BYRNE,  Walter Fernald

BYRNE, Walter Fernald[1]

Male 1909 - 1924  (15 years)

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  • Name BYRNE, Walter Fernald 
    Born 15 Jun 1909  Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co, California Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Residence 23 Apr 1910  52 Walnut, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Census 1920  28 Union Street (now 332), Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Cause of Death Roller coaster accident  [4
    Died 20 Sep 1924  Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Buried 23 Sep 1924  IOOF Cemetery, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Person ID I311  Hugh Byrne and Nanette Asimov Lines
    Last Modified 4 Mar 2012 

    Father BYRNE, Walter Charles,   b. 16 Feb 1868, Jackson, Jackson Co, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1940, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Mother DRENNAN, Mabel Louise,   b. 21 Feb 1874, Santa Cruz, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Sep 1941, SANTA CRUZ, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Married 6 Jun 1899  Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7, 8, 9
    • Samuel Drennan House on Church Street
    Notes 
    • San Francisco Call, June 7, 1899:

      Walter C. Byrne and Miss Mabel Drennan were married this morning at the home of the bride's mother, Mrs. Louisa Drennan.

      The interior of the home presented a beautiful appearance. The back parlor, where the ceremony was solemnized, was decorated with festoons of smilax, woodwardia ferns and the pure white wax lily, which was the only flower used. The main parlor was decorated with sweet peas. The young couple stood in the bay-win-dow and the beautiful Episcopal service was road by Rev. James B. Orr of the First Congregational Church. The bride was gowned in a silk dress of blue— the same one used by her mother at her wedding. Miss Drennan was attended by her sister, Miss Dora Drennan, and Mr. Byrne by Thomas G. McCreary. A wedding breakfast followed the ceremony. The tables had been placed in the lawn under the trees, and in this natural garden spot with the addition of immense clusters of azaleas the breakfast was enjoyed.

      Mrs. Byrne is a native of Santa Cruz and a graduate of the local high school and the State Normal School. For a number of years she has taught in the Santa Cruz schools.

      Mr. Byrne is a member of the firm of Byrne Bros. [9]
    Photos
    Barbara, Miriam, Gilbert, Louise, Fernald, and John Byrne
    Barbara, Miriam, Gilbert, Louise, Fernald, and John Byrne
    Walter and Mabel Byrne
    Walter and Mabel Byrne
    Walter and Mabel Byrne
    Walter, Miriam, and Gilbert Byrne
    Walter, Miriam, and Gilbert Byrne
    Walter, Miriam and Gilbert Byrne
    Walter, Miriam and Gilbert Byrne
    Family ID F58  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 15 Jun 1909 - Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co, California Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 23 Apr 1910 - 52 Walnut, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1920 - 28 Union Street (now 332), Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 20 Sep 1924 - Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 23 Sep 1924 - IOOF Cemetery, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co, CA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Barbara, Miriam, Gilbert, Louise, Fernald, and John Byrne
    Barbara, Miriam, Gilbert, Louise, Fernald, and John Byrne
    Walter Fernald Byrne and Ryland Drennan
    Walter Fernald Byrne and Ryland Drennan

    Albums
    Renald Fernald and Descendants
    Renald Fernald and Descendants (22)
    Renald Fernald of Portsmouth, NH and photos, documents related to his descendants.

  • Notes 
    • FERNALD BYRNE MEETS WITH FATAL ACCIDENT

      The first fatality on the great dipper at the beach was last evening done one of the brightest and most promising boys of the community, Fernald Byrne, the third child of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Byrne lost his life.

      Fernald, a junior in the high school, was at the freshman reception enjoying the evening, and from there, with Noel Ferguson, a friend, went to the beach and it was in the neighborhood of 10:20 o’clock when the went on the dipper for a ride.

      Brakeman Adolph Brutt stated that the two boys were standing up in the front seat of the first car all the way around as far as he could see them.

