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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Funeral Cortege,1917

W.P. “Billy” Edwards had a 30-year career working for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. By all accounts he was exceedingly popular in Durango. On May 4, 1916, while acting as engineer on a passenger train heading to Antonito, the train derailed and rolled. The fireman jumped to safety but Edwards’ feet became pinned in the wreckage. He was extricated uninjured. His luck ran out however a little over one year later. On Sunday, July 15, he was the engineer on a double header freight train that struck a cow and overturned near Arboles. Edwards was pinned again and died from his injuries almost instantly. The immigrant from Wales was just 51 years old. A special train carried his body back to Durango from Chama with more than 100 friends attending. This picture documents the long funeral procession in his honor conducted by men’s and women’s fraternal organizations including Masons and Order of the Eastern Star. He was initially buried at Greenmount Cemetery, but in 1919, his body was disinterred and returned to his boyhood home in Wales. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Catalog Number: 13.01.25 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)