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Sarah Barbara Forney Beck

Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 9 Sep 1913 (aged 46)
Rossmoyne, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 104900529 · View Source
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Mrs. David M. Beck and
Mrs. Henry J. Forney are Victims

An east bound Reading freight train struck the automobile of former Councilman David M. Beck at Rossmoyne, Cumberland County at 8:35 o'clock yesterday morning, killed Mrs. Beck and her mother, Mrs. Henry J. Forney and seriously injured Mr. Beck and Sarah, his ten year old daughter. Mr Beck and his daughter are in the Harrisburg Hospital. They will recover.

The automobile was struck when it was two-thirds across the tracks and thrown into the fields about fifteen feet. The occupants were thrown in different directions, the little girl being picked up fifty feet from the crossing. Mrs. Beck and Mrs. Forney were dead when members of the train crew reached them. Mr. Beck was unconscious, but the little girl was not. She talked to the men who picked her up.

The train was not going fast when the accident occured and was followed by a passanger train. As soon as the train was stopped the crew ran back and a message was sent at once to the city. Mr. Beck and the little girl were placed on a train and taken to the Harrisburg Hospital.

There is a bad crossing at the place where the accident happened. The road is not much used. On the west side a view of the tracks is cut off by a field of corn and above the crossing there is a curve. James Martin, engineer of the train says he saw the automobile as it came towards the crossing and thought Mr. Beck intended to stop. Instead the car came on and the engine struck it broadside.

Mr Beck has been operating the car only about two months. He may have lost control of the car when on the tracks or he may have misjudged the distance the engine was away.

Mrs. Beck and her mother were on the rear seat and the little girl was sitting beside Mr. Beck.

Two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Beck, Harry and Charles, and their son-in-law, Charles Smith, work in the Reading offices in this city. Harry is private secretary to Superintendent Stackhouse. When the message from Engineer Martin reporting the accident to Superintendent Stackhouse, the three boys were in the office. Harry read the message and realized that it might mean his people.

When a later dispatch confirmed their fears, Charles Beck and Charles Smith started in an automobile for Rossmoyne. They found a State Constable in charge of the bodies and learned that the coroner had been notified, but had not arrived. They went to Carlisle in their automobile and met the coroner, Dr. W. T. Preston, on his way to Rossmoyne. The bodies were removed to this city during the afternoon.

Coroner Preston said last night that he would hold an inquest this afternoon either at Rossmoyne or at Carlisle Junction. Engineer Martin and Conductor Rhineheart, of this city, and the other members of the crew will be questioned.

Superintendent Stackhouse said yesterday that the Reading would make no investigation of the accident, further than to receive reports from the crew.

"From what I can learn," he said, "It was an unavoidable accident, and no one can be blamed. Mr Beck either misjudged the speed and distance of the approaching train or lost control of his car. I understand the train was moving slowly and its approach could be seen from the road."


There will be a double funeral for Mrs. Henry J. Forney and Mrs. Charles Beck, victims of the Rossmoyne automobile accident. It will be held at Mrs. Forney's late residence, 2606 Main Street, Penbrook on Friday morning at 10 o'clock. Rev. O. E. Houston of the Bethel Church of Penbrook will officiate at Mrs. Forney's funeral, while Rev. W. N. Yates, of the Fourth Street Church of God, this city, will officiate at Mrs. Beck's funeral.

Mrs. Forney was 78 years old. Her first automobile experience was less than two years ago when Mr. Beck purchased the automobile that figured in the smash. She was the widow of a well known business man of this city, who amassed a large fortune before his death.

She is survived by three children, fourteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. The children are Charles M., of Paxtang, a Market Street druggest, Mrs. M. L. Ludwig and Mrs. A. G. Hamilton, both of Penbrook.

Mrs. Beck, who was 46 years old, is survived by six children, Mrs. C. L. Smith, 228 North Fourteenth Street; Misses Martha I. and Sara A., of 228 North Fourteenth Street; Harry F., Charles E. and John C., all of this city.

There are two grandchildren.

[Patriot News - September 10, 1913]



Before a large number of relatives and friends the funeral services over the bodies of Mrs. David M. Beck and her mother, Mrs. Henry Forney, who were killed in an automobile accident at the Rossmoyne grade crossing last Tuesday, were held at the latter's home, Main and Canby Streets, Penbrook, yesterday morning. The Rev. O. E. Huston, pastor of Penbrook Bethel Church, assisted by the Rev. Dr. William N. Yates, pastor of Fourth Street Church of God, of this city, officiated.

Immediately after the services the funeral procession moved to the East Harrisburg Cemetery, where short commital services were held. A number of relatives and friends attended these services and the bodies of mother and daughter were interred in the family burying plot.

Mr. Beck and his ten-year-old daughter, Sarah, the two surviving victims of the wreck, who are now at the Harrisburg Hospital, were unable to attend the funeral on account of their condition. They, however, knew of the services and expressed a desire to their attending physicians at the hospital to attend. Both Mr. Beck and his daughter were reported as resting comfortably.

[Patriot News - September 13, 1913]




  • Created by: Brenda & Pete
  • Added: 9 Feb 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 104900529
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sarah Barbara Forney Beck (7 Dec 1866–9 Sep 1913), Find A Grave Memorial no. 104900529, citing East Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Brenda & Pete (contributor 47232469) .