Thomas J. Morris
(Glendale Native Killed by Train)
Story furnished by Clarence Crocker

Thomas J. Morris, born April 1835 and reared in Glendale was struck and killed by a train one mile south of Arkwright, S. C. on Sunday afternoon November 8, 1908. He was 73 years of age and was living in Arkwright, S. C. along with his granddaughter Mrs. James (Cora) Young and her family.

A passenger train coming from Augusta Ga. traveling on the C. & W. C. tracks, approaching from behind, hit and knocked him some 40 feet down the tracks. He was hurled with such force that when his head struck a loose cross tie, one end of the cross tie was moved some 3 feet. The impact killed him instantly. He was returning home after having walked down the tracks about a mile and half to visit another granddaughter, Mrs. William (Connie) Turner and her family, when the accident took place. 

The news article which appeared in the Spartanburg Herald on Tuesday November 10, 1908 reported that the accident happened on a curve which prohibited the train engineer from seeing Thomas until right on him. The engineer stated that at first sight of the man on the tracks, he blew the distress whistle and put the train in reverse but his efforts were too late.

His grand son in-law James Young, who came to the scene reported that Thomas was deaf and could not have heard the train approaching from his back. Witness to the accident reported that Mr. Morris was walking on the tracks with his hands crossed behind his back when he was struck.

Census of 1870 shows Thomas as having a wife, Louvenia; two sons, Edward and John; one daughter, Frances. Other than the two granddaughters and their husbands, no other family members were listed as survivors at the time of his death, though other records I have show he had some great grandchildren. While census records show numerous Morris families living in the Glendale area in the late 1800s and early 1900s, I know of none in the area today.

The body of Thomas J. Morris was returned to Glendale for burial. While I have no records confirming the fact, it is believed by this writer that he was the Uncle of Mrs. Eliza Frances Morris Crocker, my grandmother. She had Thomas buried beside her father in the Crocker Square in the Glendale Community Cemetery.
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