Courier, Jacksonville, Illinois, 18 June 1937
Jacksonville, June 16 - Ray Fletcher, 25, his wife, Mildred Lonergan Fletcher, 24, and their two children, Eddie Joe 3, and Eva May, 1, who resided three miles southeast of Murrayville, were killed at 10:40 a.m. today when an Alton passenger train, bound from Bloomington to Roodhouse struck their automobile as it stalled on a grade crossing on a curve a mile and a half south of Woodson.
Engineer J. W. Prather, Bloomington, the only eye witness to the accident, said that the occupants of the car huddled down in the machine to prepare for the crash.
Mrs. Fletcher and her daughter were dead when taken from the wreckage, and Mr. Fletcher and his son were believed to have been dead when they arrived at Passavant hospital where they were taken by David Reynolds, who lives near the scene of the tragedy.
The train struck the car about in the middle, demolishing it. The wreckage was carried about seventy or eighty feet before it was pitched into a ditch along the right-of-way. The engineer stopped the train a few lengths away from the crash and went back to the wreckage. The train crew found Mrs. Fletcher and her daughter lying in the car. Mr. Fletcher, still alive was sitting upright in the driver's seat. The boy was found in the back seat and he was apparently alive at the time.
Mrs. Fletcher was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Connie Lonergan of the Literberry community. She is survived by several brothers and sisters. Mr. Fletcher was the son of Joe Fletcher, who resides near Winchester. He is survived by two brothers and two sisters.
Sheriff Kenneth Woods and Deputies Clinton Strowmatt and Charles Wegehoft investigated the crash. Coroner E. O. Samples visited the scene of the tragedy soon after it happened.
The train had a radiator punctured by the collision but was able to get to Murrayville.
At an inquest conducted this afternoon at the Thompson Funeral Home in Murrayville by Coroner Samples, a verdict of accidental deaths was returned. Engineer Prather testified that those in the automobile apparently did not see the train until it was about forty feet away.
The boy suffered a skull fracture while the girl's skull was crushed. Mr. Fletcher sustained fractures of the skull and right arm, while Mrs. Fletcher suffered fractues of the neck and right arm and a cut on the face.
Funeral services for the four will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Thompson Funeral Home, Rev. Henry Spencer officiating.
A father, mother and their two small children were lowered into one large grave this (Friday) afternoon, after sorrowing relatives and friends attended funeral services for Mr. and Mrs. Ray Fletcher and family, at this place. The four died together Wednesday when their automobile was struck by an Alton passenger train south of Woodson.
One year old Eva Mae Fletcher was placed beside her mother in the casket, and three year old Eddie Joe was buried in the same casket with his father.
The two caskets containing the remains were interred in a double grave in the Sheppard cemetery, southwest of Jacksonville.
A large crowd gathered at the Thompson Funeral Home where services were held at two p.m. It was necessary to place chairs on the porches and lawn, and a loud speaking system carried the voices of the ministers and singers to all on the outside.
Elder W. A. Chastain of Springfield and Rev. F. V. Wright were the officiating ministers.
Music was furnished by a quartet composed of T. G. Beadles, J. L. Symons, Mrs. Maude Rimbey and Mrs. Beulah Mutch, with Mrs. Faye Evemeyer at the piano. They sang "Going Down the Vallen," "The Old Rugged Cross," and "Sometime We'll Understand."
Flowers were cared for by Ida and Della Simmons, Mayme Lamb, Mrs. Margaret Strawn, Mary Jones, Rena Mansfield, Mary King, Delores Pate and Mrs. Ruby Straus.
The casket of Mr. Fletcher and son was borne by Cary Sooy, Ralph Pate, Maurice Hayes, Carl Brown, Alfred Cockerill and Ray Roberts. Bearers of the casket of Mrs. Fletcher and her daughter were Raymond Tarzwell, Wayne Bosecker, Gilbert Worrall, Bernard Woodward, Lloyd Tendick and James Sorrells.