A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

History: Matawan Man Struck By Train Heading for Atlantic Highlands (1903)

Henry Miller of Matawan was struck by a train and gravely injured while crossing the railroad trestle between Raritan and Matawan on the afternoon of Friday the 13th, according to the 19 Feb 1903 edition of The Matawan Journal. He was dating Maggie Collins, who lived near Farry's brickyard in Raritan. He saw Maggie only once a week. Henry and his brothers John and George were all living with their widowed step-mother, so each of the boys had a job. Henry worked at a hotel in Newark the rest of the time.

It was common to step to the side as the train passed on the trestle, but Henry somehow misjudged the width of the breast bar of the engine and was struck in the side and knocked unconscious. The train man noticed he'd hit someone, stopped the train, and put Henry aboard. The 5:28 pm train had only moments earlier left Matawan for Atlantic Highlands, so the engineer reversed the train back to Matawan, where Henry was taken off the train and escorted home and laid on a couch. Two doctors were summoned, but they determined there was nothing to be done. Henry died around 2 am the next morning.

The funeral was held at St Joseph's on Monday morning. Henry was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery. He left brothers William, Edward, John and George, and a sister Mrs John H Fallon.

The 1900 Federal Census showed Henry b Jul 1879 (age 20); John b Jun 1881 (age 18), and George b Mar 1883 (age 17) living with Lena Miller b Jun 1853 (age 46) in Matawan. Henry was a grocery salesman, John a butcher, and George a printer compositor. The Miller boys were all born in New Jersey to German parents.

The 1900 Federal Census showed Margaret Collins b Jun 1882 (age 17), daughter of James and Bridget Collins. The Collins parents were Irish and had ten children. James was a farmer who had emigrated to the US in 1865.


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