The Times and Tides of Ocean City, Maryland
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Records held in the Public Domain of Worcester County, Maryland
Prepared and transcribed by Suzanne B. Hurley

This record is from our Obituary records.
John C. Quillen (and family)

Obituary Date: 8/26/1916

Information in this record:
Stops on Railroad Track in Front of Approaching Train and the Family of John C. Quillen is Hurled Into Eternity Instantly. Five Killed Outright and Two Die in Salisbury Hospital. Accident Occurred on D. M. & V. Railroad a Short Distance North of Berlin Last Tuesday Night.
An automobile in which the family of Mr. John C. Quillen of near Berlin, was riding on Tuesday night, was run into and demolished by a train on the D. M. & V. Railroad and seven of the occupants were killed and two severely injured.
John C. Quillen
Mrs. John C. Quillen
Denard Quillen, aged 12.
Charles Quillen, aged 6.
Laura Quillen, aged 4.
Norman Quillen, aged 3.
Henry Prideau, colored.
Edna Quillen, aged 16, is not expected to live.
Helen Quillen, She will recover.
A tragedy frightful in the manner of its enactment, harrowing in the least of its details and appalling in the dreadful sacrifice of human life took place at the railroad crossing near Berlin on the State Road leading to Ocean City. Tuesday night when the south bound train of the D. M. & V. Railroad crashed into an automobile that had come to a stand still on the track. As the result of the accident, five persons were almost instantly killed, one more death occurred while the victim was being rushed to the hospital at Salisbury, and another child died at the hospital. Two other persons, a girl about sixteen years of age and another girl about eleven years old were injured. The former with a thigh so severely crushed that her recovery is doubtful. The little girl about eleven years of age is suffering with a broken leg, but she will recover. Both of these are in the hospital at Salisbury, with the exception of the two girls, one of whom is not expected to live, the entire family is wiped out, husband, wife and four children. The other victim was the colored chauffeur, Henry Prideau, who was also the owner of the car and was employed by Mr. Quillen on the farm.
The car driven by Prideau, in which Quillen and his wife and six children were riding had stopped at a soda fountain ten minutes before the accident and Quillin had purchased ice cream cones for the family. They had driven to the Berlin Ice Plant and after driving around the
building turned again on the Ocean City Road toward home. The distance to the railroad crossing after this turn is about 200 yards. Dr. H. S. Purnell of Berlin came along in his car at that time and was following the Quillen car at about the distance of fifty yards.
Dr. Purnell stated that he heard the train coming before he noticed that the Quillen car was in danger. "Quillen's car", he said, "slowed down and I did so too because I knew that the train must pass before I could cross the track.
"I suppose that the car ahead of me had crossed the track and slowed down, the car driven by Prideau stopped suddenly and at that moment the train rushed upon it. The car was swept upon the pilot and carried down the tracks. A strange feature of the accident was that though the car was struck squarely in the middle and carried along ahead of the engine for over 300 yards before the train could be stopped, not one of the nine passengers fell from the wreck until it was brought to a stand still."
At the point where the accident happened the concrete State Road crossed the tracks nearly at a right angle. The train struck the car from the right side where Prideau sat. There is no obstruction on the road to have prevented the driver from seeing the train approach. The engineer stated that the bell of the locomotive was ringing and that the whistle was sounded for the crossing.
It would appear that the driver thought he had time to make the crossing, and seemed that he was too late, but not realizing that he was on the tracks, he suddenly applied the brakes, this stopping his car just as the train reached the spot.
Dr. Purnell and the passengers in his car were the only eye witnesses to the accident. Conductor Harrington of the train stated that he heard the whistle, but because of the noise of the train it was impossible to hear the bell. He also said that the train always slows up at the crossings and sounded the bell until the station is reached.
The engineer, C. W. McCleary, gave the following account of the accident. "I had shut off power just after we left the woods to slow down for the curve.
"The curve is one-quarter of a mile from the crossing. The whistle was blown and the bell sounding when we approached the crossing. I was looking from my window of the cab and could see the lights of a car ahead of me and one behind the one we struck. On the latter, only
one small light was showing and could not be seen until we were right upon it. When this dim light became visible the first application of the brakes had been made for stopping at the Berlin Station so that our speed was about 30 to 35 miles per hour.
"The emergency was applied as soon as I saw the light and the train could not have possibly have been stopped sooner. As the train stopped, A. S. Politt, the fireman, swung to the ground and ran ahead. He found the oldest daughter with her feet entangled in the wreckage, she was crying "My feet! My feet!". He raised part of the car and she fell free. I lifted her aside and went to release the little girl who was still conscious.
"The colored man fell from the wreck to the side of the track, dead. The woman, however was still gasping when I reached her. The white man too was dead. One of the children breathed for a few minutes after the train stopped. Their groans were terrible. I did not hear anyone scream when the car was struck do to the engine's noise.
"Parts of the car dropped away along the track from the crossing to the where the stop was made and the parts left upon the pilot were crushed into an un-recognizable mass. Parts of the car were driven between the bars of the pilot so that they had to be removed with
crowbars. The pilot was torn almost away and had to be removed before the train could proceed."
Mr. Quillen was the son of Mr. William Quillen, formerly in the service of the Government as one of the Coast Guards. He is survived by a brother, Charles Quillen and by two sisters, Mrs. Joseph Quillin of Ocean City and Mrs. Frank Quillin of Delaware.
Funeral services for Mr. and Mrs. Quillen and their four children were held Thursday afternoon after which internment was made in Evergreen Cemetery.
Mr. Quillen and family lived about two miles from Berlin on a farm owned by A. F. Powell, Esq. Democratic Messenger, August 26, 1916.

Some entries show dates specifically and separately. Some have the dates within the Information notes:
c = Chancery Court Date
f = Family Court Date
o = Orphan Court Date
w = Will Date
p = Probate Date

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