"Breaking" News of the N&W

The Salem Sentinel was a weekly four-page newspaper published between 1895-1902. It had a smattering of news and a number of columns of local neighborhood news from hamlets around the valley. It also had a semiregular feature of news from the Radford Division, with personal notes about people who worked for the N&W (such as births and weddings), comments and commentary about known folks on the railroad, and news about happenings such a new engines, changes in positions, etc. It is one of the many digitized papers at the Library of Virginia (https://virginiachronicle.com/).

This section starts off with several news stories from the Roanoke Daily Times, also from the Virginia Chronicle, about wrecks on the N&W.

Roanoke Daily Times, Volume 6, Number 108, 8 April 1890, pg. 1


Passengers Badly Scared and Shaken Up But No So Serious Damage Done.

The Norfolk and Western passenger train which left here for the west Saturday afternoon at 5:40 o'clock ran against a freight car jutting on the main track at Wallace's station near Bristol about 11 o'clock that night. The engine was damaged considerably and two freight cars were knocked off the track. The passengers were at once transferred to Bristol, but it was three hours before the train could be removed. Fortunately no one was hurt.


The breaking of the wheel of a coal car Sunday night caused the wreck of seventeen cars at Ball's Hole, seven miles west of Salem on the Norfolk and Western Railroad. A colored brakeman was slightly injured, but no one else was hurt. The accident occurred at 11:30 o'clock and it was 2 o'clock Monday afternoon before the wreck was removed and the track repaired.


Roanoke Daily Times, Volume 6, Number 124, 27 April 1890, pg. 1

Another Wreck.

A wreck occurred on the Norfolk and Western railroad early yesterday morning at Ball's Hole, near Carnegie City. Twelve cars of a freight train jumped the track and were badly damaged. A colored brakeman had his left hand considerably mashed and a man whose name could not be ascertained also received slight injuries. This is the third or fourth wreck that has occurred at or near this place this year.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 6, Number 1, 28 February 1899, pg. 3

Killed on the Track.

An unknown white man was run over and killed on the Norfolk and Western railroad track, about one-half a mile west of Balls Siding station yesterday morning between the hours of nine and ten o’clock. It appears that the stranger was walking eastward on the right hand track, and hearing a freight train coming behind him, stepped over on the other track. Before he realized it, no doubt, another freight train coming very rapidly around a curve just ahead of him, struck him and knocked him headlong into the side of a cut, half burying him. The lifeless form, mangled terribly about the head and right leg, was picked up and brought to the Salem freight depot. Justice J. H. Camper was notified and he immediately summoned the following jury: W. H. Tinsley, R. H. Ligon, T. A.Snead, W. F. Francis, M. J. Ballard and W. A. Brown.

The jury went to the depot yesterday afternoon at 2 o’clock and after viewing carefully the remains, come to the conclusion that the unknown man came to his death through nobody’s carelessness and no blame was attached to anyone.

On the body was found a purse in which was a small lock of black hair, tied with a purple ribbon. In another pocket was found a pipe and a ball of thread and a few buttons. Nothing else was found on the body that gave a clue to the man’s identity. The remains will be buried to-day in the county Potter's field by Mr. W. A. Brown.

The section foreman at Balls Siding says that the stranger put up at his house Sunday night and when given his supper stated that it was the first food be had eaten since Friday. He appeared to be demented. Several of the jurymen think he was a foreigner.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 33, 13 October 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Last Friday, 2nd, while a little son of Section Foreman W. O. Reese was playing on the railroad he was struck by the local freight and it was a remarkable escape from an instantaneous death. He was struck on the head by the pilot beam of the engine. At the present time he is doing well and we hope will soon be out.

Mr. Jewell will move his family to Montgomery this week. He is succeeded as operator at the tower by Mr. Chas. Wilson, of Willowton, W. Va., who moved his family into the Nash Givens’ property.

The Misses Givens, of Clifton Forge, who have been visiting in our midst for sometime left for their home last week.

