John David Evans, right
Held together by tape, this rare, fragile photograph shows ill-fated John David Evans and a colleague aboard a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad locomotive in Pittsburgh. Rendered fatherless at the age of eight, John spent time in a local Catholic orphanage until his mother Eva remarried George Henry Minerd and settled in the city’s Carrick section.
After marrying Margaret Elizabeth Casey, John was employed in the early 1920s as an locomotive engineer for the B&O. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, an early union. His duties involved work in the Allison Park suburb of the city, near what today is Route 8.
On the frigid and fateful evening of Jan. 26, 1924, John was caught in a freak accident at work. The Pittsburgh Post reported that “Evans’ overalls ignited at Allison Park … when a sudden gust of wind blew the flames toward him from a bundle of oily waste burning on a shovel which he was holding. Evans … was endeavoring to thaw a frozen pipe on his engine when the accident occurred.” Suffering from second and third degree burns of his left thigh and left hand, he was rushed to St. Francis Hospital. There, after 10 agonizing days of suffering, he succumbed.
Today, he is memorialized on the Minerd.com page, “Death on the Rails: 42 Fatal Railroad & Streetcar Accidents.” More>>>