of the cars were equipped with air brakes. Frank E. Benson was the engineer, L. K. Oiney was the conductor, and the three brakemen were William E. Knights, John D. Pierce and Mr. Waterman. After the train left Newmarket about noon it broke apart, leaving the caboose and five or six cars in the rear, while the others followed the locomotive. When Mr. Oiney, the conductor, who was in the caboose, learned this he stopped the cars which had broken away with the hand brakes. When the forward end of the train reached the crossing at the east end of the Diamond river bridge, the engineer, while rounding the curve there, saw that some of the tall end cars were missing and, after running slowly some distance to see if they were following, he stopped and backed up in order to find them and hitch them on to the train again. While he was doing this, Mr. Pierce, who was the middle brakeman, stood upon the forward end of the second car from the engine, giving the motions which governed the movements, with his back towards the engine. When they had nearly reached the section which had broken away he stepped backwards over the end of the car on which he stood, fell between that and the next one, which, with the engine, ran over him and so injured him that he died.
The men all testify that the cars were moving slowly and steadily and that there was no jolt or jar to throw Mr. Pierce from the one on which he stood and all the evidence leads to the conclusion that he forgot how near the end he was and stepped back as he would have done had he been in the middle. He was an experienced, competent, faithful brakeman, in good health and perfect command of himself and was performing his duty, knowing what was to be done and how to do it. The train separated into two parts because two Jenny couplers, that were somewhat worn, slid apart; nothing was broken.
H.M. PUTNEY, For the Board
State of New Hampshire. In Board of Railroad Commissioners. Concord, N. H., June 15, 1903.
Investigation at Manchester, June 11, 1903. Gen. John H. Brown appeared for the railroad.
Witnesses: Eben T. Williamson, engineer, Portland, Me.; George W.
Littlefield, fireman, Portland, Me.; John W. Dorr, Newmarket, N. H.
Clarence Willey, a farm hand, who had been working in Lee, settled with his employer and left on the morning of April 22 without making any suggestion as to where he was going, but remarked that they would never see him again. He was afterwards seen between eight and nine o’clock walking on the railroad track between Newmarket and Rockingham Junction, only a few minutes before the approach! of the express passenger train No. 58 of the Western division of the Boston & Maine Railroad; and he was seen to pass down the railroad track into a cut which is on a curve. The engineer of the express train, as he approached the cut, saw lying on the track between the rails what he supposed to be the body of a man. The train was running at the rate of 35 miles an hour and it was impossible to stop the train in time to prevent running over the body. The train stopped at Rockingham Junction and so confident was the engineer that when he reported the accident to the station agent at Rockingham Junction, which station is only a short distance from the cut, he reported that his train had passed over the body of a man that had previously been run over by an earlier train. Evidently it was a case of suicide or the man had fallen on the track from some sudden malady. This fatality adds one more to the long list of accidents resulting from pedestrians using the railroad track instead of the public highway for traveling. Mr. Willey, being a trespasser, was in either event the only one at fault and the train hands of the express train could not with the greatest degree of caution have prevented the accident.
A.G. WHITTEMORE, For the Board
State Of New Hampshire. In Board of Railroad Commission. Concord, N. H., December 19, 1903.
Investigation at Manchester, N. H., December 15, 1903.
Witnesses: C. W. Dwinell, brakeman, Portland, Me.; James Donovan, crossing man, Rockingham Junction, N. H.
An unknown man, supposed to be Patrick Collins of Salmon Falls, N. H., about thirty years of age, somewhat under the influence of liquor, on the evening of September 2, 1905, about 8.30, met the gatetender at Rockingham Junction, and asked him where he could sleep. The gatetender informed him that he could get a place to sleep at the hotel nearby. The man replied that he wasn’t going to any hotel, but would find a place to lie down. The night was dark, however, the gatetender watched him cross the track and then pass out of sight. It appears that after leaving the gatetender he passed over the main tracks on to the upper Y, at Rockingham Junction, and lay down under a freight car standing on the Y. Freight train No. 908 that night pulled out some cars from the Y, and evidently this man was asleep under the same, for after his body was discovered a pool of blood was found on the Y where the cars originally stood. His body was dragged some distance and found by the trainmen of train No. 911 at about 11.20 p.m. He was instantly killed, as was shown by the examination of his body, which was terribly mangled. His body was taken to Newmarket, N. H., and buried by the authorities. He was not positively identified as being Patrick Collins. This man would not have taken such a place to sleep had he not been under the influence of liquor, and no one was at fault for this accident except the victim.
A.G. WHITTEMORE, For the Board
State Of New Hampshire. In Board Of Railroad Commissioners. Concord, N. H., March 2, 1908.
Investigation at Manchester, N. H., February 28, 1908.
Witnesses: Edward A. Eaton, switchman, Newmarket, N. H.; Arthur Trottier, crossing tender, Newmarket, N. H.; Frank O. Thomas, conductor, Somerville, Mass.; Mark E. Stone, engineer.