Our farmers are all busy sowing wheat. We have no such thing as a gold bug Democrat or a former Democrat going to vote for McKinley and using the Indianapolis ticket as a screen. We sincerely hope these so-called Democrat-Republicans and their allies will be so badly defeated that the “gold standard” will never be heard of again.

Three cheers for Billy Bryan, and the Sentinel for giving us a neutral paper during such a heated Presidential campaign. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 34, 20 October 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings

Mr. and Mrs. Hensen, of Eagle Rock are visiting the family of Mr. B. H. Thomas, the father of Mrs. Hensen.

Mr. Sidney Wilson, of Christiansburg, visited his brother Charles this week.

Mr. Robert Goodwin, of Roanoke, spent a few days among relatives here and helped some of the young Odd Fellows "ride the goat" Tuesday night.

Mr. D. B. Strouse began a protracted meeting at Cedar Grove Friday night last. We wish him abundant success.

Mr. H. C. Hatcher's sale took place Wednesday, 7th. Everything sold well except corn and horses. Mr. Hatcher will move his family to Cambria where he expects to engage in the mercantile business. Mr. Hatcher is one of our most substantial business men and has been in the neighborhood all his life and will be greatly missed. We congratulate the people of Cambria in gaining such a noble man as a citizen. Our loss is their gain.

Our farmers are busy plowing and sowing wheat.

There are squirrels without number this year and any time you feel like taking a hunt, Mr. Editor, shoulder your musket and come up, and we will insure you a nice mess. G.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 36, 3 November 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

The meeting held by Messrs Strouse and Marshall closed on Wednesday, 21st. It was the greatest revival ever held in this community.

A great many professed sanctification and almost all who attended were converted. The preaching was so plain a little child could understand, and the earnest manner in which it was presented caused conviction to the most hardened sinner. We have attended a good many revivals but never one where the spirit of God war so manifest. At a prayer meeting service held all Christians were asked to rise, and all in the house arose but four.

Mr. Strouse is now holding a meeting at Elliston. It will be eagerly attended from here.

Mr. Clifton Ronk, of Roanoke, is “wielding the birch and teaching the young idea how to shoot” at Riverside school house.

Mr. Jas. S. Yeoman was organizing a lodge of “I. O. O. F.” at Montgomery this week.

Messrs. Barnitz and Bear, of Salem, addressed a small crowd of McKinleyites at Riverside school house on the 28th.

Mr. ------ Thomas, of Texas, is visiting his uncle, B. H. Thomas, near Lafayette. Mr. W. E. Reese's little boy has recovered from the blow received by the local freight train the first of the month.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wilson visited friends and relatives at Alleghany Springs and Christiansburg last week. Mr. R. W. Ford, extra operator, did the “owl act” at the tower during Mr. Wilson’s absence.

Mr. Kent Loving, of Salem, is moving into the Thomas house near the tower. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 38, 17 November 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

As the election is over and we have about recovered from the shock and still have money enough to buy a stamp under the gold standard, we will write you again. As our noble leader says, “we have been overpowered but not beaten.” Until the Chicago convention we were without a leader, now we have one that should arouse the patriotism in every true American and fill him with enthusiasm to follow such a leader as William J. Bryan. We, too, think the fight has just begun.

Mr. editor, we are not given to flattery, but your editorial on “the result of the election” was the best we have ever seen and anyone who read them could draw a vivid picture of the future under the single gold standard.

Again has our community had a gloom cast over it by the death of Miss Bessie Rayborn. She was only eighteen years of age, and just budding into womanhood, and a favorite with all who knew her. To the bereaved ones we extend our heart-felt sympathy. To her friends we commend her noble Christian example.

Mr. David Jones moved to Christiansburg Friday.

Mr. W. E. Reese spent a couple of days in Montgomery county this week.

Mr. Charles Thomas, city treasurer of Roanoke, spent a couple of days on his farm setting out fruit trees etc., this week.

Miss Mollie Givens, of Shawsville, is visiting Mrs. Ellen Givens.

Miss Ellen Hatcher, of Cambria, is visiting her friend, Miss Lucy Wilson.

