KILLED IN RUNAWAY ACCIDENT. Tragic Death of Young Griggs Flanagan Near Shepherdstown. “The only son of his mother, and she was a widow.”
A splendid young life was crushed out and a loving mother’s heart was well-nigh broken Tuesday afternoon when Griggs Flanagan, only child of Mrs. Bertha D. Flanagan, met with a terrible death while they were on their way home from Shepherdstown. Mrs. Flanagan lives near Bakerton, and every day Griggs came to town to the Graded School, where he was one of the brightest members of the class that will graduate this spring. Some one drove in with him each morning and came back for him again in the afternoon, and although it meant a drive of eight miles each way– a round trip of sixteen miles– so interested was he in his work that he rarely missed a day.
Tuesday afternoon his mother drove in for him, and shortly before five o’clock they started for home, behind their handsome driving horse. As they descended the Staley hill a mile or two east of town they overtook the four-horse team of Geo. M. Knott, of Moler’s Cross Roads. The team was driven by John Cox, and in the wagon were Wilbert Moppin and John Waters. Mr. Cox pulled the team slightly to one side to let the buggy pass, and as it did so the horses drawing the heavy farm wagon took fright and broke into a run. Before they could be checked or the occupants of the buggy could get out of the way the horses plunged into the light vehicle ahead of them and smashed it. As the wheels were torn from the buggy Mrs. Flanagan and Griggs were entangled in the wreckage, and the plunging, stamping horses and the big wagon ran over them as a besom of destruction and continued in a mad flight down the road.
Mr. Moppin had jumped from the wagon in a vain endeavor to draw the rubber, and in a moment or two he and William Byers, who was at work in a field along the road, and John Stevenson, colored, who lived in a house a few yards away, were at the scene. Poor little Griggs lay in a pool of his own blood, while Mrs. Flanagan was almost unconscious from shock and the fearful ordeal through which she had passed. The form of the child was tenderly extricated from the wreckage of the vehicle and carried into the Stevenson house, to which Mrs. Flanagan was also taken. The death of Griggs had been almost instantaneous. It was evident that the wheels of the heavy wagon had passed over his head, crushing the skull and the upper part of his body. He ceased to breathe as they carried him into the house.
Word was immediately sent to town, and in a short time Drs. Banks, Meyers and Burwell were on the scene, and friends of Mrs. Flanagan hastened to her. She seemed to be but little hurt, aside from bruises and contusions, though her escape was almost miraculous. After she had been cared for she was taken to her home near Bakerton, and the body of her son was prepared for burial by Undertaker Hoffman, who later had it removed to the now saddened place whence he had departed in high spirits a few hours before.
When news of the tragedy reached Shepherdstown a gloom was cast over the whole community. Almost everybody knew Griggs and liked him to an unusual degree, and the people could scarcely believe that the bright, manly young fellow who a few moments before had been seen upon the streets in full health and high spirits was now a broken piece of lifeless clay. It caused a feeling of inexpressible sadness to all who knew him — his young schoolmates as well as the older persons in the community who were so fond of him. Griggs was fourteen years of age, but there was a refinement about him that made him seem younger. Bright, intelligent, clean-cut and handsome, he was an unusually attractive boy, and the future seemed to hold for him exceptional promise. That his young life should be so suddenly cut off when there was apparently so much for him to live for, and when such high hopes were centered in him, is indeed a mysterious dispensation of Providence.
We do not know how to express the sympathy of our people for the sorrowing mother, except to assure her that she has in the fullest measure the sincerest condolence of all the community. Griggs was a son of the late John G. Flanagan, a well-known business man of this county. The funeral service will be held at the home Saturday morning at 11 o’clock, and will be conducted by Rev. J. C. Siler, of the Presbyterian Church. The body will be interred in Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown.
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