Death On The Tracks: 1903 Bordeaux WA
It was an unseasonably warm spring day in April. Blanch Philby, a mother of two toddlers was on her way to the mill to meet her husband Charles who had just been paid that day. She intended to get his paycheck and then go on to the company store where she planned on buying some things for her baby that was soon to be due.
As was most of the homes in the town, Blanch’s house was perched on the hillside making it necessary for her to go down a flight of wooden steps, cross the railroad tracks and then on to the mill.
She got as far as the tracks when she was distracted by a yell from her friend who wanted her to pick up something at the store for her. “A lone engine operated by a fireman blasted around the bend from behind her.”
Glen Whipple had the sorrowful task of picking up what was left of Charles Philby’s wife and unborn child. [Source: The Tacoma News Tribune and Sunday Ledger – 05 October 1969; from an original story for the Tribune by Jeanne D. (Mrs. W. Ken) Adams, an Olympia, WA area freelance writer.]
As you can imagine, a mill town was a very noisy place to live with big saws running, men shouting, railroad engines and other vehicles all in operation at the same time.
Looking at the 1900 Federal Census District #224 for Littlerock, Thurston, WA we find “Charley” age 25, and Blanch, age 15, Philby (no children) residing in their own home. A few residences away is another Philby family, but there is no way to tell if this is a family connection. The head of household in that family was Amos Philby, age 55, so it’s possible he is the father of Charles/Charley Philby. In 1900 Charley was working as a “timber faller” for a logging company. [Source: Ancestry.com]
Further research in the Washington State Archives Digital Records resulted in a different date for Blanch’s death: 1903. Her grave is in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, Thurston (Tumwater, WA). FindAGrave lists her memorial as Memorial# 38299156 and her date of death is also 1903 there as well.
© Carol Yates Wilkerson 2012