      Coming in for (illegible) stops when the car was within about 50 feet of the end of the journey, Brutt suddenly saw Byrne’s feet up in the air and applied the brakes, lifting the car from the rail.

      The entire six cars with about ten people in, came to a stop within about 15 feet, but young Byrne went under the forward car and it was necessary to get help to lift the car from him in order to get him out.

      The cars passed over the body and when it was picked up life was gone. The head was badly crushed.

      George Reid, the manager, practically confirmed Brakeman Brutt’s story. The Ferguson boy was so badly rattled by the accident that he was unable to give a coherent account of the accident.

      When the car stopped he was yelling, “Where is he?” The accident occurred at about 10:20 last evening. In company with the Ferguson boy, Byrne had taken half a dozen rides around on the dipper before the fatal accident occurred.

      From the comparatively small distance the cars ran after the boy fell, the cars were running slowly, preparatory to stopping, and where the accident occurred there is practically a level stretch of track with but very slight incline.

      The news, when it was received at the freshmen reception, cast a gloom over the entire company, and quickly they left the evening where their young friend who meant so much to the school life had been a short time before.

      Fernald was a lad who had much to look forward to in life, as he was one who would have had a future. He was a member of one of the well known families, his father, W. C. Byrne, being of the well-known firm of Byrne Bros. His mother, Mrs. Mabel Drennan Byrne, was a daughter of one of the families that had resided here from early days, a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Drennan.

      Fernald was born in this city, as was his mother, and after graduating from the Mission school went to the high school. He was an unusually bright lad, and one who entered into the activities of the school life, and would likely have gone on to college on completion of his high school course.

      He has always attended the Congregational church and was a member of it, uniting several years ago. He was a member of the church choir and of the Boy Scouts, of which he was greatly interested.

      Besides his parents he leaves brothers and sisters, John D, a student at Stanford university, Barbara, a student at Pomona college; Gilbert, Miriam and Louise. He was about 15 years old. The boy was taken to Wesendorf & Sons undertaking parlor.

      (Santa Cruz Morning Sentinel, Sep 21, 1924) [10]
    • INQUEST HELD ON DEATH OF W. FERNALD BYRNE AT BEACH

      An inquest was held on the death of a 15 year old son of Walter C Byrne yesterday at the Wesendorf & Sons undertaking parlors, notes being taken by Mrs. Green, official court reporter while the questioning of witnesses was done by the coroner, George W Smith. S Matir, representing the United States Fidelity & Casualty company, and also Walter C Byrne, who asked a number of questions.

      Dr. Cowden was the first witness called upon and told of being called to the beach by the accident and what he found on arriving. He stated that he was called about 10:25 Saturday night and arrived about ten minutes after the accident.

      Young Byrne was dead when he arrived, and they were taking car from over the body. He stated he was lying on his back between the rails, with his feet pointing toward the stopping place of the train, and stated there were 8 or 10 cars in the train, eight passing over his body.

      Q. by George Smith: What are the conditions as to lighting? A. There are lights where the car stops.

      Q. Did you talk with any of the management? A. Yes, I talked with the manager of the train. He said just as the cars got over the hill he saw the body of the boy in the air. He applied the breaks and stopped the train.

      Q. by Mr. Byrne: What is the condition of the platform? Is it finished off? A. It is about 75 feet from where the platform is. It was a rough condition there.

      Dr. Cowden also stated that the boy was crushed in the head and chest. Adolph Brutt, brakeman of the train, was next called and told how long he had been engaged in his present occupation, and in answer to questions from Attorney Smith stated that this dipper was practically the same as the one in San Francisco.

      He stated there were ten cars in the train and ten people riding them. He stated the brakes are operated from a station and on being asked if he could see the train all the way around stated he could not.

      Q. by George Smith: You are the only man in charge, are you not? A. Of the brakes yes.

      Q. This is the only means of stopping the train? A. Yes, sir.

      Q. Did you see the accident? A. I heard the train coming and looked at the brakes and saw they were set, and when I looked up I saw the body in the air. I applied the brakes immediately.

