Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ernest McKae Crushed to Death on Elk Creek Work Crew, 1914

“Convict Killed” from the Watauga Democrat, Feb. 12, 1914 (taken from the Wilkes Patriot)
Ernest McKae, a colored convict who was a member of the squad now at work on the W. & Y. R.R.R. on Elk Creek in this county was crushed and instantly killed last Monday afternoon about 3:30 o’clock by an immense rock weighing several tons, which was loosened a few minutes before by a blast that was made in the rock cut in which the convicts were working, and which hung to the bluff overhead until the convicts returned to their work after the blast was made.
One of the guards noticed that the rock was loose and about to fall and gave the alarm. The unfortunate victim of the accident was unable to get out of the way of the rock and it fell squarely upon him, grinding his bones and flesh to a pulp on the rocks underneath him. The body was interred on the railroad right-of-way near the convict camp.
This is the first serious accident that has befallen any of the convicts, every precaution having been taken to safeguard them, and the death of this poor fellow is deeply deplored by the guards and railroad officials and employees alike.

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