Before we look at the tragedy that took the lives of Frederick and Rosa Payne and two others, let's see what we can find out about the Payne family.
Frederick D. Payne, Sr. was born in approximately 1859. He was a paper-hanger by trade. Rosa DeLorenzo was born probably in New York circa 1860, the daughter of Vincent DeLorenzo and Sarah, nee DeAngelo. Her first marriage took place in approximately 1880. Rosa married Chrisman Toll Taylor, who was a juggler with the Robinson Floating Shows. A daughter, Grace Taylor was born to them in Chicago on August 25, 1881.
Shortly thereafter, Rosa DeLorenzo Taylor filed for divorce from Chrisman Taylor. Because of the nature of her father's profession, the Court awarded full custody of Grace to her mother.
In approximately 1888 Rosa married again - this time to Frederick D. Payne. In August of 1889, Rosa and Frederick were blessed with the birth of a boy they named Frederick Payne Jr. Little Frederick Payne only lived for only five months, dying in Chicago on January 20, 1890. The funeral procession was on its way to Rosehill Cemetery to bury Little Frederick on January 23, 1890 when tragedy struck. Let's look at the account published in the Chicago Daily Tribune of January 24, 1890:
The absence of guard-gates and flagman is responsible for another crossing tragedy. The fast express on the Northwestern leaving Milwaukee at 1:15 p. m. and due in Chicago at 4 o’clock struck a carriage at Rosehill, killing two persons outright and mutilating two others so horribly that they died shortly afterward. The victims are:
Gracie, the 8-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Payne, was also in the carriage, but escaped death by a miracle.
A few days ago Mr. and Mrs. Payne’s 5-months-old baby, Frederick, died, and the funeral was held yesterday at the family residence. After the services the funeral procession of carriages set out for Rosehill, where the body was to be interred. The carriage containing the parents, Mrs. Reprogle and little Gracie Payne followed immediately behind the hearse. Almost at the gate of the cemetery three of the occupants of the carriage and the driver were dashed to death without a moment’s warning.
The engine, which was running nearly fifty miles an hour did not strike the carriage squarely. Had it done so, little Gracie could not have escaped. But the force of the collision was fearful. Mrs. Payne’s body was found hanging on the wire fencing that guards the Rosehill grounds, fully sixty feet from the crossing. A portion of the rear end of the carriage was thrown the same distance and rested upon the body of the unfortunate woman. Mr. Payne fell upon the platform that skirts the track just beyond the carriage road. He was terribly mangled about the head, a portion of his skull being found at a long distance from his body. Mrs. Reprogle was thrown about thirty feet. Little Grace was hurled into the air and fell near the cemetery gates. The driver was thrown into the broad roadway leading to the gates. The horses were not injured.
The traffic was stopped as quickly as possible and backed up to the station. The victims were tenderly lifted into the baggage-car and brought into the city.
A DANGEROUS CROSSING.
The wonder is that his is the first accident of the kind at this crossing. The roadway leading to the cemetery is at right angles to the track of the Northwestern Road. The fact that an accident has never before occurred at this point has to some extent rendered both railway officials and drivers careless. The people of Rosehill claim that they have often asked that proper precaution should be taken to avoid such accidents as that which occurred yesterday. They are indignant that what they call a “cheap policy” on the road’s part should have led to such a frightful disaster. William H. Terwilliger, a bookkeeper for the Rosehill Cemetery company, said last night that on average about eleven interments took place each day at the cemetery, and so great was his fear of an accident that he voluntarily went to the crossing with a flag almost daily when a funeral procession was approaching at train time. When he was unable to attend to the flagging, the station agent of Rosehill usually went in his stead. By an unfortunate combination of circumstances neither the station agent nor Mr. Terwilliger was able to reach the scene of the accident yesterday and warn the procession of the approach of the train.
The station building shuts off the view of the road for some distance, and only carriages in the immediate vicinity of the track can be seen by an engineer, while, on the other hand the track cannot be seen from carriages except at a point some distance from the crossing. It was not until the engine was within forty-five feet of the crossing, so eyewitnesses say, that a warning was given. One shrill blast of the whistle and all was over. The train is due daily at Rosehill at 3:36 p.m., but yesterday it was a trifle late and the speed was unusually high.
