Joseph Lake “Leath” McKinney

Joseph Lake “Leath” McKinney

Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia, USA
Death 12 May 1908 (aged 68)
Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, USA
Burial Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 42236004 · View Source
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Only son of Robert (ca. 1808 - 1876) and Catharine Baker McKinney (ca. 1812 - ca. 1850). Maternal grandparents were Major Joseph McKinney (1773-?) and Dinah Quigley (1776-1823). Great-grandson of Robert Quigley (1744-1815) and Eleanor Mary Jacob (1745-1821). Brother of Catharine Ann McKinney Moore, who is also buried in Green Hill Cemetery.

Enlisted as a private, Co. B, 1st Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry (Maryland), Federal Army, American Civil War, Sept. 2, 1861 at Clear Spring, Maryland for a period of three years. Not stated if present or absent from September 1861 - December 1862. Apparently provided with a US Government horse. Listed as absent without leave for 3 days (since Dec. 22, 1862). Listed as absent without leave for 10 days but present during the February muster sheet. In confinement at Harper's Ferry guardhouse for having lost his carbine and pistol and a few other issued items as of Feb. 1864. On detached duty at Gen. William H. Emory's headquarters, August 1864. Discharged at Harper's Ferry on September 15, 1864, his term of service having concluded. Listed as having dark complexion, black hair, black eyes, born in Berkeley County, Virginia and occupation as a laborer. Filed for and received a pension for military service, at the rate of $10 per month under the act of June 27. 1890. Apparently filed August 1904 but reassessed under the act of 1907 for $12 per month from Feb. 27. 1907. Cert # 930873. See also Widow's Cert. # 664390.

1870: Listed as residing with father in Hedgesville, Berkeley County, WV.; occupation "Brakeman on RR".

Worked as a brakeman and conductor on the B&O railroad after the war through the early 1900s. Was severely injured in a incident in April 1906, when a runaway yard engine crashed into a string of cabooses standing on a side track in the Keyser, West Virginia yards, smashing the cabooses, killing two men and injuring three.

McKinney, "conductor on the B&O Railroad, from Martinsburg, was one of two men injured in a wreck in the yards of the railroad at Keyser, West Virginia, at 5 p.m. on April 7, 1906. Brakeman Kiser of Brunswick Maryland, was injured, and Conductor [James William] Jennings and Brakeman Long, both also of Brunswick, were killed. The accident was caused by an engine sideswiping another, throwing the throttle wide open and making the engine run wild. "It struck cabooses and masked them into splinters. Jennings and Long were pinned in the wreckage and were burned to death in sight of their comrades, who were powerless to aid. Jennings was held fast by one leg and begged piteously for help."

From the Cumberland Evening Times, 9 April 1906 – "A Wild Engine Causes Wreck."...

"A runaway B.& O. railroad yard engine crashed into a string of cabooses standing in a side track in the Keyser, W.Va. yards Saturday evening, smashing the cabs, killing two men and seriously injuring three others. The dead are J.W. Jennings, an aged conductor of Brunswick, Md.; M. Keyser, brakeman, of Sandy Hook, Md.

The injured: J.L. McKenny, conductor, Martinsburg, W.Va.; W.H. Steye, yard fireman. Keyser, severely bruised; W.B. Long, brakeman, Martinsburg, leg broken and back injured.

The injured men were taken to the Keyser hospital.

Two yard engines sideswiped in the Keyser yards, on tearing away the cab of the other, which threw the engineer and firemen out and threw the throttle of the wrecked engine wide open. This engine ran away down the sidetrack into the cabooses and crashed them against a string of steel hoppers, telescoping three cabooses in which several trainsmen were sleeping.

The cabooses reduced almost to kindling, caught fire and the bodies of the two men who were killed were horribly burned before they could be taken from the wreckage. They were removed to the morgue.

McKenny and Long were taken from the wreck to the hospital. Conductor Jennings and Brakeman Keyser were not instantly killed, but were pinned beneath the wreck and burned to death, their bodies being unrecognizable.

Both men cried to be released from the wreckage, and every effort was made to save them, without avail. The Keyser fire department responded promptly but the wreckage was burned and the men dead before the fire was subdued.

Brakeman J.L. McKenny, taken to the Keyser hospital, died at 9 o’clock [incorrect, of course)

Yard Fireman W.H. Steye, knocked from the yard engine, was severely bruised. McKenny received his injuries in jumping from the caboose.

Conductor Jennings was about 65 years of age and had been in the service of the B.&O. for thirty years. His home was in Brunswick, where the remains were sent. Mr. Keyser’s remains were also sent to Martinsburg this morning."

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  • Created by: Cenantua
  • Added: 21 Sep 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 42236004
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph Lake “Leath” McKinney (31 Jul 1839–12 May 1908), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42236004, citing Green Hill Cemetery, Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Cenantua (contributor 46953050) .