Thos. J. Thompson, a Prominent Citizen of Astoria, Meets a Sudden and Awful Death at the ‘Q’ Station, Tuesday Afternoon.


A thrill of horror, literally and truly, was felt by the people of this whole community when the shocking news rapidly spread, early yesterday afternoon that “Tom” Thompson of our city had been struck and instantly killed by the engine of the north-bound passenger train at the depot here in Astoria.

Mr. Thompson had gone to the depot in his automobile to meet his daughter, Mrs. Belle Workman of Beardstown.

There was a crowd at the depot waiting the arrival of the train and when it whistled for the station the people walked to the east end of the depot to the point about where the passenger coaches usually stop. Mr. Thompson was in the crowd, a few feet ahead of “Jack” Parks of this city. Mr. Parks says he saw Mr. Thompson step off the platform to about the center of the track, probably not more than thirty feet ahead of the incoming train. Apparently having failed to notice that he was directly in its path, he turned completely around, facing the west, when he, Mr. Parks, who was about ten feet from him, yelled to him, “look out” and at the same time throwing up his hand, to warn him of the danger. At that instant Mr. Thompson turned his head, looked over his right shoulder, seeing the engine, made an effort to get out of the way onto the platform. But before doing so, he was struck by the pilot beam of the engine and was hurled against a heavy platform truck which was standing perhaps about eighteen inches from the edge of the platform. Lying there for an instant, the body rolled off between the platform and the rail. The trucks of the train rolled the prostrated form for a distance of about one hundred feet, horribly mangling it before the eyes of the horrified spectators, who were powerless to render aid.

Mr. Parks says in his opinion the front wheel of the baggage car passed over this body. Before the body could be extricated, it was necessary to back the train a few feet. The horribly mangled form was carried into the baggage room and upon permission of the coroner, was turned over to undertaker Cline Horton, who removed it to the Harris undertaking rooms, where the body was prepared for burial.

Upon examination it was found that the right leg was broken in several places; left foot cut off at ankle, right arm cut off at elbow; left arm partly torn off at elbow; left shoulder terribly crushed; breast crushed; face mangled almost beyond recognition; hole in back of head. Death was practically instantaneous. His watch, which was on his person, was stopped, at 1:32 o’clock.

Coroner D. S. Ray of Cuba was notified and on arrival held the inquest at the Harris undertaking parlor at about eight o’clock Tuesday evening. The following jurors were empannelled: W. H. Basel, foreman, Lou Danner, J. W. Bartholow, Darrah Waggoner, Geo. Henderson, J. H. Lutz.

Engineer W. E. James, a resident of Beardstown, engineer on passenger train No. 48, testified at the inquest as follows: I pulled into the station at 1:33 p.m., saw the usual crowd, with a man standing with his hand on the truck, his face to the track. When being warned by a man in a grey suit, he turned around and looked me directly in the eyes. Just then the pilot beam struck him in the back and knocked him against the rear wheels of the platform truck. His body rolled between the platform and the track, neither the engine nor the tender passed over him. If the truck had not been there it would not have killed him. My bell was ringing, but did not have time to blow the whistle. He was not on the track, he was on the platform. The break beam of the first car caught and dragged him. When I first saw him, he was fifty feet from the usual alighting point for passengers. Did not think Thompson heard the train. I stopped the train 30 feet quicker than the usual stopping point. From the time I struck the man, until I had pulled him from under the car wheels, I saw him continually.


T. J. Thompson was born and raised in this community and had many friends and associates, who held him in high esteem. He was aged 68 years, 4 months and 23 days. Besides his wife, he leaves to mourn his sad and unfortunate death, two daughters, Mrs. Belle Workman, of Beardstown, and Mrs. T. W. Toler of Astoria, two sisters, Mrs. John Littlejohn and Mrs. L. C. Campbell, both of Astoria. The heartbroken relatives have the sincere sympathy of the entire community in their sad affliction.

The funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the family residence on East Broadway, conducted by Rev. C. B. Grubb, pastor of the Astoria Christian church, with Masonic ceremonies of which order he was a member. Interment in Astoria cemetery.


Published in the Argus-Search Light on 9/9/1914

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