THE ENGINEER’S EXPLANATION.
E. J. Mahoney, the engineer who was arrested early in the evening, said in explanation how the accident occurred:
“I left Evanston four minutes late and was making up the time, going at the rate of forty-five or fifty miles an hour. The bell was ringing. When several hundred feet from the crossing a hearse appeared on the track. The horses were going at a rapid trot. I pulled the whistle and shut down the brakes. I expected to strike the hearse, but it was going so fast that it cleared the track, and instead we struck the carriage following it, which was also going rapidly. The pilot struck the hind wheel and smashed the vehicle to pieces. The accident was unavoidable so far as I am concerned. From the road the funeral procession was traveling the train could be seen a long distance off, but it was impossible for me to see it before it appeared on the track. The depot obstructed my view, and the first idea I had of the procession was when the hearse appeared on the track before me. It is the worst accident that even happened in connection with my train.”
Capt. Koch ordered Mahoney’s arrest. He was brought into the station by Officers Hiott and Bell, protesting that it was an outrage, and claiming that he was a citizen and taxpayer who could be found at his home, No. 321 West Indiana street, when not out on the road. In reply to questions he said he had been on the Northwestern road twenty-three years, and that he had been ordered by the company to run his engine at the rate of speed he was going when the accident occurred. He declared that his inability to make schedule time would result in his discharge.
When Mahoney reported the accident to the company the matter was treated so lightly that he was instructed to be at the depot at 8 o’clock this morning to take out his train. His arrest will interfere with that arrangement, as there is no likelihood of his getting bail until after the Coroner’s jury completes its investigation. Conductor J. B. Kavanaugh was in one of the coaches when the accident occurred and knew nothing about it until the train had backed up to the depot.
Said D. Lorenzo, brother of Mrs. Payne: “I was in the carriage immediately behind the one struck. The train was going at such a high rate of speed that I had no sooner seen it opposite the station than it was close upon us. There was no whistle until just before the crash. I found the carriage, broken into kindling wood, on the other track, and near it the body of Mr. Payne. A few feet distant lay Mrs. Reprogle and the driver, both unconscious. After I had helped to carry them over to the platform of the station, I looked around for my sister. I found her hanging on a barbed-wire fence fifty or sixty feet away. She had been thrown with such force that I had to get two men to help me extricate her. She died in two or three minutes. The little girl stood on the platform wringing her hands and weeping as she saw her mother carried up.”
In the first carriage, which preceded the hearse, were Miss Helen Gettman, Mrs. Farley and the four youthful pallbearers. Miss Gettman said: “I was first apprised that something was wrong by the action of our driver, a careful, sober fellow, and a moment later I heard the roar of the train and the crash as it struck the carriage. Then I only know I was gazing in a dazed way at the dead bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Payne.”
Dr. Norman J. Roberts of Waukegan, who was in the smoking-car at the time of the accident and helped to care for the injured people, said: “The train backed up to the station as soon as possible. Mr. Payne was undoubtedly killed instantly, as he had a terrible wound in the head. I did not make an examination, but the skull must have been fractured. Mrs. Payne lived but a few minutes. With the exception of the driver, no one of the four spoke a word after the engine struck them.”
“Did you hear the engine whistle before reaching the station?”
“I do not think it would be proper for me to answer that question, as I shall probably be called as a witness and prefer to make my statements then.”
“Will you say whether the train slowed up either on approaching the station or just previous to the crash?”
“No, I wouldn’t like to answer that question either. I shall, of course, make a correct statement when called as a witness.”
HUSHING IT UP.
As soon as the news of the accident reached Chicago the officials of the road made arrangements to hush the affair up. When the train arrived with the four victims they were carried into the old general office building at the northwest corner of the depot and an employee stationed outside, who replied “I don’t know” to all questions. The gatekeeper showed the same degree of innocence.
“Do you think I’ve got time to run around after such things?” he said.
“Where would the bodies be landed?”
“Over there,” he replied, indicating the corner of the depot directly opposite the building within Payne and his wife already rested in their coffins, while Mrs. Reprogle and Anderson lay dying on rude couches, gasping for breath.
“I don’t know where they are,” answered Supt. E. J. Cuyler of the Milwaukee division, who was found closeted with Conductor Kavanaugh. “There were only two killed.”
