that touched our ancestors' lives


Fires Floods Tornadoes Train Wrecks

  Home Earthquakes Hurricanes Ship Wrecks Explosions More...



Massachusetts Disasters
Train Wrecks
Disasters by Location
Disasters by Type
Massachusetts Genealogy
Search Massachusetts Birth, Death, Marriage and other records
Vital Records, searchable by surname. Find your ancestors.
Search Historic Newspapers Online
Find your ancestors in over 1000 old newspapers from the 1700s-1900s
Search US Federal Census Records for Your Ancestors
Searchable by surname and location, index and images, 1790-1930
Social Security Death Index
Search SSDI records on millions of Americans, updated frequently
Search Historical Documents
Find Your Ancestors in City Directories, Civil War & Revolutionary War Records, Naturalization Records
Obituary Collection

Search full-text obituaries from newspapers across the country

Massachusetts Old Photos
Old Photos & Genealogy Blog
Search Over One Million Family Photographs
Search Civil War Documents, Revolutionary War Records, Naturalization Records, City Directories & more 
 Try Footnote for FREE!




Ashley Falls, Massachusetts

Train Wreck

August 18, 1910


Great Barrington, Mass.,
Aug 18.--A large automobile containing a party of five from Bristol, Conn. Collided in terrible violence with the New York-Pittsfield express at Ashley Falls, six miles south of this village today, with the result that three of the motoring party are dead, one is dying and the other is painfully injured.

The dead:
CHARLES J. ROOT, 48 years old, a prominent manufacturer, of Bristol.
MRS, JOEL H. ROOT, aged 82, his mother.
MISS CANDANCE ROBERTS, aged 70, the latter’s sister.

The dying:
Miss Mary T. Root, aged 30, Mr. Root’s sister.

The injured:
Miss Catherine Root, aged 11, Mr. Root’s niece.

According to the engineer and Conductor of the express, Mr. Root had been apparently racing with the train, the tracks running almost parallel with the road for some distance. The accident occurred at a grade crossing of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, just north of the Ashley Falls station. As the train does not stop here, it was running at high speed. The motor car struck the tender of the engine at an angle, the violence of the impact being shown by the fact that the car was smashed to bits. The five occupants were hurled many yards to the earth. The express was stopped as quickly as possible and the train crew hurried to the victims of the accident, two of whom, Mr. Root and his aunt, Miss Roberts, were found dead. Mrs. Root and Miss Mary Root were taken aboard the train and to the hospital at Pittsfield, but the former died before the city was reached. Miss Catherine Root was brought to the home of a friend here where it was learned tonight that her recovery is expected. Miss Mary Root was reported at the Pittsfield hospital as likely to not live until morning. She has a compound fracture of the hip, her shoulder is crushed and there are serious internal injuries.

It was learned from Mr. Root’s friends who came here from Bristol tonight that he was deaf. His mother and aunt were also hard of hearing, the former being also blind.

The motorists were familiar with the road, over which they were traveling.

The accident practically wipes out, one of the most prominent families of Bristol. Mr. Root was a well-known manufacturer there, of brass fittings for pianos, counting machines and registers.

Miss Root, his sister is the author of many books on Connecticut’s history. She was graduated from Vassar College in 1878 and is now president of the Alumnae Association of that college.

Mrs. Joel Root was the granddaughter of Gideon Roberts, the first clock maker in America.

Under direction of the medical examiner the bodies were removed to Bristol tonight.

Daily Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME 19 Aug 1910

Transcribed by Audrey.  Thank you, Audrey!


Search for more information on the Ashley Falls Train Wreck and other disasters in the  Historic Newspapers Collection.  The number of newspapers on line has recently doubled - search over 1000 different newspapers. Use this Free trial to search for your ancestors.

Search for ancestors in Ashley Falls, MA among billions of names at Use this Free trial to search for your ancestors.

A History of the county of Berkshire, Massachusetts - in two parts Use this Free trial to search for your ancestors.


Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Berkshire County, Massachusetts Use this Free trial to search for your ancestors.

Massachusetts Old Photos