      Q. When you saw the body in the air, was the train over the rise? A. Yes, it had come over the top.

      Q. What is the average speed of a train of this character? A. The average speed is about 35 miles an hour.

      Q. What is the highest speed you could reach? A. That I could not say.

      Q. Does it reach a speed of 90 miles an hour? A. That I do not know.

      Q. The thrill is to have the people shoot around? A. Yes, sir.

      Q. How far did the train travel before it stopped? A. 15 feet.

      He stated that the brakes are frequently tested and that his hours of work were from ten in the morning until 10:30.

      He also stated that the accident happened at 10:20 pm.

      Q. by Mr. Byrne: Is there only one point where the emergency can be applied? A. Yes, at the station.

      Q. What was the approximate speed where this accident occurred? A. 20 or 25 miles an hour.

      S. Muir of the United States Fidelity & Guarantee company also questioned a number of witnesses.

      Q. by Mr. Muir: How many trips do you think the boy had taken before he was killed? A. About six trips. (This was found to be wrong as Nome Ferguson testified that they had only taken three trips in all).

      George Reed, manager of the dipper, and two other witnesses were questioned.

      Nome Ferguson, a school boy 16 years of age, was called to the stand and testified as follows: “We got on a car and rode twice in the back seat. Started to go away and then went into the front seat. Going down we stood up a couple of times and at the top above the station were were standing before starting to make the turn. We had hold of the bar. Then were standing up until we came to the turn that starts to come back and sat down at that turn and stood up again right before the last ride and at the top I sat down at that place. I don’t remember whether he was standing or not. At the top of the rise I have a faint recollection of his going over. The momentum threw me off the seat.

      Q. When you came up that last raise, were you standing up at the time? A. No.

      Q. Was he standing up? A. I can not say.

      Q. When you stood up, did you stand on the floor? A. On the floor.

      At 12:30 the jury was excused until 1 o’clock in order that they could view the dipper and see where the accident occurred, and at 1 o’clock after deliberating, the verdict was as follows: “Accident resulting in crushed skull, broken neck and crushed chest. This accident being caused on the giant dipper at the beach.”

      Walter Fernald Byrne was a boy well liked by all and particularly bright in his studies at the high school, where he was in his junior year, and the sympathy of a host of friends goes out bereaved father, mother, and children.

      Captain Ryland Drennan, uncle of the boy, was also present at the inquest.

      (Santa Cruz Morning Sentinel, Sep 22, 1924) [11]

  • Sources 
    1. [S33] Byrne.FTW, Date of Import: Feb 20, 2005.

    2. [S14] 1910 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006).

    3. [S15] 1920 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005).

    4. [S412] Fernald Byrne Meets With Fatal Accident, The first fatality on the great dipper at the beach was last evening done one of the brightest and most promising boys of the community, Fernald Byrne, the third child of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Byrne lost his life….

    5. [S230] Santa Cruz IOOF Cemetery Records, Index of Cemetery Records of Santa Cruz County, (Santa Cruz Genealogical Society), Walter Fernald Byrne, Born CA/Santa Cruz, Buried 23 Sep 1924, Age 15.

    6. [S258] First Congregational Church of Santa Cruz California Records Index 1852-1975, Records from First Congregational Church, (1990, Santa Cruz Genealogical Society), Byrne, Walter C, Resident S. Cruz, Married 6/6/1899, Drennan, Mabel L, Marriages, P 36.

    7. [S116] Santa Cruz Daily Surf, Jun 6, 1899, pg 4. col. 3.

    8. [S262] Santa Cruz Evening News, Santa Cruz Evening News, Sep 16, 1941, P5 C 3: In this city she was married to Walter C. Byrne. The wedding was at the family home on Church street.

    9. [S536] Byrne-Drennan Nuptials.

    10. [S412] Fernald Byrne Meets With Fatal Accident.

    11. [S413] Inquest Held on Death of W Fernald Byrne at Beach.