Tuesday, December 17, 2013

G.W. Tomlinson Sledding Accident SLC 1908

Less than six months ago I found this article about my grandfather George Wherrett Tomlinson. He died in 1959 in Fresno, California when I was seventeen years old.   I never met this man and he was never talked about by my grandmother Ethel. I did asked my father about him, several times and his response every time  would be very brief saying "he was a good father he took me to wrestling matches and we had some good times together." And that was all the information Dad would say about him. His parents separated when Dad was bout fifteen years old.  
    About twelve years ago through many hours of research I have come to know Grandfather George.   This article told me even more about him that I will mention later. 
I found this article by using the Genealogical.Bank.com, an online genealogical newspaper resource.  This find has made it well worth the fee I pay for the subscription.
This happened one hundred five years ago on Friday 18 December 1908.  George was twenty four years old. George and my grandmother Ethel Hepworth did not marry until 1912.
Saturday, December 19, 1908

Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, Ut)
SLEIGH RACE ENDS 
    IN BAD ACCIDENT
  George W. Tomlinson was thrown
 from his sleigh and painfully injured
in a race down South Main street with
another sleighing party last night.  Tom-
linson was driving the front bobsled 
when the sleigh behind him struck a 
rough place in the road and turned turtle.
The horses broke loose from the wreck-
age and dashed into the sleigh ahead.
This threw Tomlinson to the ground.
He clung to the reins of his own team
and was dragged into the curbing, re-
ceiving painful scalp cuts and a severe 
shaking up. He was carried into the 
house of Mrs. Emily Bailey, at 545
South Main street, where Mrs. Bailey 
and her daughter, Edna, dressed his 
injuries, while awaiting the arrival of Dr.
F.S. Bascom.  Later he was taken to 
his home, 557 [757] West First North street
                                           in a carriage. 
Strange to relate, the members of the 
party whose sleigh capsized, were in 
any way injured.  They righted their 
vehicle and continued the outing.  Five
young ladies who were in the sleigh being
driven by Tomlinson, refused to give 
                                           their names. 

Monday, December 21, 1908
Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake Ciry, Ut)
BRAIN INJURED IN 
         SLEDDING  ACCIDENT
George W. Tomlinson, who was hurt 
in a bob sleigh accident on lower Main
street Friday night, is reported to be 
more seriously injured than at first sup-
posed.  The young man is being treated 
for concussion of the brain.  He is at his
home, 757 West First North street.  An
operation may be necessary. 
The mother of the injured man is on
her way from Canada to spend Christmas 
with another son.  She is not yet aware
of the accident.  It is not thought 
Tomlinson will die. 

 The first thing I learned from this article is that Grandfather was living with Grandmother’s parents on 757 West First North Street.  I was told this many years ago by a cousin of Dad's but wasn't sure if that was really true.   George, I’m assuming was working at the butcher shop for Great grandfather James Hepworth. I often wondered how they met.  George grew up in Ogden, Utah.  His parents moved to Magrath Canada in the early 1900’s.   I do think George lived in Canada for a short time before moving back to Utah and into the Hepworth house. Now to find our how he got to know the Hepworth's.  In 1908 Grandmother Ethel would be twenty one years old and working for the Telephone Company as a telephone operator.    It would be four years after this incident that George and Ethel married; 3 October 1912.  My father was the firstborn; born eleven month later. 
I thought George was very brave to stay with his horses risking his life in taking control.  And now I am wondering if the sleigh and horses were his or did they belong to the Hepworth family?  My father would do the same at a risk of his life in a similar situation. George had five young ladies in his sleigh! George did love the ladies.  Something I don’t see my father doing.  I should ask by brother’s what they think; if Dad would entertain more than one girl at a time.
I find it amazing that no one was hurt in the other sleigh!  Turning turtle; tipping upside down I would think all in the sleigh would have been thrown out or caught underneath and be injured. 
Interesting; that his mother, Mary Ellen Burns Tomlinson was coming from Canada to spend Christmas with a brother of George’s.  This places Great-grandmother Tomlinson still living in Canada and has the means (finances) to travel a long distance; probably by train. 
Would love to know her reaction to this accident?

And, I wonder if Grandfather George ever told my father this story.

Renée