Incident at Gold Hill
Thursday August 25, 2005
By Larry Mullaly
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
For fourteen years Ambrose Marshall worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a bridge carpenter, watching over the trestles that spanned canyons and rivers between Ashland and Roseburg, Oregon. From the solitude of his small motorized railcar or speeder and armed only with a timetable and a keen eye, he had tempted fate dodging trains day and night without a mishap. But one night something went wrong.
At 6:30 P.M. October 10, 1912, Marshall appeared at Cardwell's Saloon in Gold Hill, for a few drinks, just as the Oregon-Express Passenger Train charged through town with its headlight blazing. Shortly after 7, Marshall walked over to the station where the agent told him that the number 14 local train would soon be approaching. Marshall thanked him, lit his pipe and walked off into the night. A few minutes later the second train roared through town, whistle blowing and bell ringing.
It wasn't until early the next morning that Marshall's body and the wreck of his speeder were found near the wagon road at the lower end of town. He had ridden on his solitary missions longer than anyone could remember, but that night, fate in the form of train number 14, finally caught up with him.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Larry Mullaly, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Jackson County Coroner's Report, October 12, 1912