Morrisburg Leader 26 May 1916
West-bound 12.48 G. T. R. Express Crashes into Buggy; Two Killed; Two Seriously Injured
gloom was cast over the merriment of the Victoria Day visitors to
Morrisburg caused by the tragedy which occurred shortly after one
o'clock at the G. T. R. crossing on the Gravel Road when the west-bound
local express No. 7, engine no. 191 in charge of engineer King and
conductor McConachie of Montreal, crashed into a buggy occupied by Mr.
Clint Castleman and three daughters, Gladys, Cassie, and Olive, of
Elma, badly mutilating the bodies of the two eldest daughters, Gladys
aged 14, and Cassie, age 12, and in the twinkling of an eye, snatching
from their bodies the spirit, which a moment before pulsated with
youthful vigour and activity. Olive, the youngest daughter, and the
father, were seriously injured and miraculously escaped death. They
were picked up unconscious and rushed to Dr. Mulloy's office where the
wounds were dressed, after which they were put on board the train and
removed to Brockville General Hospital, accompanied by coroner Mulloy.
Mr. Casselman, it is reported, is suffering from concussion of the
brain, and one leg is broken in two places. Olive is suffering from a
broken jaw and a broken leg.
The horse was also badly mutilated and was carried on the " cowcatcher " a distance of about 75 yards.
the day's merriment was suddenly thrown into a mourning which fell as a
pall upon the hundreds who viewed the terrible tragedy.
absence of coroner Mulloy, Dr. McLaughlin viewed the bodies of the two
eldest daughters, and had the remains removed to Marsh & Sons
After the arrival of coroner Locke a jury was impanelled who viewed the remains and the inquest was adjourned until June 1st.
circumstances which surround the unfortunate incident will be duly
revealed by the evidence at the inquest, but the expression was general
by those who viewed the remains, including a number of travelers, that
the Gravel Road crossing having a stretch of buildings at the approach
which obstruct the view from an incoming west-bound train for some 50
yards, is the most dangerous in this Province. This is a condition
which should be brought to the attention of the Railway Commission, and
Wednesday's tragedy is one which commands the cooperation of local
authorities to see that proper steps be taken for the safety of the
large traffic between Williamsburg and Morrisburg on the Gravel Road
which necessitates crossing the G. T. R. at this point.
Ottawa Citizen 25 May 1916
TWO KILLED AND TWO BADLY HURT
Williamsburg Man's Daughters Killed in Accident.
May 24. Gladys and Cassie Casselman, elder daughters of Clinton
Casselman, of North Williamsburg, were instantly killed this afternoon
when the horse their father was driving became unmanageable and plunged
into the No. 7 westbound G. T. R. express near Morrisburg.
father with his three daughters was en route to Morrisburg to attend a
celebration. Casselman and his youngest daughter, Olive, received
injuries that necessitated their removal to the General Hospital here
and each is in a critical condition. Casselman has a fractured hip and
the daughter a fractured jaw and leg.
Morrisburg Leader 2 June 1916
Jury's Verdict - Negligence on Part of G. T. R. In Not Properly Guarding Dangerous Crossing
to adjournment, the inquest for the hearing of the evidence in
connection with the tragedy which occurred at the Gravel Road crossing
on the 24th of May, was held Thursday afternoon, June 1st at the
town-hall Morrisburg, Coroner Locke presiding. Crown attorney
Dingwell of Cornwall, represented the crown, Mr Irwin Hilliard, K. C.,
M. P. P., for Mr. Casselman, and Messrs. J. P. Pratt and W. C. Mills
for the G. T. R.
Some twenty-five witnesses were heard, the
first two being doctors Malloy and Locke, who testified that the
Casselman girls, Cassie and Gladys, were killed almost instantaneously
when struck by train.
Engineer King of Montreal, who was in
charge of the engine on the 24th of May, said the train was due to
leave Montreal at 9.20, they were 10 minutes late leaving Cornwall and
10 minutes late when the accident happened. He thought it only 5 or 6
seconds after he saw the rig approaching that the engine struck the
horse on the side; he had applied the emergency brakes and had
blown the whistle before the engine struck which was going at a rate of
about 30 miles an hour. The train kept on going a distance of about
seven car lengths before it came to a standstill, he said. He had had
no instructions to watch this particular crossing on account of
buildings at approach. It was about 12.58 when he arrived at crossing.
