Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Death on the Railroad Tracks, the Rest of the Story, part 1

When looking through my GG'grandfather Robert S Worthington's scrapbook, I found many family obituaries along with other articles and obits of interest to him.

Two of the articles/obituaries were the announcement of his father-in-law's death, Nathan Cobb on 24 June 1892.

So sad, an elderly gentleman, aged 85, walking with two canes and probably suffering from dementia is killed by a train.  The family clearly was caring for him at home and he slipped out of the house unnoticed.

How did he end up on the train tracks?  It wasn't far.  Looking at an earlier map of Oak Park from the 1870s (available at the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society), I noticed he lived a block and a half away.

Ironically, looking at the map close up

There is a picture of a Chicago Northwestern train right where Nathan was hit about 20 years later!

As someone who grew up in towns with trains running through them, the crossings all had signals, the tracks were a bit elevated and would be difficult to easily wander up to if walking with a couple of canes. BUT....

That is not how it was in 1892 in Oak Park.  Frank Lipo at the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society pointed out to me that the trains ran right down the middle of the road, no elevation at all.

Here is a picture of the Chicago Northwestern tracks at Harlem Ave (a few blocks away from where Nathan was hit):

photo thanks to Oak Park River Forest Historical Society
The corner of Harlem Ave and South Blvd

There is no challenge for someone walking with two canes to get onto these tracks!

Today those same tracks are up a full flight of stairs with North Blvd on one side and South Blvd on the other!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2012.
The link to this post is:


  1. Erica I found you via Geneabloggers and I am glad that I did! What a beautiful blog with beautiful told stories. I look forward to following you.

  2. Michelle, thanks so much ... more stories are brewing inside me.