Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Fireman on the H&N.W.R.R. [Hamilton and North-Western Rail Road] who unfortunately lost his life near Glencairn Station by the breaking of the lead wheel of the engine truck. He was 23 years of age and highly esteemed by his workmen for his [illegible]. His death will long be lamented by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.

During a snowstorm on the morning of 3rd of February, 1880 the train subsequently rolled down an embankment. Henry was working on the flat car and was killed instantly when the fuel tender pinned him against the boiler of the locomotive. It is a sad irony that the stone shows a locomotive on his headstone, though it was likely meant as a sign of respect for his profession and love of the railway.

the other side of the stone has this unusual poem inscribed

My engine now is cold and still
No water does my boiler fill
My coal affords its flame no more
My days of usefulness are o'er.
My wheels deny their running speed
No more my guiding hand they heed
My whistle too has lost its tone
Its shrill and thrilling sounds are gone.
My valves are now thrown open wide
My flanges all refuse to guide
My clacks also, though once so strong
Refuse to aid the busy throng.
No more I feel each surging breath
My steam is now condensed in death
Life's railway o'ver each station past
In death I'm stopped and rest at last.
Farewell all dear friends and cease to weep
In Christ I'm safe, in Him I sleep.

for a Taphophile Tragics at the Hamilton Cemetery


Halcyon said...

Love that train engine. What a neat grave marker!

Lowell said...

Those were dangerous jobs...thousands died every year on the railroads. But what a fascinating stone and poetic testimony to this young man!

NixBlog said...

Great post!

Paul in Powell River said...

Thankfully we're a little more enlightened about stopping workplace deaths than 125 years ago - a little.

Nicola Carpenter said...

Wow, what an unusual stone and such a winderful poem to the deceased. He must have been well loved by his friends and family.

Beneath Thy Feet

Lois said...

What a sad story! I kind of like that they have the locomotive on his headstone.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! And sad .... but that poem is lovely, and I also like that they have the detail of the locomotive on his headstone.

CaT said...

so sad, only 23!
but i like the locomotive on his stone, as well as the poem. makes it an interesting grave that you wont ignore..

Jack said...

The locomotive on the grave is a nice touch.


So sad but beautiful - how lovely he was remembered this way. A great tale to greet my travel-wearied self, thank you!

Julie said...

What a fabulous find! It is such a well executed memorial. The locomotive and the poem are just spot on. I suspect the poem to have been specifically written.

I wonder who Emma was. He was - in my opinion - too young to have a wife.