Tombstone Tuesday–Franklin H. & Sarah S. Beach

Franklin & Sarah Beach, Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Franklin & Sarah Beach, Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Franklin H. & Sarah S. Beach, located in Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Franklin H.
Sarah S.

I enjoy looking for and photographing unusual insignia on tombstones. The two images on the Beach tombstone are ones that  I show in my “Rocks of Ages,” tombstone art and cemetery research presentation.

The emblem on the left is not unusual on tombstones in this area and is the insignia of the secret fraternal society Knights of Pythias, which was formed in 1864. The letters on the shield are an acronym for the society’s motto, Friendship, Charity and Benevolence.

The emblem on the right is much less familiar and took some research to discover that it is the insignia of the Benefit Association of Railroad Employees.


Knights of Pythias

Knights of Pythias

Benefit Association of Railroad Employees

Benefit Association of Railroad Employees










According to his death certificate, Franklin Huriah Beach was born 7 June 1857 in Connecticut to Oscar and Louisa (Scofield) Beach. His mother was born in England. Franklin was married to Sarah S. Beach and was employed by the Erie Rail Road. He died 14 November 1922 at 8:30 a.m. near Ohio City, Van Wert County, Ohio, when he was accidently struck by a freight train which crushed his skull. His wife Sarah was the informant for the information on his death certificate. [1]

Franklin H. Beach, Ohio death certificate, 1922.

Franklin H. Beach, Ohio death certificate, 1922.

Below is Frank’s graphic obituary:

Frank Beach Was Instantly Killed
The remains, mangled beyond recognition, with quivering flesh and crushed bones scattered along the track, of Frank Beach, were picked up along the right of way of the Erie Railroad, Tuesday morning about the hour of ten o’clock, after he was struck by a freight train just east of Ohio City. Mr. Beach had been in the employ of the railroads for the past thirty-five years and had been with the Erie for a number of years where he served as section foreman and in filling other vocations for the company. Tuesday he was painting angle bars on the track and failed to hear or observe a freight train that was bearing down upon him, carrying the massage of death under a full head of steam. Mr. Beach was working on the fireman’s side, hence the engineer did not notice the accident and the crew was not appraised that they had left a corpse in their wake until arriving at a station farther east. The crew with which Mr. Beach was working saw that the fatality could not be averted by them and just as the pilot was about to strike the unfortunate man, all turned their backs and closed their eyes to a scene where a man was hurled into eternity in a most horrifying manner. It was then they observed that Frank Beach had passed the great divide and was in the hands of One more powerful than earthly care. The top of his head had been torn off in the terrific impact, the brains splached [sic] over the body and bones crushed. The Cowan & Acker ambulance was called and the lifeless body was taken to the undertaker’s parlors. Mr. Beach is survived by his widow, a daughter, Mrs. Lawrence Black, of Convoy, and one son, Lieutenant Perry Beach, Ohio City. One son, Lawrence Beach, was gassed while in service across sea and died in a hospital at Washington, D.C. while en route to his home in Ohio City. The funeral services will be held at the Lutheran church this afternoon at 1:00 o’clock conducted by Rev. Stuckenberg. Interment will be made in Woodlawn cemetery, Ohio City. Frank Beach was a man who worked hard, lived according to the Golden Rule and courted the friendship of everyone. He will be missed among a wide circle of friends. Unexpected and sudden, the accident was appalling, shocking. His familiarity with the work at hand, an intuition born of long service, failed Tuesday to warn Frank Beach of impending danger, death and the lingering sadness that will mark the trail so oft traveled with lightdess [sic] of heart and a keen sense of the duty he owed those for whom he worked. [2]

Frank’s wife Sarah Sophia died 6 April 1926 in Ohio City, Ohio, of cancer of the stomach and spine. She was 57 years and 24 months old. Sarah was born 12 March 1869 in Ohio to John A. and Martha (Hackett) Roberts.  [3]


Sarah Beach, Ohio death certificate, 1926.

Sarah Beach, Ohio death certificate, 1926.


[1] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953, Index and images,” database, Family Search ( : accessed 2 June 2013), for Franklin Huriah Beach, Registration District No 1293, (1922).

[2] The Ohio City Progress, Ohio City, Ohio, Nov 17 1922 p. 1.

[3] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953, Index and images,” database, Family Search ( : accessed 2 June 2013), for Sarah Sophia Beach, Registration District No 1293, (1926).



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  1. Interesting story of such a tragic passing, yet similar to one that I overheard in the Town Pump in Willshire as a child. Being struck by a train apparently was not that uncommon back in those days.

    In passing, a person commented how physically similar I looked to my Great Grandfather recently. Since I had not even considered the idea myself, I was astounded that anyone else might have seen my Great Grandfather and made such an observation. They then revealed that they had done a Google search and come up with his picture. Now where would his picture be posted that Google could locate it? Why, it was on Karen’s Chatt! What incredible reach a simple blog posting can have.

    1. Yes, it is amazing to consider how far-reaching the blog posts are. I have been contacted by people from around the world–distant relatives and others with a family connection. I don’t know who will read a post or when they will read it. I hear from people that have just found a family connection or a common surname in an old post via a Google search.

    • Maryina McConn Clemens on July 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm
    • Reply

    I am not sure how I happened upon this particular page. It was exactly what I was looking for. Frank Beach was the grandfather of my sister-in-law, Sarah (Sally) Beach Mcconn. She was thrilled to see this.

    Thank you so much for sharing this family information.

    Maryina McConn Clemns

    1. You are welcome. I am so glad you found the information useful and interesting. Thanks for writing!

    • Scott Carpenter on August 1, 2022 at 2:20 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. He is my great, great grandfather. I am not sure why his daughter is listed as Mrs Lawrence Black. She was married to John Black.

    Scott Carpenter

    1. Information is not always accurate in an obituary. Thank you for alerting readers to the correct information.

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