February 1949 St.Augustine/Florida State Road Department Accident

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My husband's father, Robert Lenor Van Lieu, was in a Florida State Road Department vehicle on the State Road 16 crossing off U.S. Hwy 1 when it was hit by a train (we have been told the Champion) in February 1949. He died after being transported to the hospital. We have been told that an article was published in the local paper, but the paper has not been very cooperative. On his tombstone in San Lorenzo Cemetery in St. Augustine, the date of death is February 14, 1949. My husband was four months old. He knows absolutely little to nothing of the Van Lieu side of his family or about the accident. Does anyone out there remember this accident?

-- Alice Van Lieu (avanlieu@tsc.ndbc.noaa.gov), May 24, 1999


in the state of georgia county courthouses keep copies of the "official county organ". maybe florida's do too. the "official county organ" is nothing more than a local newspaper that county governments list various things in, overdue taxes, court summons, etc. so maybe they'll be an article in the "official county organ". hope this helps you. dgh

-- dan henderson (dghender@surfsouth.com), October 28, 2000.

You may want to try the University of North Florida (Jacksonville) library also. Several years ago they were very cooperative in tracking down old issues of railroad related magazines (from the 50's) and 'went the extra mile' by contacting other libraries nationally to locate the information. I'm sure that they have the Florida Times-Union, the Jacksonville Journal and possibly the St. Augustine Record on fiche. Good luck.

-- Mark Huband (mhuband@guarantec.com), June 04, 1999.

It is very true that the train could be the "Champion".However this location is on the Florida East Coast Railroad,not the Atlantic Coast Line.The ACL passenger trains ran on the FEC between Jax. and Miami. The Society does not have any information about this accident.We are sorry that we cannot help you.

-- Joseph Oates (jlosal@gte.net), May 31, 1999.

Try the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. They normally cover the whole N Fla area, and probably did back then. They also have a pretty good archive and a web site.

-- Jose Cabanillas (cabanillas@worldnet.att.net), May 28, 1999.

Thanks for the response. I have tried the local library in St. Augustine, Florida, and the St. Augustine Record. In both cases, I have had no luck. I know the picture and article existed because my mother-in-law let me see it once, but it did not have the banner of the paper from which it was printed.

-- Alice Van Lieu (avanlieu@tsc.ndbc.noaa.gov), May 26, 1999.

Have you tried your local Public Library? Sometimes they have news papers on microfilm. My local library has our local paper back to the 1880's. Hope this helps

-- Bill Donahue (BillD53@aol.com), May 25, 1999.

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