The witness could not say positively what was the shortest distance a
train could be stopped in when going at 30 miles an hour. " I came to
the conclusion when I first saw the man approached. If he kept on going
ahead he would be safe," he said.
Robert Day, fireman, of
Montreal gave his evidence similar to that of the engineer, adding that
he thought a train going at a rate of 30 miles an hour could be stopped
within 500 feet. He did not consider crossing dangerous.
Meyers, station agent said he was one of the first to reach the
victims. He heard train whistle and bell ringing; he had tested the
crossing bell and it was in good working order. There was no other
train at the station which could have caused the bell to ring.
Mr. J. P. Pratt, representing the G. T. R., stated that following a
test with specially selected cars, a train going 60 miles an hour had
been stopped in 1200 feet.
Mr. C. Casselman was on Gravel Road
at time of accident. He testified that he had heard no whistle and no
bell he thought the crossing was a regular "Man Trap."
Schell, Williamsburg also thought the crossing was dangerous on account
of buildings at approach. He thought the bell was of no use as it
served to frighten many horses.
Mr. R. H. Ashton, whose
residence is about 250 ft away from the track, testified that he was
sitting on his verdndah as the train approached the crossing. He heard
the train whistle for the crossing, and later heard the warning whistle
which drew his attention and he immediately ran over to the crossing
and saw the victims. He said the length of his stretch of buildings at
the approach were as follows: 220 ft. 50 ft. and 60 ft. with a short
distance between the first and second. From the south end of the
building to the track is a distance of 37 feet. He thought the crossing
was a very dangerous one on account of his buildings obstructing the
view from an incoming train. Witness said the bell was out of water
most of the time, and ringing a large portion of the time when no train
was in sight.
Miss Lottie Weaver said she was in the last rig
which crossed the track before the accident. She did not to know that
train was approaching until after she reached the track, then she saw
the incoming train somewhere about "Tin Plate" factory. She heard
crossing bell ring a few minutes before the accident.
Miss Barclay, Williamsburg, was in the same buggy as Miss Weaver and gave similar evidence.
James Duval, whose residence is but a short distance from the G. T. R.,
heard train whistle and saw horse approach the crossing trotting. She
saw horse to rear up on hind legs just as engine struck. She did not
think Mr. Casselman saw the train approaching. She thought the bell
might have caused horse to rear.
Mr. Geo.. Janack. Pte., with
156, Prescott, was at Morrisburg station at time of accident. Did you
not hear whistle blow but heard the bell ring.
Mr. Levi Barnhart
stood in field south of "Tin Plate about 89 rods from G. T. R. with
unobstructed view. He heard train whistle for Nash crossing, and two
sharp blasts sometime later.
Mr. James Rice, Williamsburg
followed Mr. Casselman with horse and rig at a short distance, but he
knew very little about accident. He thought the crossing was a very
Mr. Frank Hummel, section foreman, said he had
instructions to test bell every morning and to place a "flagman" at
crossing when bell was out of order. He had found the bell out of order
shortly after the accident.
Mr. W. H. Fetterly, testified that
he frequently crossed the G. T. R. at the Gravel Road crossing. He
thought the crossing was anything but safe and he had had several
pretty close calls. The witness thought it was a great mistake on the
part of the authorities to leave the crossing unprotected. He thought
it was impossible for a person driving south to notice an incoming
train from the east for a distance of 580 feet at the approach until a
horse had practically reached the track. He had also noticed at two
different times left standing on track on each side of road at this
point which helped complete the tunnel.
Mr. John Castleman testified the bell at crossing was out of order on 24th of May and again on first of June.
This completed the evidence and Crown attorney Dingwell and Coroner Locke then addressed the jury with regard to their duty.
jury then retired and after one hour's deliberation brought in a
verdict that the accident was caused through neglect on the part of the
Grand Trunk to properly safeguard the very dangerous crossing at
Morrisburg. And they further recommended that steps be taken by the
proper authorities to have said crossing properly protected.
