Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thriller Thursday - James Harvey McHatton

From the San Jose Mercury Herald, April 13 and April 15, 1901:

ELDERLY RANCHER KILLED BY TRAIN


J. H. McHatton Loses His Life Today in Distressing Accident.

J. H. McHatton, an elderly rancher who resides on the Parr ranch near Campbell, was instantly killed by a freight train shortly before noon today.

McHatton, who is 70 years of age, was crossing the tracks of the narrow-gauge railroad in a buggy, when the rear car of a freight train struck the vehicle, hurling its unfortunate occupant fully twenty feet from the track. When help arrived he was dead.

The accident occurred close to the San Jose Brickyard, and it is presumed Mr. McHatton was returning home from a visit to Campbell. There are several tracks at this crossing which is used as a switchyard, and McHatton, seeing that the engine was attached to the further end of the train of freight cars, attempted to cross evidently thinking it was going in the opposite direction.

The car was backing at a moderate rate of speed, and struck the rear portion of the buggy, demolishing it.

The body was placed upon the car which caused his death, and conveyed to the narrow-gauge station in this city, where it was taken in charge by Coroner Kell.

The men in charge of the train were C. Acre, F. Pattensky, F. Brunloge, L. Fate, F. Sykes and Ed Miller.

A few moments prior to the accident, McHatton's son, who was going toward his home on a bicycle, passed his father on the road and saluted him. A few moments after his arrival, he was shocked to receive word of his father's death.

An examination at the Morgue disclosed that McHatton had struck on his left side as that portion of his body is considerable bruised. No bones were broken, so far as can be ascertained, and it is thought that the force of the fall was sufficient to have caused death as McHatton weighed over 200 pounds.

An inquest will be held on the body at 7:30 this evening.

DIED

McHatton - In San Jose, April 13, 1901, James H. beloved father of Mrs. S. M. Pathoal, Mrs. R. L. Parker, Tell M., M. and Archie McHatton, a native of Kentucky, aged 69 years.

Testimony at Inquest.

The railroad men who were in charge of the train, all yard or switch men, were put on the stand. The testimony of all agreed. F.N. Brundage stated that the train consisted of five box cars and one flat car, the latter being in front. They were being pushed to the brick yards, the engine in the rear. Brundage was on top of the box car nearest the forward end of the train. The crossing, he said, is the most dangerous on the road as it is in a "V" shape and moreover is hid by trees on both sides. He
saw the man in about thirty or forty feet of the track. Witnesses realized the danger, signaled the engineer to stop and set his brake. The man on the car next to him set his brake also. The man in the rig now saw the train and stopped for a second. His horse appeared to became frightened. (Cut off) .. bruises on the body where it had come in contact with something and those who examined it claimed that the fall caused it. Attorney's Morehouse and Hoehner conducted the examination of the witnesses on behalf of the family of the deceased.

Could Not Hear Well.

Deceased was a native of Kentucky. He came to California eight years ago and bough a ranch back of Mount Hamilton. Since locating there his wife died and since then Mr. McHatton has been living with his son T.M. McHatton, who is ranching near Campbell. He had been to San Jose yesterday on business and was returning to his son's place when hit by the train. The funeral will be held at 3 o'clock this afternoon at the first Christian Church. Interment to-morrow on the ranch near Mount Hamilton. (Cut off)

JAMES H. MCHATTON

A Tribute Paid to His Memory by a Friend.

A friend of the late James Harvey McHatton pays the following tribute to his memory.

"Mr. McHatton was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 8, 1831, and in his school days was fortunate in having James G. Blaine for a teacher. He moved to Missouri in early manhood and taught school there during the war. A little later he began the practice of law, in which he was most successful, serving as City Attorney in Lexington, Mo. for six years. In 1892, together with a part of his family of six children, he came to California and to San Jose.  He owned a ranch in the hills back of Mount Hamilton and was familiar figure to many as he made frequent trips back and forth from the mountains to the home of his son with whom he lived near Campbell.

"Four years ago, the companion of Forty years of happy wedded life died, and it was a frequently expressed wish of his that he be allowed to rest beside her, very near to nature's heart. There he was buried by her side April 16th, in a picturesque spot in the hills several miles back of Mount Hamilton.

"For forty-five years he was a faithful member of the Christian Church and it can truly be said he lived a conscientious and upright Christian life. Cheerfulness, a happy trait, made up a large part of an altogether well-rounded and generous nature, and he seemed always inspired with the spirit of hopefulness. His fondness for children was deep-seated and abiding. It was his habit to visit often the school in the neighborhood in which he lived and he was never too busy to gladden some childish heart or tell a pleasant story to the little ones.

Mrs. Willie Parker, Mrs, Mollie Pathael and T. M. McHatton of this city are the surviving children, who reside here, two other sons living in the east.

"Truly, 'a mighty man in Israel has fallen'--fallen but not defeated."

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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