Mr. John Reese has moved his saw mill near Riverside school house.

A post office has been established at Glenvar, with Mr. F. C. Harman postmaster.



Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 39, 24 November 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Mr. Frank Robinson, of Montgomery White Sulphur Springs, moved into the Dennahoe property on the rock road Saturday.

Miss Nannie Northcross, of Elliston, visited Miss Mattie Bandy on Monday and Tuesday.

Miss Ellen Hatcher returned to her home in Cambria, Thursday, after a several days’ visit to her many friends here. She was accompanied home by Miss Lucy Wilson, who will visit friends and relatives in Montgomery county.

Mr. Porter, of Roanoke city, is visiting his daughter, Miss Alma Porter, who is teaching the Dry Hollow school.

Mr. Jas. Yearout, of Big Tunnel, was down Sunday and Monday, but his time was monopolized and very few got to see him.

Mr. Frank Heslip has been taking a few days needed rest from his duties as “night owl” at the tower. Mr. L. K. Johnson, of Cambria, pulled the paddles during Mr. Heslip's absence.

In answer to “Rollin’s” inquiry, “What has Frank Heslip gone and done, he is not working for the Co.?” Suffice it to say he did not “drop off.” Well. “Gr.” you “13.”

A great many of our young people and some of the older ones have taken advantage of the beautiful moonlight nights and attended the revival at Lafayette, conducted by Rev. Mr. Deyerle. We hear it is one of the most successful meetings ever concocted at that place. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 40, 1 December 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

The Riverside and Dry Hollow schools celebrated Thanksgiving day at Cedar Grove church. The day was enjoyed by teachers and pupils and all who attended the exercises.

Grandmaster T. V. Turney, of Old Point, Deputy Grandmaster Chas. Fox, of Roanoke, Messrs. S. M. White and Parrish, of Salem, and Robert L. Goodwin, of Roanoke, visited Fort Lewis Lodge I. O. O. F. 154 last Tuesday night. Mr. Parrish is one of the oldest Odd Fellows in Virginia. He joined in 1854, and he is as enthusiastic as one who has just been initiated into the order.

Messrs. John Heslep and John Goff made a flying trip to Cambria last week.

Miss Lucy Wilson returned yesterday from a visit among friends and relatives at Cambria and Christiansburg.

Mr. Jacob Cook and wife, of Roanoke, spent Thursday night with Mr. W. E. Reese on their way to visit relatives in Montgomery county. Mr. Emmet Givens is home from Bluefield on a visit.

The pay car gladdened the hearts of the railroad boys on Thanksgiving day.

Miss Farrow, of Salem, visited her sister, Mrs. Kent Loving this week.

We are thinking of erecting a “Ham” factory here for the benefit of those who have the telegraph mania and learning everybody, old and young, as the prevailing idea here seems to be “learn telegraphy.” We do not know what they expect the other trades and professions to do. Nor where the supply for all the “Hams” will come from. But if the Western & Union will put a telegraph officer every one hundred yards it could employ some of them.

Learning telegraphy puts us in mind of getting married. Before a fellow learns he thinks all he needs is to learn to telegraph, but afterward he thinks he needed to learn all but telegraphy. Before a fellow marries he thinks all he needs is a wife and afterwards he finds he needed all but one. Well, boys, take one's advice who is experienced in both lines and do not do either. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 41, 8 December 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

J. E. Bandy, Esq., attended court in Christiansburg on Monday.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Thomas, of Roanoke, spent several days with relatives here the first of the week.

Messrs. Flem and Bruce Loving, of Roanoke, visited their brother, Kent, this week.

Mr. Jas. S. Yeatman is attending the Masonic Grand lodge in Richmond.

Messrs. R. L. and E. E. Goodwin, of Roanoke, were up on a hunt Wednesday.and succeeded in bagging several cotton tails.

Mr. Emmit Givins has returned to his duties at Bluefield. Mr. W. E. and Miss. Mollie Reese attended the burial of their sister Mrs. J. M. Vaden, near Elliston, on Wednesday.