“On whom does the responsibility for the accident rest?”
“On the driver of the carriage. He was all muffled up so that he couldn’t see whether there are a train coming or not.”
“Were there bars at the crossing?”
“Was there a flagman stationed there?”
“No. There are not enough people using the crossing to make it worth while.”
THE DYING AND THE DEAD.
After being landed in Chicago Mrs. Reprogle and Anderson were attended by Dr. J. D. Andrews, the young assistant physician of the road. About 5 o’clock Anderson was removed to the Emergency Hospital where he died an hour later. Mrs. Reprogle was not taken to the hospital, and died in the office of the railroad at a few minutes before 6 o’clock.
Last evening the four bodies lay in the back room of Jordan’s undertaking establishment, where they had been embalmed. Payne, who was of powerful build, must have been leaning towards the engine in an attempt to shield the others when it struck him, as the whole front of the top of his head was crushed in. Mrs. Payne was also dreadfully disfigured, her head and face being completely covered with cuts and bruises, and the scalp being torn loose for five inches on the left side of the head. Anderson was probably thrown forward and struck on his forehead. Both eyes were black, and besides several cuts about the head his right temple was much swollen and bruised. Mrs. Reprogle showed few signs of injuries. A slight cut on the lower lip and a bruise on the bridge of the nose were all.
Mr. Payne was a paper-hanger by trade, 29 years of age, and his wife was one year younger. He was a steady, reliable man, and had hosts of friends among his fellow-craftsmen. Little Grace is the only surviving member of the family.
Mrs. Reprogle lived with her husband, a painter, at No. 4 Nebraska street. He did not hear of the accident until almost 8 o’clock last night. The news almost distracted him. He is 21 years old, and she was about 19, and they were married about four months ago.
Simon Anderson, the driver, leaves a widow, but no children. He was well known in sporting circles, and formerly worked for Budd Dobie at Washington Park. His widow sent for the body last night, but was refused it until after the inquest, which will probably be held at 10 o’clock this morning.
Anyone who visits Rosehill Cemetery today and enters through the main gate is well aware of the railroad tracks - they are elevated atop a mound of soil and you have to go under the tracks to enter the cemetery.
|Rosehill Main Gate - 2016|
This is the way the tracks looked in January of 1890 when the Payne funeral procession was struck by the train speeding down the track from the North.
To get a slightly different viewpoint on the outcome of the Coroner’s Jury we will look at the following article from the Chicago Inter-Ocean from January 26, 1890:
Edward D. Lorenzo (sic) and Frederick Payne were the first witnesses called. (Note: obviously Frederick Payne could not have been called as a witness because he had been killed in the accident, but both the Inter-Ocean and the Tribune reported that Frederick Payne was the first witness.) They were followed by William Reprogal, whose wife was killed, and by McAfee, of No. 1835 Wabash avenue. The first testimony having any real bearing on the case came from Israel Fortier, who was driver of the carriage immediately following the one that was struck. He had seen Anderson’s team plunging as though they were badly frightened and were trying to get away. He saw Anderson urge his horses onto the track, and the next moment the train struck the carriage. Fortier said that at first he had seen the train when it was 150 feet away, but later he said that he did not see it until he got within fifty or sixty feet of the track, when he noticed smoke over the station-house. Fortier had seen the driver of the first carriage, Frank Woodard, motion for the others to stop, but supposed (he) could get across the tracks ahead of the train or he would not have attempted it.
Miss Hellen Geltman and Mrs. Nellie Farley, who were in the first carriages with the little pall-bearers, had seen their driver motion to the others to stop, and Mrs. Farley, looking out the back window of their carriage, had seen the train strike Anderson’s carriage, and hurl its occupants into the air. Frank Woodard, driver of the carriage that led the procession, said he had noticed the train coming about a block away, and had motioned the other drivers to stop.
Louis Johnson, driver of the hearse which so narrowly escaped destruction, said he saw the train, but his team was unruly; he was afraid to stop, and so went ahead.
Julius Betzold, a boiler-maker, whose home is at No. 74 West Erie street, was on the rear platform of the smoking car of the train when he heard a crash, and looking out saw pieces of the carriage flying into the air and noticed the team running away. Betzold said there was no whistle sound until after the accident occurred and that no bell was ringing. On cross-examination the witness’ story was not very coherent, so his testimony was closed and the jury adjourned until 2 o’clock.