A few minutes before 6 r. M., November 11, 1907, Edward A. Katon, the switchman at Pine Hill, half a mile east of Rockingham station, on the Western Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad, having finished his work for the day and gone to his home nearby, saw Charles A. Edgerly, with whom he was acquainted, walking on the track towards Newmarket, and had some conversation with him. During this conversation Edgerly told him he had just come from Boston, was going to Newmarket, and as he had some time to wait for a train thought he would walk, and he went his way in the middle of the track to the east. About fifty minutes later, F. O. Thomas, the conductor of freight train No. 907, while running beside his train so as to get upon the engine after he had set a switch in the Newmarket yard, stumbled over the dismembered body of Edgerly, which had been run over by the wheels, cutting it in two, and leaving the legs inside and the trunk outside the rails about seventy-five feet from the Exeter street crossing in Newmarket village. This train, which was the only one that had passed there between the time Eaton spoke to Edgerly and that when the body was found, had come from Rockingham, pushing five cars in front of it and hauling others. Conductor Thomas rode on the front end of the front car with a lantern, with his arm around a brake rod to steady himself, and there was a brakeman in the engine who, when it stopped west of the crossing, cut it from the cars behind it when the five in front were pushed down into the 3’ard and it was backed and coupled to those that had been left upon the track. In order to do this the conductor got off and threw a switch and started to run and get upon the engine when he fell over the body. In the mean time this engine had passed the point twice but none of the trainmen had seen the man who was killed. In its movements the bell was ringing, and the whistle had been blown eighty rods from the crossing. Neither the conductor nor any other of the crew has any theory as to how the accident happened. Mr. Edgerly was about thirty-five years old and because of a paralytic shock did not have free use of his legs. That he was a trespasser upon the track appears certain from the evidence, but why he failed to notice the train and step out of its way, the evidence does not disclose.
H.M. PUTNEY, For the Board
DEATH OF MICHAEL CALLAHAN
State Of New Hampshire. In Board Of Railroad Commissioners. Concord, N. H., February 23, 1909. Investigation at Manchester, February 11, 1909.
Witness: Judson Osgood, freight conductor.
Train No. 909 is a freight running between Boston and Portland over the Western Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad.
On the evening of January 21, 1909, at about 10.35 o’clock, this train reached the end of the double track at Newmarket, where a stop was made as usual, to meet a westbound train or obtain orders in the event of the regular train being late. Mr. Judson Osgooil, the conductor, stepped from the engine upon which he had been riding and started down the track ahead of the engine towards the operator’s shanty. About thirty-five feet from the locomotive, between the rails of the track upon which the train stood, he discovered the dead body of .a young man, who was afterwards identified as Michael Callahan, who, it is understood, had been stopping for a time in Exeter. The body was cold and from the injuries sustained had evidently been run over by a train which had passed that point at an earlier hour in the evening. The last train previous to this freight was No. 21, known as the “Portland express,” which on this particular evening had made a stop there for orders. As there were several trains, freight and passenger, which passed still earlier in the evening, it is absolutely impossible to state with any degree of certainty which one caused this fatality. As there are no highway crossings within nearly a half mile from the place where the body was found, the victim was evidently a trespasser.
From the fact that he had been seen wandering about Newmarket Junction during the afternoon previous, the suggestion was made that he might have come up from Portsmouth, and, being somewhat under the influence of liquor, had become bewildered and started the wrong way for home.Another theory advanced was that Mr. Callahan might have been stealing a ride on a freight train and had fallen off. From the evidence submitted, we are unable to determine just how this accident happened. But whichever conjecture may be true, the fault must be entirely with the victim.
GEORGE E. BALES, For the Board
at Rockingham Junction. The action is In case, to recover for negligently causing the death of the plaintiff’s intestate,on December 12, 1914.
Trial by Jury. Transferred from the May term, 1917, of the superior court, by Sawyer, J. Sleeper, Brown & Frizzel, of Exeter, for Plaintiff;
Albert R. Hatch, of Greenland, and Hughes & Doe, of Dover, for defendant.
PLUMMER, J.  The plaintiff’s intestate, Henry Thompson, went from his home in Newfields to Newmarket by train on the evening of December 12, 1914. He was run over and killed on the eastbound track of the defendants’ railroad, main line, at Rockingham Junction some time during that night. His remains, which were found on the track on the morning of the 13th, indicated that a train had passed over his body more than once. The plaintiff’s evidence tended to prove that Thompson was at the Newmarket station, on the evening of December 12, 1914, at about 10:30 o’clock, in an intoxicated condition, that a special train, running between Dover and Exeter, that night came into the Newmarket station at that time, and that Thompson got onto the platform of a car. No one saw him on the train, although several people who knew him were on the train, including his son, who was expecting him to get on at Newmarket, and looked out to see if he could see him. There was no evidence that disclosed Thompson’s movements after he was seen at Newmarket. The circumstances that surround his death are unknown. The burden was upon the plaintiff to prove that the defendants’ negligence caused the intestate’s death, and that the intestate was free from fault. The evidence did not furnish proof from which the Jury could find either of these fundamental requirements, and therefore the nonsuit was properly ordered.
 A verdict found for the plaintiff In this case would necessarily be based upon surmises and conjectures, instead of legal evidence such as the law demands.
Dingman v. Merrill, 77 N. H. 485, 93 Atl. 664; Reynolds v. Fiber Co., 73 N. H. 126. 59 Atl. 615; Dame v. Carworks, 71 N. H. 407, 52 Atl. 864 ; Deschenes v. Railroad. 69 N. H. 285, 46 Atl. 467.
The present case is very similar to Currier v. Railroad, 78 N. H. , 97 Atl. 741.