Kills Six Glendale
Story furnished by Clarence
Dying; Two injured
When Auto Is Wrecked -
Buick Automobile driven by S.F. Sutton, filled with Glendale people
falls into railroad cut at Mayo.
The above emblazoned headlines which
appeared in the Spartanburg papers the first week of August, 1920
summarizes the stories of a tragic wreck which happened on Sunday
afternoon August 1, 1920 in Mayo, South Carolina. Taking the lives of
six Glendale residents, it was classified as one of the worst accidents
that had ever happened in Spartanburg County. Stories appeared in both
papers, The Spartanburg Herald and the Spartanburg Journal/Carolina
Spartan. After picking up every copy of articles covering the wreck and
funerals of the victims that I could find at the Spartanburg County
Library, I have sought to glean and condense excerpts from them to
compile this story for preservation in the history files of the
historic village of Glendale, South Carolina.
Mr. S. F. (Frank)
Sutton, a foreman of the chain-gangs of the Spartanburg County Roads
department was driver of the car. (Mr. Sutton was this writer’s great
uncle). Being a very prominent resident of the Glendale community, he
had taken a group of seven young people on a motoring trip to the
northern part of the state in his new seven passenger Buick car. The
report stated that they were returning home when the accident happened,
taking the lives of four of Glendale’s most promising youth, leaving
two more in a dying state, one seriously injured and one with broken
bones and bruises.
Map of Wreck Site
While some suggested that
speed was a factor, it was believed that Mr. Sutton for unknown
reasons, failed to negotiate the curve approaching the narrow two lane
bridge which crossed the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio railroad
tracks on the crest of a hill in Mayo. Losing control of the car, they
crashed through the railing and plunged upside down some thirty feet to
the tracks below. It was reported by those who witnessed the accident
that all passengers fell or were thrown out of the car and that the car
fell on top of them. One was mangled beyond recognition.
Dr. Painter, from Cherokee
Springs and Dr. Chapman from Whitney, were reported to be the first to
arrive on the scene to render first aid to the survivors. Reports were
that all victims of the wreck were unconscious when the rescuers
arrived with the exception of Miss Lottie Gilmer. It was she that
identified the mangled body of Mr. John W. Morris. Obviously, he had
been killed instantly. Custer Hunter died within minutes after being
pulled from beneath the wreckage. It was believed that Miss Lottie
Gilmer who had only a broken arm and bruises, had been protected from
the impact of the car falling upon her by the bodies of Mr. Sutton and
Mr. Morris, between whom she lay on the tracks.
An ambulance from Floyd’s in
Spartanburg, S. C. driven by Mr. Romaine Dreyer arrived on the scene
and carried the two, Ila Gilmer and Samuel L. Clark, which appeared to
be the most seriously injured survivors, back to the Spartanburg City
Hospital. Reports were that Samuel H. Clark died within thirty minutes
of arrival at the hospital. It was determined that he had major chest
and back injuries. Ila Gilmer had major head and body injuries and died
about 9 the next morning. (Monday).
The CC&O train came
upon the scene within minutes after the wreck and the other surviving
injured, Ellen Rogers, Callie Reel, Lottie Gilmer and S.F. Sutton were
placed in the baggage car of the train and were transported to the
depot where Mr. Dreyer met them and transferred them by ambulance to
the City Hospital.
Drs. Sam O. and Hugh H. Black
were the first to attend the victims in the hospital. Mary Ellen Rogers
and Callie Reel were so seriously injured, death was expected at any
moment and it was determined that it would be useless to operate. They
had suffered major head and internal injuries.
At 8:30 Monday night, Dr.
Hugh H. Black issued a statement saying that; “Misses Mary Ellen Rogers
and Callie Reel were possibly holding their own and that the condition
of Mr. Sutton, who had suffered a brain concussion and other body
injuries, was unchanged.” Miss Lottie Gilmer, the 14 year old daughter
of Franklin Herbert and Sallie Lee Gilmer who had suffered only a
fractured arm, bruises and brazes, had been able to return home.
A release on Wednesday stated
that the two young ladies, Callie Reel & Mary Ellen Rogers who had
not been expected to recover, were living and that Miss Reel showed
improvement while Miss Rogers was holding her own, being no worst. It
also stated that Mr. Sutton had greatly improved and that full recovery
was expected barring some unforeseen complications.
The Glendale Community
The first funeral for the
wreck victims was conducted on Monday evening August 2, 1920 in the Glendale Community Cemetery. It was a
joint service for John Wilton
Morris and Custer Hunter. Morris was the 28 year old son of Mr. Gus M.
and Jane Lockman Morris and a distant cousin of this writer. Since Mr.
