The Tragedy Of Not Beating The Train – John Eades

Life was good. Especially on that Wednesday.

John Eades was getting married on that Wednesday.

It was also not just any Wednesday for in addition to being his wedding day, that Wednesday was Christmas Eve.

John and his bride Sarah Latimer exchanged vows in the quiet, little village of Seaforth, Ontario that day. John gave his age as 25, his bride Sarah stated that she was 22 years old, although records suggest that she was likely younger. A lifetime of adventure awaited. They then spent their first Christmas together as husband and wife in 1873.

Over the years that followed that Wednesday, Sarah would give birth to at least five children while John worked first as a barber, then as a grocer and salesman to sustain the family.

They moved around a bit. They started off in London, Ontario then moved to the little village of Wingham. From there, it was off to the big city of Toronto where they lived in a small house at 138 Henderson Avenue.

They saw the arrival of the 20th century and probably sensed that renewal of excitement and hope that newness brings with it.

But that was the end for Sarah. On February 9, 1900, Sarah died of what the attending physicians called “cardiac and rural diseases.” Her age was given as just 45 years.

John carried on as best he could. His youngest son Edward John Latimer Eades was just nine years old when Sarah died so John worked in grocery sales and deliveries to keep them going.

Until that Monday when everything went wrong.

EADES John newspaper article death after hit by train 3 Mar 1913 - Copy

It was snowing lightly on that March 3rd, 1913. Adding a softness to snow-covered ground.

John was summoning his horse to pull the carriage of pork for delivery along Dovercourt Road in Toronto. Up ahead was a railway crossing. Just more than one hundred years ago, there were no flashing lights and certainly no barriers in place when the trains came through.

But there was a signalman. On that Monday, Thomas Eversfield was that signalman.

Thomas would state that he waved his flag. He yelled for the driver to stop but the horse and sleigh were going too fast. Others reported that the driver seemed to have every confidence that he could make it across the tracks before the train came through. The train engineer saw the horse and sleigh and applied the brakes but was unable to stop the westbound freight train.

And so it was on that Monday that John Eades died, as did his horse, when he collided with the train. A tragic death that put John’s name on the front page of that afternoon’s local newspaper.

 

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