At the afternoon session several eye-witnesses of the accident from Rose Hill were introduced, but nothing new was brought out, the testimony being practically the same as given by the morning witnesses, and establishing very clearly the fact that the driver, Anderson, could have averted the accident if he had used ordinary precaution.
The testimony also showed that the engineer, under orders laid down by the railroad company in its time card, was running his train in the city limits ten or fifteen miles an hour faster than the city ordinance allows. Another fact elicited was that a number of narrow escapes have happened at the same crossing, and that the employees of the cemetery company have been in constant fear that just such an accident as the one of Thursday would happen them.
The first witness was William Flood, a teamster living at Rose Hill, who was on the railroad platform, about seventy-five feet from the crossing, and saw the accident. He saw the driver of the first carriage motion to the others to stop, and saw Anderson urge his horses on to the track where he was struck. Miss Addie Anderson told the same story of the accident as did William Lachle, who with Miss Anderson, saw the occurrences from the window of a store near the crossing. All three of these witnesses thought that Anderson could have avoided the accident if he had stopped when the train whistled instead of urging his team onto the track.
John Scharres, an employee of the cemetery company, after relating the incidents of the accident as he saw them, said he had waved his hands to the approaching procession just before the first carriage drove onto the track, but no attention was paid to the warning, and he did not know whether the drivers had seen him or not. “There have been a great many narrow escapes there,” the witness said, “but no flagman has ever been there. The men working at the cemetery have always been afraid something like this would happen, and often said there ought to be a gate at the crossing.” Scharres said he thought the road was owned by the cemetery company as the gates were closed and locked every night.
Franklin D. Cummings, for whom Anderson was driving, said that the team was a specially safe one, and he considered Anderson one of the best drivers he had ever known.
Engineer Mahoney told his story very briefly. “I was just opposite the north end of the Rose Hill station when I saw a carriage crossing the track ahead of me. I whistled, put on brakes, and the next instant struck the carriage. That was all there was to it. My train stopped within a quarter of a mile and we backed up to take the people aboard.” In answer to questions, witness said he was running at the usual speed for his train, forty or forty-five miles an hour, at the time of the accident. “I know nothing of the city ordinances, I run by my time card,” the witness said, “and that card calls for the speed I was running at the time. We were about four minutes behind time leaving Evanston, but were not running unusually fast on that account. His engine bell had been ringing all the way from Highland Park, being worked automatically by compressed air.
William A. Anderson, the fireman, corroborated the engineer’s testimony.
E. L. Long, president of the Rose Hill Cemetery Company, who was the next witness, said that the road where the accident happened had never been formally dedicated as a public highway, but had been used as such for years. The company had never anticipated trouble, and did not think of gates because the road is straight for miles and trains can easily be seen approaching. There had not been an accident there before in thirty years. Witness thought the railroad had bought the right-of-way from the Cemetery Company, but the latter company keeps the road in repair.
Acting Superintendent Walter Chadband, of the Cemetery Company, testified to practically the same facts as Secretary Long.
Then a long discussion of gates and means of protection for crossings followed between the jury and the witness. Mr. Chadband thought that perhaps the former superintendent of the cemetery, Joseph Gow, had spoken to the railroad people about putting gates in at the Rose Hill crossing two years ago, but if he had, nothing ever came of it. A map of the railroad track, showing the relative position of the track and buildings near the accident was shown to the jury, after which the case was closed.
The jury retired for deliberation at 5:30 o’clock, and a verdict was returned shortly after 7 o’clock. According to it, the accident was due to the carelessness of Driver Simon Anderson, the neglect of the Rose Hill Cemetery Company in not taking proper precautions to guard the crossing, and the violation of the city ordinance regulating the speed of trains by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company. Engineer E. J. Mahoney was exonerated from all blame.
Secretary Long, of the Rose Hill Cemetery Association, wrote to Commissioner Purdy yesterday asking whose duty it was to put up protective gates at the cemetery entrance, the city’s or the railroad company’s. In looking the matter up it was discovered that the railway could not be compelled to do anything, as the entrance in question is not a public but a private one. Consequently the public have no right to cross the tracks at that point, and the company is not responsible for an injury done, as no street has ever been platted there, and it has never been condemned as a highway.