Morris was a member of the Woodman of the World, a Woodman spokesman
had charge of his part of the service. Hunter
was the 26 year old son
of John Holden and Sue Emma Hunter. Being a Mason, the Honorable S.
Lanham served as the spokesman for the Masonic Order in Hunter’s part
of the service. It was said that the floral tributes were magnificent.
The newspaper articles stated that attendance for the service was in
Custer Hunter's and John Morris'
Morris and Hunter had been
friends for many years. John Morris was born October 11, 1892. Custer
Hunter was born October 15, 1894. They both lived at Glendale. They
entered the Army together. They both were members of the American
Expeditionary Forces in WW1 and fought together in France where Hunter
was seriously wounded. They were discharged and returned home to
Glendale together. They were the first to die in the wreck, only
minutes apart. They were buried in connecting grave plots at the same
hour. Mr. Morris is buried in the Morris Square at the head of Mr.
Hunter’s grave which is in the Hunter Square.
Mr. Hunter having been
severely wounded in battle, was undergoing special vocational training
at Cecil’s business college in Spartanburg, S. C. at the time of his
untimely death. Mr. Cecil, principal of the school stated that Mr.
Hunter was an excellent student and was one of the most popular
students to attend the school.
Ila Gilmer's Tombstone
The Funeral service for Miss
Ila Gilmer who had died early Monday morning was held on Tuesday
afternoon August 3, 1920 in the Glendale Methodist Church with
interment following in the Gilmer Square, which is located just one
square from the Morris and Hunter Squares in the Glendale Community
Cemetery. Ila was the 16 year old daughter of Franklin Herbert and
Sallie Lee Gilmer and the sister of Miss Lottie Gilmer who had also
been injured in the wreck.
Mr. Samuel H. Clark regained
consciousness shortly after being removed from beneath the wreckage.
Recognizing a friend who had come upon the scene, J. M. Parris of Mayo,
he asked of him a cigarette which he smoked while waiting to be carried
to the hospital. After arriving in the hospital, he engaged once more
in conversation with Mr. Parris who also had arrived at the hospital
and again asked for a cigarette, also a drink of water. He told Mr.
Parris that his back was broken and that he knew he was dying. It was
reported that he also recognized his father who arrived at the hospital
shortly before he died.
Samuel Clark's Tombstone
Funeral service for Mr.
Clark, the 19 year old son of Mr. W. H. and Clara Clark was held on
Wednesday afternoon August 4, 1920, place not given. Interment followed
in the Clark Square in the Glendale Community Cemetery. His mother who
had been ill for some time, became gravely ill following the shock of
the loss of her only son. Samuel was a very popular young man in the
community and was employed by the D.E. Converse Mill in Glendale.
Mr. Sutton, 61 years of age,
did recover and returned to his home and farm on the Sutton Springs
Road in Glendale, directly across the river from the mill where he
lived for another five years. He died on August 22, 1925. Click on Sutton Family for more information.
Unfortunately, I have been
unable to find any records regarding the life or death of Miss Reel and
Miss Rogers. Miss Callie Reel was identified as being the sister of
Judson Reel, a resident of Glendale and a postal carrier with the
Spartanburg Post office. Miss Mary Ellen Rogers was identified as the
niece of Senator W. S. Rogers. I have been unable to identify the
parents of either.
It was reported that the
young ladies were considered to be among the most attractive of the
Glendale community. The young men were also well known and very popular
in the area.
Miss Lottie Gilmer fully
recovered and married Lawrence Carter becoming the mother of two
children, Jean and Don Carter. Mr. Carter died in February of 1938.
Some years later, Lottie married Mr. Troy Freeman of Glendale. Her
published obituary shows that she died at the age of 90 in June,
shown above is believed to be the model purchased and driven by
Mr. Sutton. According to Buick information which I pulled up on the
web, this seven passenger model was built in 1919 through 1923 with
slight modifications. Incidentally, I found two or three of this model
Buick which had been restored for sale on the web. Going prices ranged
from $18,000 to $28,000.
overpass today is four lane, the curve on the north side of the bridge
has been reduced, the bridge has been lowered some but remains on the
crest of the hill in the center of the curve going south.
of City Hospital and it’s staff courtesy of the Spartanburg Medical
The City hospital was privately owned by stockholders with the Drs.
Hugh and Sam Black being major stockholders.
This web site has been started as a
public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and
person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary
McKinney Teaster. Contact her at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See
more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.