Morrisburg Leader 15 September 1916
J.H. Meikle, Reeve of Morrisburg, and Malcolm Becksted Reeve of
Williamsburg, attended the sitting of the Railway Commissioners held at
Ottawa on Tuesday, to take up the matter of safe guarding the Railway
crossing on the Gravel Road, where the two Casselman girls met their
fate on May 24th last. At the time of going to press the delegates had
not yet returned from their mission, therefore the results of the
investigation will be published in our next issue.
Morrisburg Leader 22 September 1916
the sitting of the Railway Commission held at Ottawa last week, the
matter of safeguarding the Gravel Road Crossing was taken up and
resulted in the issue of an order to the Railway Officials to have
gates placed at the crossing within thirty days. What portion of the
cost municipalities shall pay will be fixed by the Commission at some
Board of Railway Commissioners order 25633 of 16 November 1916
Orders Gravel Road, Morrisburg, to be protected by gates by 15 May 1917, mile 92.6
Morrisburg Leader 8 December 1916
Gravel Road Crossing to be Protected by May 1917
the matter of protection to be provided at the Gravel Road crossing the
Board of Railway Commissioners, after considering the evidence taken at
the sitting in Ottawa on September 12th, 1916, have issued an order
that the crossing be protected by gates to be installed by the G.T.R.,
and the said gates to be operated day and night by a day and night
watchman, and the work of installation to be completed by the 15th day
of May, 1917. The question of the cost of operation has been reserved.
move (at the cost of human life) will come as welcome news to the
general public and particularly to a number of Morrisburg and
Williamsburg citizens who have had thrilling escapes at this fatal trap.
Morrisburg Leader 18 May 1917
G.T.R. crossing on the Gravel Road. Which for many years has been a
menace to the travelling public, particularly between Williamsburg and
Morrisburg, is now guarded by gates which have been erected by the
G.T.R. and are operated by Messrs. Wm. Holmes and John McDonald. The
gates are lowered as soon as an approaching train is in view and
remain down until the train has crossed over the crossing, thereby
eliminating all danger.
Board of Railway Commissioners Judgment of 5 June 1917
of the cost of providing protection (gates) at the crossing of Gravel
Road and GTR, Morrisburg.
Construction - 20% from the Railway Grade Crossing
Fund, 5% county, 5% township of Williamsburg, 5% village of Morrisburg,
Maintenance - 10% from Morrisburg, 10% from Williamsburg,10% from County, 70% from GTR.
BRC Order 26193 of 6 June 1917. Cost apportionment for BRC order 25633. This verified the judgment of 5 June 1917
Morrisburg Leader 8 June 1917
reeve was authorized to attend the meeting of the Board of the Railway
Commission at Ottawa on Tuesday, the 4th day of June re Railway
Crossing at Morrisburg
R. Y. Commissioners Hear Local Delegates
special meeting of the Board of Railway Commissioners was held at
Ottawa on Tuesday, June 5th for the purpose of setting a just a
aportionment of the cost of construction and maintenance of the gates
lately erected at the Gravel Road crossing. After hearing the delegates
the board ruled as follows:
Railway Fund 20 p.c.
Williamsburg 5 p.c
County 5 p.c
Morrisburg 5 p.c
Railway 65 p.c.
Morrisburg 10 p.c
Williamsburg 10 p.c
County 10 p.c
Railway 70 p.c
Those who represented the municipalities were: -
Morrisburg - Reeve Merkel and Mr. Arthur Flynn.
Williamsburg - Mr. W B. Lawson, Chesterville and Reeve Casselman.
Matilda - Mr. I. Hilliard, M. P. P.
The county- Mr Davy, Iroquois.
Morrisburg Leader 24 May 1918
Damage actions adjudged in Cornwall last week
Casselman vs. the G.T.R., the plaintiff was awarded $2,000 for injury
to himself at a level crossing, but was not allowed anything for the
killing of his two daughters in the same accident