It was reported that miraculously none of the horses involved in the accident were injured.
After the Coroner's Jury had completed their investigation, the bodies were released for burial. Ironically, Frederick Sr. and Rosa Payne were buried with their infant son Frederick Payne Jr. in Rosehill - in Section 106, Lot 232.
Elizabeth Reprogle was also buried at Rosehill - In Section J, Lot 157.
I was unable to determine where the carriage driver Simon Anderson was buried.
So, was that the end of the story? Of course not. Newspapers reported that the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad had, without admitting any liability I'm sure, awarded Grace Taylor $10,000.00 - $5,000.00 each for the loss of her mother and step-father. (Several sources reported that the payout was $7,500.00 - maybe that was the net payout after the lawyers got their share.) All of a sudden little Grace Taylor became a hot commodity, as everyone and their brother turned up offering to take in Little Grace. This was complicated by the fact that the person who had taken Little Grace in, refused to give her up.
The Tribune reported on February 11th that a writ of Habeas Corpus had been issued for little Grace Taylor. Since her father, Chrisman Taylor, was on the road with the circus when her mother was killed, the Court appointed Mrs. Payne's brother Edward DeLorenzo as guardian. However, it was discovered that little Grace had been taken in by Mrs, Huldah A. Armstrong, a family friend, who refused to give her up. Now it was reported that Chrisman Taylor was a "theatrical manager." I guess that sounds like a more responsible job than "juggler."
For the next part of the story let's go back to the Chicago Inter-Ocean from February 22, 1890:
On the witness stand Delorenzo said he resided at 1379 West Taylor street. He was in the saloon business at No. 147 Jackson street for two months before the death of Mr. and Mrs. Payne. About that time he quit the business and has not been engaged since. Prior to his keeping a saloon he was a bar-tender for Con Ryan. When Mrs. Payne was being buried Delorenzo said Mrs. Armstrong took Gracie home and he has been denied the privilege of seeing his ward. He denied having told Mrs. Armstrong that he wanted money and not the girl. The money he received from the road was placed in a bank, and the uncle admitted having spent some of it for attorney's fees, etc.
Mrs. Eliza J. Taylor, grandmother of Gracie, resides in Louisville, Ky. She thought Delorenzo was a good man, and was willing that he should act as guardian. A few neighbors were called, and as far as they knew, Delorenzo and his wife were respectable people.
Miss Susan Baxen said she was a Sunday-school teacher at the Centenary Methodist Church, where little Gracie began to go about the time Mrs. Taylor was divorced. To the witness Mrs. Taylor complained of the bad treatment of Taylor, and said she would sooner have the pretty child dead than have Mr. Taylor get her. Augusta Olson had known Mrs. Taylor four years ago, when both of them were engaged in sewing around the wardrobe rooms of the various theaters. Mrs. Taylor complained bitterly of her husband and of her brother Delorenzo. She was almost starving, and no one would give her assistance. Mrs. Taylor told witness that she would rather take Gracie's life than that the girl should fall into the custody of Taylor after she died.
Mrs. Armstrong then told how she became acquainted with the mother and how she got the custody of the child. Gracie was asked who she wanted to go with, and she replied she desired to remain with Mrs. Armstrong.
After arguments were made the Court decided that the father could not recover his daughter by these proceedings because he was cut off by the divorce decree which awarded the girl to the mother. As to him the petition would be dismissed. The character of Delorenzo, the Court said, had stood the test of most young men. The main issue, however, was Delorenzo's guardianship. The Probate Court, having jurisdiction, had appointed Delorenzo guardian, and the Chancellor did not sit as a court of review. A habeas corpus petition was a law case. Having been appointed guardian Delorenzo was entitled to the child until removed by the Probate Court. Delorenzo took little Gracie home, and this will probably wind up the litigation.
What about the other major players in this drama - what happened to them? Little Grace's uncle and guardian, Edward DeLorenzo went on to become a lineman with the telephone company. He and his wife Margaret had five children of their own. Edward DeLorenzo died on November 20, 1912 at the age of 50. Records indicate that he is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Evanston, but the archdiocesan cemetery database does not show any record of him.
