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 Malinda <I>Postlethwait</I> Dunham

Malinda Postlethwait Dunham

Wetzel County, West Virginia, USA
Death 11 Feb 1933 (aged 53)
West, Wetzel County, West Virginia, USA
Burial West, Wetzel County, West Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 103085363 · View Source
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Daughter of Joseph Postlethwait and Barbara Cain.

Malinda was a survivor of the Tiffin, Ohio train wreck on January 4, 1887 that took the lives of her father and two brothers, as well as many others.

On that date, in the bitterly cold early morning hours near Republic in Seneca County, Ohio, a Baltimore & Ohio passenger train collided head on with a stalled freight train. The passenger train was traveling approximately 60 mph and the resulting crash caused the passenger cars to accordian into themselves.

The passenger train had two sleepers, a smoking car and 65 people onboard. Joseph Postlethwait had sold his ten acre farm in Wetzel Co., WV and was moving his family to Chillicothe, Missouri to where his brother was living. Joseph had approximately $1,500 in his pocket, which was all of the earthly possessions of his family. His wife, Mary Higgins Postlethwait (the step-mother of his children), their two sons and their daughters were on all the ill-fated train.

Joseph and both of his sons were in the smoking car when the crash occurred. The engineer, who jumped to safety, witnessed the locomotives both rise into the air and then crash into the ground. A fire erupted which killed many of those who survived the initial impact. Joseph and his sons perished in the blaze.

Mary, Joseph's wife, and their daughters who were all in the sleeper cars survived the accident. The family was left penniless as all their money was burned inside Joseph's pockets. Mary was left a widow with 50 cents in her pocket.

Many of the unidentified bodies were taken to the Republic town hall for a mass funeral. After the funeral all were buried in a mass grave. The headstone simply reflects they were victims of the train crash.

Joseph, Spencer and Henry were all taken back to West Virginia for burial.

Malinda's death certificate (#2845) indicates that she is buried here. However, Malinda used different names quite often. When she married Wilford Dunham, a son of George Dunham and Susan Rush, on January 8, 1897 her name was shown as Polly Postlethwait. By 1900, she was shown as "Virtue" in the census records. Her headstone shows the name Virtue Dunham and gives the dates of 1880-1934.

At the age of 53 years, 11 months and 27 days, Malinda died from burns. Insanity was a contributing factor.

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A huge THANK YOU to Rhonda Poynter for sponsoring Malinda's memorial! Her kindness and generosity will not soon be forgotten.

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Family Members


  • Created by: kellybean
  • Added: 4 Jan 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 103085363
  • Rhonda C./Friends
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Malinda Postlethwait Dunham (14 Feb 1879–11 Feb 1933), Find A Grave Memorial no. 103085363, citing Higgins Cemetery, West, Wetzel County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by kellybean (contributor 47383012) .