Columbus, GA Auto Accident, May 1912


Mrs. Julius Gerson Hurt in Automobile Accident Last Night.


Car Struck a Wagon, Hurting Steering Gear, Later, Proceeding, It Could Not Be Stopped, Mrs. Gerson Was Thrown Out and Pinned Under Car.

One person dead from injuries sustained and five others more or less bruised, is the result of an accident last night, about 9 o'clock, when an automobile, driven by Mr. Philip Haskell, became uncontrollable and lurched into a ditch on Tenth avenue.

Mrs. Estella Gerson, of 810 First avenue, who was pinned under the car, as it slid into the ditch, died last night at 11:35 o'clock.

In the car at the time of the accident, besides Mrs. Gerson and Mr. Haskell, were Mrs. Gerson's daughter, Miss Dora, Mr. H. Gerson, a nephew, Mr. J. W. Schear, of Baltimore, and Mrs. Haskell.

When the machine plunged forward, Mrs. Gerson is said to have attempted to leap from the car. She was caught underneath the machine and carried to the bottom of the ditch. The others remained in the car, which it is thought prevented them from being more seriously injured. As it was, they were thrown out and bruised.

Mr. Haskell, who was driving the car, left the Gerson home, 310 First avenue, about 8 o'clock, with the party for a drive.

They were coming down Wynn's hill at the rate of about ten miles an hour, Mr. Haskell says, and were on the right side of the street. Approaching them from the opposite direction was another car, driven by Mr. Roscoe Lummus. Mr. Lummus' car, according to those with Mr. Haskell, was also on the same side of the street.

There were strong lights on the machine driven by Mr. Lummus, it is said. An empty wagon, which was standing partially in the street, was not seen by the occupants of either car. There was no horse hitched to the wagon. Mr. Haskell's car ran into the wheel of the wagon, and his machine stopped.

Mr. Haskell examined the car, assisted by Mr. Lummus. The machine appeared not to have been damaged other than a few scratches.

When Mr. Haskell started down the hill again, and reached the corner, he turned into Tenth avenue. The steering wheel was apparently disabled in the collision with the wagon, for it could not be managed. A deep ditch, west of what is known as Scheussler's bridge, is where the accident occurred.

When Mr. Haskell saw the car was beyond control, he cried out, "The wheel won't work!" In another minute the car had touched the edge of the ditch. It fell to the bottom, turning half over.

Mrs. Gerson tried to jump but was caught under the car. The others were thrown clear.

The cries and groans of the injured people attracted persons nearby. Mr. Lummus turned his car about and joined in picking up those who were hurt. Mrs. Gerson was taken from under the machine and brought to the top of the ditch.

As soon as Mr. Lummus saw how serious the accident was, he rushed in to the city where he got Dr. S. J. Wiley, and carried him to the scene. Mrs. Gerson was given immediate attention. Meanwhile, the ambulance of C. L. Torbett was on its way, having been telephoned for by persons who gathered around the place.

For a time there was a great deal of excitement. Mrs. Gerson was carried to her home on First avenue, with the other more fortunate of the injured. Two other physicians, Drs. Youmans and Cook, were called in. It was feared that Mrs. Gerson had been hurt more seriously than was first thought.

At 11:35 o'clock, she breathed her last. Members of the family were at her bedside when the end came.

The machine was damaged considerably. It had to be left where it fell. The name of the owner of the wagon had not been learned up to a late hour last night.

Mrs. Gerson, who was 40 years old, come to this country about ten years ago, from Wielun, Poland. She was the wife of Mr. Julius Gerson, a tailor of this city.

Besides her husband, Mrs. Gerson is survived by four children, Mr. Solomon Gerson, of Atlanta; Mr. David Gerson, and Miss Dora Gerson of this city; and a married daughter, Mrs. Philip Haskell. Two brothers, Messrs. C. and E. Lafkowitz, of this city, and two sisters, Mrs. Hannah Weiner, of this city, and Miss Yetta Schwartz, of Atlanta, also survive her.

Funeral services will be conducted from the residence 810 First avenue this afternoon at 2 o'clock, interment being in Riverdale cemetery. Rabi[sic] Rosenthal will officiate.

Those who saw the accident say it was purely unavoidable.

The Columbus Enquirer-Sun, Columbus, GA 31 May 1912


Columbus history

Are you still interested in Columbus history. I visited Columbus for the first time in 2016 and got to see the family home on First Avenue. We also saw the Winer Building at 1025 First Avenue. Please note my changed email and send me a note.


Riverdale Cemetery

Jan...thanks for the response to my inquiry. Contact me at my email address if that is easier. I have several relatives that I was searching for at Riverdale. I have the Civil War sabre and pistol belonging to my great grand uncle, Lafkowitz Harris. He was married to Hanna Harris. My great grand father, Isadore (Isidor) Winer was married to Hannah Lafkowitz Winer who is buried there. I still can not locate the grave of Isadore.

Send me an email .....thanks, Rick

Esther Gerson

I read this article and remembered the story. While looking for a grave in Riverdale cemetery I ran across the marker for Mrs.
Gerson. The name was familiar and I took a picture of her marker. I came home and sure enough it was the lady in the story I had read. The story interested me because I have a website on local history. I live in Columbus and have heard of Lafkowitz Brothers. If you are interested in a picture of her marker just let me know.


Lafkowitz -Winer connection

I am seeking information on the Winer-Lafkowitz-Gerson families from Columbus, GA.