New Jersey Obituaries - 1900 - William Smith

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New Jersey Obituaries - 1900 - William Smith

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Killed By Electricity

William Smith Loses His Life On a Telegraph Pole

His Foot Came in Contact With an Electric Light Wire and He Was Killed Instantly-The Inquest Held To-Day

William Smith of Atlantic Highlands, a young man employed by the Postal telegraph company, was killed at Red Bank last Saturday morning by coming in contact with a charged electric light wire. Smith was at the top of a telegraph pole when he was killed. He did not fall, but was taken down from the pole by some of his fellow workmen.

The accident happened just after the men had begun work in the morning. The Postal telegraph company is putting up some trunk wires and their men had been engaged for some time in erecting new poles, which are considerably larger and taller than the old ones. In some cases the poles were set up between the wires of the electric light company, two of the electric light wires being on one side of the telegraph pole and two others on the other side of the pole.

The pole on which Smith met his death was set up in this way. The pole was on Front street, near the corner of Bridge avenue. The workmen had been notified that the electric light wires were charged, and that they must be careful to avoid contact with them. Smith and J. T. Clark, who was his fellow workmen on the pole, wore rubber gloves and they thought they were secure from harm. The electric light wire were some distance below the top of the telegraph pole. Smith and Clark had worked their way to the top of the pole and had gone safely through the electric light wires. Smith's foot struck the electric light wire and he got a shock. He threw out his hand and grasped one of the charged electric light wires and was killed instantly. He did not release his hold on the wire, but he hung in the air, partly supported by his foot spurs and partly by his hold on the electric light wire, until he was taken down. Two doctors were sent for but Smith was stone dead and they could only report that fact.

Coroner Tetley was notified and he viewed the body. He gave permission to have the body removed to R. R. Mount's undertaking establishment. It was there viewed by a coroner's jury which had been empaneled, and at noon the body was taken to Atlantic Highlands by Amzi M. Posten, who is an undertaker at that place.

Smith's hand and foot were burned by the electric fluid, the fingers being burned to the bone.

Smith was the son of Forman Smith of Atlantic Highlands. He was about nineteen years old and was a young man of good habits and strict integrity. He had been employed by the Postal telegraph company about three years, most of his time having been spent in Maryland. Clark, his fellow workman on the pole, was not a resident of Monmouth county.

Smith was not married. His father and mother are both living, and he leaves also three sisters and a brother. The sisters are Mrs. E. C. Curtis, Mrs. Charles Samuels and Miss Belle Smith. His brother is Arthur Smith. All the sisters and the brother live at Atlantic Highlands.

The Postal telegraph men, who are putting up the poles and wires, live in two big cars which are hauled on wheels by horses from place to place, as the men move from one locality to another. One of these cars is used as a sleeping car and the other as a dining car. The cars have been at Red Bank for a couple of weeks or more, and the men have made Red Bank their stopping place while they were working in this neighborhood.

The coroner's jury met this morning at ten o'clock to inquire into the cause and manner of Smith's death. The jury consisted of Mortimer V. Pack, Harry C. Badeau, Edward C. Morford, James Norman, Patrick Eagen and Daniel Pittenger.

The jury brought in a verdict as follows:

    "We, the undersigned, members of the coroner's jury in the case of one William Smith, do find that the deceased met his death by coming in contact with a live wire of the Shore Electric company on Front street on the 28th day of April."

The funeral was held yesterday afternoon at the home of Mr. Smith's parents at Atlantic Highlands. Rev. J. W. Nickelson of Navesink conducted the service. The body was buried at Fair View cemetery.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, May 2, 1900

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