Tragedy multiplied trying to beat the trains

Something a parent should never have to do is to bury their child.  Whether due to sickness, injury or accident, it is something that is never expected.

The year was 1886 and the town was Readville, Massachusetts. And, well, boys will be boys at play.  The exact things they were doing is not known, but tragedy struck as they headed from their home that morning.  The family lived on Readville Street, one long block from the railroad track, which split this little town in Massachusetts.  On the eastern side of the tracks was the town square, Camp Meigs, and further up the road was the Blue Hills near Milton. But the boys lived on the western side of the track, headed towards Dedham.

Early that dark and dangerous day in July, the boys were killed when they could not beat the Washington Express train that was headed to Boston.  The boys had undoubtedly crossed the tracks many times before as they waited for the slow freight trains to pass.  Being young makes you think you are invincible. But on this day, their invincibility was unmatched for the Washington Express that was running late.

The boys would be the first of many to be buried in the family plot at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in West Roxbury.

Boston Globe article from July 2, 1886 about the death of John (11) and Tom (14) Donohue being killed by the Washington Express train.

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