Mr. Richard Owens is working an extra force fencing the railroad property west of the tower, and will finish fencing all the property that has not been fenced, which will be a great relief to our farmers on account of their stock.

Mr. Ronk, “wielder of the birch” at Riverside school house, spent Saturday and Sunday in Roanoke.

Mr. Frank Robinson had a singular experience with a horse on Saturday night. Mr. John Richardson, of near Lafayette, had been to Salem, and returning one of his horses took sick just as he got to Mr. Robinson's, and he had to leave it. About 3 o’clock that night the horse got into the kitchen and after he had broken the table, some chairs and dishes, Mr. Robinson succeeded in getting him out. The horse died in great agony on Sunday morning. Mr. Robinson says he has ridden a great many horses and in a great many places, but lie never rode a crazy one and in a kitchen too sitting on its head before.

There are a couple of ladies in our community we would be afraid of the broom if we were to ask them if they did not want to buy some soap and get a fine china set as a premium. Soap agents better “go slow” up here. Wonder how many more ladies got left in the county? C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 42, 15 December 1896, pg. 3

Balls Siding Jottings.

Mr. O. L. Givens and Miss Sallie Giles, two of our most popular young society people were united in matrimony at the residence of Dr. Taylor, in Salem, on Thursday, 10 inst. The groom was attended by Messrs. J K. Heslip and George Beamer. The brides-maids were, Miss Lucy Wilson and Miss Mattie Bandy, The happy couple will spend a couple of weeks here and then go to Roanoke, where they expect to make their future home. May success attend their every effort in life.

Messrs. Jas. G. Yeatman, S. A. Yeatman, R. M. Cox and Chas. Wilson assisted in instituting an I. O. O. F. lodge, at Montgomery, Saturday night. The lodge was instituted under the most favorable auspices, and we predict for it a broad field of usefulness.

Mr. Sidney Thomas, who has been very sick with fever for some time, we are glad to see, is able to be out among his many friends again and is greeting all with the broad smile and hearty handshake which has made him a favorite with all who know him.

Mr. A. B. Wilson returned on Sunday from a short trip to Trinity, Montgomery county.

Mr. Chas. Cook spent Saturday night and Sunday in Montgomery county, at his former home.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 43, 22 December 1896, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

About two o'clock a. m. Sunday, 19th, the house near the section house used for the section men to stay in, was discovered on fire by a passing freight train, but the fire had gained such headway it could not he extinguished, and the section house was with difficulty saved by the assistance of three or four freight engines. Mr. Reese's hog pen was burned and a hog which would have weighed about 200 pounds burned entirely up. Both hogs got out, one ran away from the fire and one into it. The R. R. Co. had a lot of lumber burned which was stored away in the house, and a cooking stove the hands used, and the bedding belonging to the hands. The fire is supposed to have originated from a spark from a passing engine.

Mrs. Reese, who has been very sick for some time, we are glad to say, is improving and we hope will soon be well again.

Miss Lora Givins is visiting Mrs. Ellen Givins.

Our people had a mad dog scare this week. It is supposed several dogs were bitten before the mad one was killed by Mr. Ed Thomas. Several supposed to have been bitten have been killed also.

The schools have closed until after the Holidays, much to the delight of the “small fry.”

Mr. Frank Heslip went to Roanoke to lay in a supply of Xmas gifts. Girls, we know some are going to get something nice, so you had better cast your sweetest smiles until after Xmas, at him.

Mr. Henry Bandy represented the “Ham factory” at Radford this week, but reports no demand for “Hams" at present, and we know the demand is growing “beautifully less” daily. Our people have “Xmas in their bones” now, but as money is so scarce we do not look for much.

The “great revival” in business has not struck our section yet.

Wishing the Sentinel a merry Xmas, we close. “ C.”


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 47, 19 January 1897, pg 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Your correspondent had the grippe last week and was unable to write up the news from here.

Miss Mattie Bandy returned Thursday from Cambria where she had been visiting relatives.

