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Another look back at buggies

Editor’s note: The following piece is the final column submitted by longtime contributor and Hartselle native Dr. Bill Stewart. Stewart passed away in Tuscaloosa. He was 81. We’re sure his loyal readers will miss his weekly column, and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends.  

March 29, 1907—All Hartselle area farmers should take note of the fact that the Union Warehouse in Haleyville has more than 200 buggies stored in it.  The cost of a buggy is only one bale of cotton a year until paid for. 

May 20, 1926—Ed Oden, aged 45, a well-known farmer, was so seriously injured in a runaway accident Sunday that he died in a hospital in Birmingham Monday. Ed and his brother, Walter, were driving in a buggy pulled by a mule. One wheel of the vehicle fell into a deep hole in the road, causing the shaft of the buggy to dig the mule in the side. The frightened animal started running and, after proceeding a distance of several hundred yards, reached a curve in the road and turned the buggy over.   

The men tried to stop the mule, and a line broke. When the buggy turned over, Ed Oden suffered a broken shoulder, a broken arm and the fracture of several ribs, one of which pierced his lungs. His injuries were so severe that death took him Monday morning. 

May 19, 1910–J. W. Grizzard, who lives on Somerville Route 1, bought a new top rubber tire, single-harness buggy in Hartselle today.  Mr. Grizzard is a single man, 22 years old. It is believed that his marriage prospects will improve considerably as a result of his acquiring this new buggy. He already has a six-year-old black mare mule. 

1924—Ed Christopher, who was seriously injured a week ago Tuesday when his horse ran away and threw him from his buggy, was brought home from Decatur’s Benevolent Hospital, where he had been carried for treatment, the last of the week. His injury proved fatal, however, and he died at home Sunday evening. Ed had been in the livestock business for many years. 

Oct. 5, 1882—We regret to learn that Mrs. Moore was thrown from a buggy and had her skull cracked in two places last week. No hope of her recovery. Mrs. Henry Moore, who was in the buggy with her, jumped out when the horse started to run and sprained her ankle. 

Oct. 12, 1882—Mrs. Judge Moore, who was recently thrown from a buggy at Russellville, was reported to be in a dangerous condition last week. It is well to watch your horses.  There seems to be an epidemic among the horses to run away. Miss Ensley was thrown from a hack and killed in Nashville last week, and her companion was disabled for life. A driver was thrown from a wagon and killed at Russellville last week. 

Oct. 4, 1883—One day last week James Murphree went from Moulton to Somerville in a buggy after a prisoner. He returned to Hartselle the same day.   

Lunar rose on a cloudless sky, and Jim concluded to come home. Tying his prisoner securely in the buggy, he moved off for Moulton. No sound but the croaking frog was heard on the roadthe bats and owls did not cross his path, and as he neared Moulton, he congratulated himself over a successful trip.   

But in sight of town, at 2 a.m., his horse became frightened and, in a few seconds, kicked the buggy into splinters. The prisoner was aroused and alarmed the neighborhood with his screams. 

July 31, 1908—Yesterday morning as John Sides was going to Ferrell Mill, he discovered the body of C. C. Pruitt lying on the roadside. He had been dead several days, and his body was considerably decomposed. He had apparently pitched from his buggy and died instantly – or, as some think, he might have died in the buggy and then fallen out, as he was laying on the face in a position that indicated he had not made any struggles nor an attempt to rise.   

Coroner Neely was called, and at the inquest we learn the following facts were drawn out: that he was seen passing along the public road Tuesday about noon and appeared to be in his usual health and that he had not been seen by anyone from that time until his discovery by Mr. Sides. His relatives were not surprised by his disappearance, as he usually stayed for days at a time with whichever of his relatives or friends his fancy led him to abide.  

He was about 60 or 65 years old and of late years was somewhat feeble. 

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