from The Webster Weekly Times, 25 July 1863 (Volume 5 #20),
Fatal Accident

The lifeless and mangled body of Edward Warren, a returned soldier of the 51st regiment and a citizen of the south Village, was found upon the new railroad bridge a few rods north of the depot in this place, Thursday morning, at about half-past four o’clock. It appears from investigation that he was struck while lying upon the track, just south of the bridge, by the steamboat train, which passed this station shortly before four o’clock.

The body was apparently carried half way across the bridge, by the cow catcher, when the head or shoulders striking a projecting plank, it was thrown clear of the engine, lodging on one of the stringers of the bridge in which position it was found by a Frenchman who happened to be passing the spot. When found the body was yet warm, which fact proved conclusively the recent occurrence of the accident. The deceased leaves a family in indigent circumstances.

A coroners jury was summoned as soon as possible, and after examination of the body, and hearing of testimony the following verdict was rendered.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
Worcester, ss.
An inquisition, taken at Webster, in the county of Worcester, on the 23d day of July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty- three, before Wm. H. Davis, one of the Coroners of said County of Worcester, upon the view of the body of Edward Warren, there lying, by the oaths of the Jurors whose names are hereunto subscribed, who being sworn to inquire in behalf of said Commonwealth, when, how, and by what means said Edward Warren came to his death by wounds received from the Engine of the Steamboat Train running over the Norwich & Worcester Railroad, at the Bridge across the French River, near the Webster Depot, on the 23d day of July, 1863, about 4 o’clock A. M.
In testimony whereof said Coroner and the Jurors of this inquest have heretofore set their hands this day and year aforesaid.
Wm. H. Davis, Coroner
Jurors
Lyman Sheldon,
George Clapp,
Asher Joslin,
Joel Goddard,
John Tingier.

The evidence established the fact that the deceased had been accustomed to the moderate use of strong drink, and further that on Wednesday evening he was somewhat under the influence of liquor. Whether intoxication was directly or indirectly the cause of this accident, we are unable to state. it can hardly be possible that a sober and sane man would have remained standing or walking upon the track with a train approaching, or that he would have laid down or sit down upon the track and fallen asleep there, unless under some strong and unnatural influence.

The direct cause of the accident will never be known, yet if rum brought about his death, there are individuals in this town who could tell more facts to throw light upon the mystery, than all the evidence obtained by the jury of inquest. This is the second violent death which has been occasioned within a month, by the illegitimate use of the railroad between the Center and North Villages

Cannot some means be devised by which the constant use of the railroad track as a highway shall be abandoned? If our town can increase the facilities for direct foot travel between the two points indicated, a further needless sacrifice of life may be avoided; otherwise we must expect to be called upon from time to time to record serious accidents and “ nobody to blame.”