Samuel B. Harrell
Born: 1881
Died: March 19, 1913
Photo taken on Aug. 11, 2000 and shows Sam's gravestone with Javan Higby Harrell
Sam and Virdie's wedding was performed by Arthur B. Sharp.

Sam died in a train accident. The story has been told by relatives that Sam had kicked off a negro riding the train illegally. This black man got off and turned the switch on the train thus causing the train to derail.

Samuel is buried in Saint Stephen's cemetery, Delmar Delaware. The lot where he is buried was purchased by his father in law, George M. Barr (1860-1917) on the same day of of Sam's death..

In the 1880 sensus, Samuel is listed as a stepson, 9 to 12 years old. In 1901 he is listed as a farmer. In 1910 he was living with in laws George M. Barr in Delmar Deleware.

Four newspapers have been located with articles about the train wreck.

The Accomack News, March 22, 1913, page 1. and
The Peninsula Enterprise, March 22, 1913, page 3, col. 3
Train Wrecked, Engineer killed and Fireman Injured
Engine no. 13 with what is known as D.2, a fast freight in tow was derailed just opposite Belle Haven Station at about 4 o'clock Wednesday morning, instantly killing the engineer, Mr. Samuel Harrell, of Bird's Nest, Va., and supposedly fatally injuring the fireman, together with totally demolishing four freight cars and their cargoes, while the engine appears to be a total wreck. The supposition is that some one tampered with the switch lock that caused the engine to run off the track, as it was badly battered when examined. A singular incidence is that the same engine had almost the identical fate about four years ago in less than a quarter of a mile where this wreck occurred, at that time killing both its engineer and fireman.

The Baltimore Sun March 20, 1913, page 1, col. 5.
Two Killed in Collision, Fast Freight Runs Into Open Switch Near Cape Charles
Cape Charles, Va., March 19.--Samuel B. Harrel, engineer, was killed and Virgil H. Hearn fatally injured at 4.25 o'clock this morning when a fast freight train on the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk railroad ran into an open switch at Bellehaven Station. The injured man died several hours later in the Norfolk Hospital where he was taken for treatment. Both men lived at Delmar, Del. The engineer dashed into a switch upon which were six cars loaded with cinders. The engine and five cars were demolished and eight others derailed. The lock to the switch was broken and thrown away, and the railroad officials express the belief that it was a deliberate attempt to wreck the train.

The Baltimore American March 20, 1913, page 1, col. 4
Trainwreckers Kill Two, Switch on the N.Y., P. and N. Had Been Tampered With
Special Dispatch to The American. Cape Charles, Va., March 19--At 4:25 o'clock this morning No. 1, a fast freight train on the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad, at Bellehaven Station ran into a open switch leading into a siding on which were six cars loaded with cinders, demolishing the engine and five cars and derailing eight more. Samuel B. Harrel, engineer, was instantly killed, and Fireman Virgil H. Hearn so seriously injured he died in the Norfolk Hospital a few hours later, where he was taken for treatment. Both men resided at Delmar, Del. It is quite evident that the party or parties who tampered with the switch did so with intent to wreck a train. The lock to the switch was broken and thrown away. Trains had been passing over the switch during the night in perfect safety.

Bellehaven is on the Virginia Eastern Shore in Accomack County, near the Northampton County border.

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