J. Frank White

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Josiah Frank White (born July 10, 1858 in Taylor County, West Virginia; died December 27, 1896 in Bibb County) was an engineer for the Birmingham Mineral Railroad.

White was described as being "noted for coolness and utter reliability" was at the controls of Engine No. 40 carrying 26 passengers, mostly miners and their families from Blocton two days after Christmas. As he approached the Cahaba River Bridge on the former Brierfield, Blocton & Birmingham Railroad, between Seymour and Hargrove, he realized there was something amiss and attempted to stop the train, but was too late. He and five other workers and 17 passengers were killed as the bridge collapsed into the river 110 feet below. Nine passengers survived.

Sabotage was suspected, as there has been reports of unsuccessful train robberies in the vicinity. It was later revealed that the L & N Railroad and Keystone Bridge Company played up those rumors to stave off scrutiny of their failures to maintain the structure.

White was survived by his wife Mary and two children, Eula and Josiah Jr. He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.


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