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A. P. WATLEY (ca. 1846? - 1902 Columbus, GA), well-digger killed in cave-in
Posted by: John Mallory Land (ID *****6788) Date: August 26, 2007 at 17:15:36
  of 570

“Buried at Clapp’s Factory

“The funeral of Mr. A. P. WATLEY, who met such a tragic death on Tuesday by a well caving in on him, took place from his late residence on North Highlands yesterday afternoon at 3 o’clock, conducted by Rev. E. D. PHILLIPS, assisted by Rev. J. W. HOWARD. The interment was in the family burying grounds at Clapp’s factory [north of Columbus in Muscogee County, Georgia].”

[Columbus (GA) Daily Enquirer, Thursday, 08 MAY 1902.]

J. W. HOWARD and E. D. PHILLIPS evidently were Baptist ministers.

The following are excerpts from articles that appeared in the Macon and Columbus papers on the incident – I haven’t retrieved the entire text of either of them, but you get the idea:


“WELL DIGGER KILLED: Sand Caves Upon Him When He Was Thirty-Five Feet Underground

“Columbus, Ga. - May 6–A. P. WATLEY, aged 56 [?] years, a well known white well-digger, met a horrible death on North Highlands this morning. He was digging a well and when thirty-five feet under ground the sand above him caved in, killing him instantly. F[iftee?]n feet of dirt fell upon him and it took several hours to recover his body. WATLEY was an experienced well-digger. He was warned of his danger, as there had already been a slight cave-in, the soil being sandy, but he said he had been in lighter places before, and with that went to the bottom of the well again and resumed his digging. He leaves a wife and seven children.”

[Macon Weekly Telegram newspaper, Wednesday, 07 MAY 1902.]

“BURIED ALIVE IN DEEP WELL

“35 Feet under Ground Mr. A. P. WATLEY Met Death

“…10:30 o’clock, when a well, which he was digging, caved in on him, burying him alive. Mr. WATLEY was digging a well just west of Twenty-third street and Second avenue, for Dr. C. J. WILLIAMS…___________ in that _________________, _____ had gone down about thirty-five feet. The lot being on the side of a hill, was very sandy and very likely to cave in. In fact, there was a slight cave in a short time before the more serious accident occurred. He was warned of this and Mr. Benjamin HIGHSMITH, who was helping him, told him to come out of the well and __ down to a ___...A few moments later the [sound of?] falling dirt was heard, and Mr. HIGHSMITH ran to the well and called to WATLEY, but there was no answer. He knew instantly what was the matter, so ran and gave the alarm. Very soon after a large crowd had gathered around the place and the work of res[cue]…”

[Columbus (GA) Daily Enquirer newspaper, Wednesday, 07 MAY 1902.]

I am interested in learning more about Mr. WATLEY’s background and family connections. Thanks – John in TX


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