Reuben Davis (1827 – 1901)

I came across Reuben Davis’ grave at St Mary’s Anglican Church in Halswell one weekend and with all the typical, can’t be explained curiousities that makes us human, I can’t stray from a gravestone that has the words ‘accident’ or ‘killed’ without taking a photo – especially if where they died is also scratched into the stone.

According to Jessie Davis, Reuben’s daughter, her father and chimney sweep – aged 74 – left his home on Lincoln Road in his spring cart, heading out to do business in Fendalton on the 20th February 1901. As he approached the Middleton Railway Crossing – near Addington – he somehow failed to spot the train as he came up to the lines.

Jessie confirmed that Reuben was a little hard of hearing but his eye sight was still good. The train driver, who had noticed Reuben, blew the whistle twice after slamming on the brakes. It was too late, the train collected Reuben’s cart, throwing the elderly man clear from his seat.

By the time the train had come to a halt, the driver had to run back 50 yards (45 metres) to be able to go to the aid of Reuben who was very much dead. The horse had been much luckier. The cart had become dislodged from his hindquarters and he bolted away, nothing convincing him to stick around for the ending.

ALL the staff from the train accompanied the body to the nearby Railway Hotel. I have been unsuccessful in finding out where the Railway Hotel once was.

Also sharing his grave is his wife, unfortunately I can’t read her name but she had died before him. I can just make out that she died in 1894.

Reuben had worked as a copper smith at the Addington Yards and had also been an engineer at the Sunnyside Asylum.

*photo taken by Annette Bulovic*

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