Miss Kate Leonard, from near Christiansburg is the guest of Miss Nannie Heslep.

Mr. John Goff spent several days in Cambria last week.

Mr. I. T. Bandy has had quite a spell of the grippe, but is convalescent now, and we hope will soon be well again. Mr. S. K. Johnson, of Christiansburg, “did the owl act” at the tower while Mr. Wilson was sick.

We are frequently very much amused at the assertions of the “Boltocrat” papers and the Hannaites that “the money question is dead, buried too deep to ever be resurrected again.” Wo presume they think as we were overcome by the moneyed forces of Mark Hanna, we should accept this as conclusive, we were in the wrong. Why so many banks should have failed after public confidence had been restored, we are at loss to understand. “The people who advocated free silver before the election advocate it now. The election has decided the Presidency for four years, and it has determined the complexion of Congress for two years, but it has not overthrown the cop------- who believe that the gold ---- conspiracy against the welfare of the producing masses, nor has it changed the convictions of those who believe that trusts must be abolished and corporations made to obey the laws. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 48, 26 January 1897, pg 3


Two Men Run Down by a Passenger Train.

Yesterday morning, about 7o'clock, Mr. Charles Cook was struck and instantly killed by the west bound passenger train, near Balls Siding, about eight miles west of Salem. Mr. Cook was assistant section foreman, and, accompanied by the section hands, was on his way to work, and while waving at a brakeman on a passing freight, failed to see the fast approaching west-bound passenger train, which struck him with the result above mentioned.

Mr. Cook was a young man of highly moral character, and had only been married a month. He was a member of the St. Lewis Lodge I. O. O. F. No. 154, and his funeral will be conducted under the auspices of that lodge. Lilbern Saunders, colored, a railroad employe, was also run down by the same train, both of his legs being cut off. His injuries have not yet, but may prove fatal. He was taken to his home in Montgomery county.

Coroner's Inquest.

At an inquisition taken yesterday before J. H. Camper, coroner of Roanoke county, upon the view of the body of C. M. Cook, the jurors, sworn to inquire when, how, and by what means the said C. M. Cook came to his death, upon their oaths do say “The said C. M. Cook came to his death between 6 and 7 o’clock a. m., on the 25th day of January, 1897, by being struck by the engine of train No. 5 of the Norfolk & Western Railway Company going west. We, the jury believe that the accident was caused by the negligence of the engineer of train No, 5 of the Norfolk & Western Railway Company in not giving the signals.”


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 49, 2 February 1897, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Leubern Saunders, the colored man who was so seriously injured by passenger train No. 5, on Monday, when Mr. Cook was killed, died at 7:80 a. m., Sunday, at Elliston. He did not have his legs cut off as reported in the Sentinel, but had both legs broken below the knees and his scull[sic] fractured. Neither man was cut or mangled any. He was forty seven years old and had been working on the section since 1873. He did not become rational from the time be was hurt until be died. He leaves a wife and eight children to mourn the loss of a husband and father. Never has our community been shocked as it was upon hearing of this terrible accident. Mr. Cook was a noble specimen of manhood and a young man of high moral character. He was in his 20th year and very popular with all who knew him. He had a bright future before him. He had only been married four weeks. He had been assistant section foreman for some time and was recently appointed relief foreman which would have made him section master, the first vacancy that occurred on this division. He was treasurer of Ft. Lewis Lodge, I. O. O. F. 154. He was buried at Hall’s church in Montgomery county by the Odd Fellows. To the bereaved young wife and relatives we extend our heart-felt sympathy. Their loss is his immortal gain. He made a profession of religion at the meeting recently held by Mr. Strouse, and was leading a Christian life. Mr. Cook makes eight young men that have been taken from this community in less than three years and only two or three old ones have died.

A few of the older inhabitants are still suffering from the effects of grippe.

The past week has been one of unusual severity and all have taken advantage of the abundance of ice and are now filling their ice houses.

Mr. C. L. Hutton, of Roanoke, spent a few hours in our midst on Saturday.

