A Deadly Occurance on Main Street
In her memoirs I remember…, Mabel Cargill wrote:
“Mr. Haynes extended his railroad after a number of years. He built a railroad that went out to West Henrietta to Haynes Store, Number 1, and then he built another railroad that went out across Main Street over into the Mt. Pleasant Church section in Cleveland County. It was on this railroad that a tragedy happened. Mr. Bud Simmons, who lived on the outskirts of Cliffside was traveling down Main Street in his T-Model and ran into the train as it was crossing Main Street and he was killed. He was the father of Pop Simmons, as he was called, and Pop was a big baseball player.”
“Bud” Simmons was 55-year-old George E. Simmons, who was killed on Friday, May 26, 1916. That same day, the engineer of the train involved in the accident on Main Street, J. L. Cooper, wrote and signed this statement:
“I began blowing the whistle for crossing when I was just past Ed Wilson’s residence at the end of Church Street. I blew whistle four times, two long and two short blows. I was running about five miles per hour, am positive I was not running more than six miles per hour. I was on opposite of engine from approaching automobile and did not see it but felt the jar when it struck the engine. The engine began to bounce like it does when on the ties and I reversed the steam and put on the brakes. The engine stopped when it had run about 40 feet (forty) from where I felt first jar. I asked Mercer who was on flat car what was wrong and he said train had run over Mr. Simmons. I got out of engine and went to opposite side. Ben Mercer and Adam Whisnant were there when I got to left side of engine. It was in about three minutes from time train stopped that some women came. Then a crowd began to gather. It was about one hour from time of accident until engine was jacked up so the body could be gotten out.”
J. L. Cooper statement from the Cliffside Historical Society archives.