Engineer Emmett J. Mahoney who was personally exonerated of blame in the accident, remained an engineer with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad for the rest of his career. He retired in 1916 after 50 years of service with the railroad. Mahoney died on March 5, 1924 at the age of 79, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waukegan, Illinois:
Huldah A. Armstrong, the erstwhile guardian of Little Grace, had two children of her own. She went on to be the proprietor of a rooming house in Chicago. Huldah Armstrong died March 24, 1928. She was 83 years old. Like the Paynes and Elizabeth Reprogal she was buried at Rosehill, but unlike the Paynes, her grave is marked:
Chrisman Taylor, the father of Little Grace was denied custody by the Court after the accident in 1890. Taylor remarried on November 12, 1892, to Annie Elizabeth Harvey who was living in Chicago but from New York. To complicate matters, they were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Christman” Taylor told the Methodist minister that he was a “Travelling Salesman.”
The 1900 US Census contains some interesting revelations about the Taylor family. It shows Chrisman (now called “Charles”) Taylor and his wife Annie living in Little Rock, Arkansas along with their daughter Grace Taylor. Apparently Grace was not happy living with her Uncle Edward DeLorenzo and his family, so she went back to her natural father and his new wife.
In the 1900 Census, Charles Taylor is now a “theater manager. Also living with them was 50 year old William Taylor, a “Boarder.” Charles and Annie must have decided to simplify their story, so most of what they told the census taker was untrue. Charles Taylor told the census taker that he was born in May, 1850. He was actually born in 1852. He said that he and Annie had been married for 17 years; they had actually been married for 8 years. They said that Grace was born in November, 1885 in Pennsylvania; she was born in August of 1881 in Chicago. Annie Taylor said that she had given birth to one child and that child was still alive. That may have been true, but that child was not Grace Taylor. It never ceases to amaze me how often people gave incorrect information to the census takers.
Chrisman Toll ("Charles") Taylor died in Louisville, Kentucky in April 27, 1917. He was buried in the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, No mention was made of his past as a juggler.
Annie Elizabeth Harvey Taylor died in Louisville on September 3, 1937. She is buried next to her husband in the Cave Hill Cemetery but her grave is not marked.
On July 15, 1905, 19 year old Grace Taylor (she was really 24) married 53 year old George Trendley (1853-1914) in St. Charles, Missouri. George told the 1910 US Census taker that he was a "Laborer." They were blessed with three children: Susan Elizabeth (1906-1989), Charles (1907-1964), and George Francis Trendley (1909-1980). George Trendley died June 5, 1914 in Dardenne, Missouri. He was 62 years old.
Grace went on with her life and on April 23, 1919 she married widower William Middeke in St. Charles, Missouri. Grace said she was 33. she was really 38. William Middeke had eight children with his first wife - he and Grace had only one: Earl Joseph Middeke (1921-1966).
Grace Taylor Trendley Middeke died in Kirkwood, Missouri on January 9, 1951. Here is her death certificate:
Grace was cremated at the Valhalla Crematory in St. Louis. It is not know if her ashes were buried or scattered.
Many of the "facts" on her death certificate are incorrect. She was born August 25, 1881, not November 10, 1881. She was born in Chicago, not Pittsburgh. Her father's name was Chrisman Taylor, not Charles Taylor. Her mother's name was Rosa DeLorenzo, not Anna Harvey. The informant for the death certificate was her daughter Susan Trendley Reinecke. I wonder if Susan even knew that the facts she was reporting about her mother simply were not true. Did Grace ever tell her children about the horrible day in 1890 when she saw her mother and father killed and she was thrown from the wreckage of a carriage and a speeding train? Or was the memory so painful that she blotted it out of her mind altogether? Did she ever tell them she had a step-brother? Did they ever visit the graves at Rosehill? We'll never know - all of the principals are dead.
But we have not forgotten. The purpose of this blog is so that these people and their stories are not forgotten.
Frederick Payne, Sr.
Frederick Payne, Jr.
Rosa DeLorenzo Taylor Payne
Chrisman Toll Taylor
Grace Taylor Trendley Middeke
All of their lives were changed in an instant outside the gates of Rosehill Cemetery during the funeral for a little boy.
May they rest in peace.