Mr. Henry Bandy made a flying trip to Radford last Friday. Mrs. Luther Goodwin, who has been very ill, is much better. Mr. Kinsey is much better and we hope will soon be well. “C.”


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 51, 16 February 1897, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Everything is very quiet in our vicinity. It looked until yesterday and to-day as if every one had followed the example of the proverbial ground hog. Yesterday and to-day have been veritable spring days and there is every evidence of life, among the young people especially. If the weather continues as at present the farmers can finish their plowing.

Mr. and Mrs. Perry Butt, of Lafayette, were the guests of Mr. Kent Loving on Sunday.

Miss Retta Owens is visiting in Roanoke.

Mr. Burnard Graham, of Lafayette, conducted services at Cedar Grove church ou Sunday.

Mr. P. I. Apgar, "operator at Glenvar, has moved his family from Lafayette to the Hansbrough property east of Glenvar on the rock road.

Mr. J. B. Moses, son of Mr. Jas. Moses, is very sick with typhoid fever in Roanoke. Presley Overman is very low at this writing and doubts are entertained of his recovery. Mr. W. E. Reese will resign his position as section master tho first of March, and will devote his time to farming in Montgomery county and working for the Lord. Mr. Reese has been here for four years, and to say that he will be missed does not express it. He is a great worker in tho church and has done more to build up the church at Cedar Grove than any one else. His genial manner, public spirit and Christian example make him an acknowledged leader in the community and he is in truth a man of God. May success attend him in his vocation. His place will be hard to fill here as a citizen, and the railway will lose one of its most efficient employees.

Mr. Jas. S. Yeatman, of Singer, District Masonic Lecturer, is holding a Masonic school in Pulaski.

Mr. S. M. White, R. G., of Salem, visited the Fort Lewis Lodge last Tuesday night. Wish he could come often. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 3, Number 52, 23 February 1897, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Mr. Sam Perdien, of Mables Chapel, and Miss Dottie Womac, of Salem, were the guests of Mr. W. E. Reese Friday night. Miss Furrow, of Reesedale, is the guest of Mrs. Mollie Cook.

Messrs. J. A. Moses and Monroe Owens are in Roanoke with Mr. J. B. Moses, who is still very low with fever. Mr. Kyle Akers returned Friday from a twelve months’ sojourn in Texas and Tennessee.

Mr. A, B. Wilson made a flying trip to Trinity in Montgomery county this week. Mr. R. M. Cox is very sick with typhoid fever. We hope he will soon be out again. It has been raining for the past twenty-four hours and the river is fuller than it has been for twelve months. C.


Salem Sentinel, Volume 4, Number 1, 2 March 1897, pg. 2

Balls Siding Jottings.

Miss Mamie Beamer, of Roanoke, and Miss Eva Ryan, of Shawsville, are visiting Miss Mamie Givens.

Mr. C. E. Yearow, of Bluefield, W. Va., is visiting friends and relatives, and one friend in particular. Mr. W. J. Osborne, agent for the N. & W. at Oakvale, W. Va., is the guest of Miss Minnie Wieson.

Miss Kate Leonard, of Big Tunnel, is the guest of Miss Nannie Heslep. Mr. J. W. Reese spent Sunday in Roanoke. Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Wilson were shopping in Salem, Thursday. Mr. C. S. Early succeeds Mr. W. E. Reese as section foreman. Mr. Reese will leave for his farm on Monday, March 1st. Mr. R. M. Cox is still very sick, but is doing as well as can be expected of a case of fever.

Mr. James A. Moses is confined to his room by sickness. It is thought he is threatened with fever.

Presley Overman is still very low with white swelling of the right leg, and there is no hopes of his recovery.

The Railroad has finished the fence to Dry Hollow bridge, and it is pronounced to be one of the best wire fences in the country. There are no barbs on the wires, and it is very durable.

Mr. James Weaver and Miss Bessie Wells, of' Lafayette, were married at the residence of the bride’s father, Mr. Archer Wells, on last Thursday. C.