I posted about the guided cemetery tour I took last weekend. Here’s one of the stories I learned while I toured. I hope I’m remembering all the details accurately. It’s an interesting tale.
According to this monument, John and Electra Peer were “Killed By The Cars” on July 17, 1896. John’s name is on one side, his wife Electra’s name is on the other.
This headstone has intrigued me for many years. “Killed By The Cars,” what does that mean? Henry Ford didn’t start mass producing the Model T until 1914. Sure there were people developing cars before this, but what are the odds that this couple would have been killed by not only one, but “Cars,” plural? Was it a typo? Was there a family out there with the last name, “Cars?”
I FINALLY got an answer to this on Saturday night, 10-13-12. Here is John and Electra’s story:
On July 17, 1896, John and Electra were paying their respects at the cemetery out in Novi, Michigan.
Electra had family buried there. For those of you who have never been to this part of Michigan, there are train tracks running all over this area to this day. The Novi Depot was located near this cemetery and some people believe that the town was named after this station. No. VI (Number 6)
Anyways, people of yesteryear aren’t so different from people of today. The story goes that John heard the train coming and didn’t want to be stuck waiting for it while it changed cars and such. He thought it was going to be a slow moving train. (This was before the bridge was built.) John decided to attempt to beat the train across the tracks in his horse and buggy.
Unfortunately, the train was moving much faster than he had anticipated. The horses made it to the other side. John and Electra did not. They were:
“Killed By The Cars.”
Railroad cars. History is so much fun! I’m not sure why John and Electra weren’t buried in Novi, but it’s an interesting story.
Have a great day