The derailment of train No. 38 on the Southern Railway was written about in The Jackson Herald in the August 27, 1908, edition. Photo from the Georgia Historic Newspapers database.

Buford has a rich history and it is well-documented in the Georgia Historic Newspapers archives, a part of the Digital Library of Georgia. While browsing through old newspaper after old newspaper, I realized that a new series was in order. Welcome to the August 23 installment of “On this day in Buford history.”

I first came across the article for an event that took place on August 23, 1908, in The Jackson Herald dated Thursday, August 27, 1908.

The article titled “Wreck on Southern Railway” told of how “a miscreant or irresponsible person placed an iron bolt on the track of the Southern railway about a mile south of Buford.”

A northbound train, No. 38 was headed from Atlanta to Washington along the Southern Railway and the bolt on the track caused the train to derail.

The engineer Mr. Dewberry and his fireman died in the wreckage from being scalded to death according to the article.

In an article dated September 7, 1908, in The News-Herald, a 12-year-old boy named Lewis Cooksey was the person believed to have been behind the derailment of No. 38. He was to be brought before Judge Charles W. Brand in Gwinnett Superior Court.

In the photo archives of the Digital Library of Georgia, a photo of the boy who is believed to have placed the bolt on the Southern Railway track that derailed train No. 38. His name was Lewis Cooksey (Cooksie). The caption on the bottom reads, “This is the boy that laid the bolt that threw 38.” 

It is alleged that he placed the bolt on the track because he thought that train No. 38 was a fruit train and wanted to derail the train so that he could help himself to the fruit.

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