A Tragic Accident
by Jim McIllmurry
On Thursday the 29th of January 1903, a High Street Jeweller called Samuel Charles was visited by the RIC in inform him that his shop in Gilford had its front window smashed and a number of articles had been stolen.
He contacted his shop manager and asked him to immediately go to the village and get details and secure the premises.
The shop manager went to Magee Brothers in Union Street to hire a horse and trap for the journey. When he arrived, all the drivers were engaged on other jobs, so Charles Magee said he would drive him there himself as Samuel Charles was a friend of his.
After securing the premises and making a list for the police of the missing shop stock, they began their 5 mile journey back to Lurgan.
There was no light on the trap and the road was in total darkness so Charles Magee could not drive at any speed. As they neared Bleary, the right wheel of the trap slipped off the road overturning the trap and flipping it into the ditch.
The passenger only received a few scratches, Charles Magee however ended up in the ditch with the trap on top of him. By the time rescuers arrived and lifted the trap, Charles Magee was dead. He was lying face down in three foot of water.
Charles was from one of the oldest and most respected families in Lurgan. His funeral was one of the largest the town had seen, all businesses closed the morning of his funeral and St, Peterís church and later the Dougher cemetery were packed to capacity.
The community of Lurgan blamed the Lurgan Rural Council for his death, Charles Magee was the eighth person to die on that stretch of road in the past five years, all in similar circumstances.
Our thanks to Jim for his kindness in giving us permission to publish these stories here.