Frank David Haley was born near Pittsville in July, 1872 and moved to Gretna where he lived near the railroad yard and worked on both the Southern RR and the F&P RR.
He was a laborer with a section gang that walked the tracks making repairs or working the yard helping switch the cars.
Fortunately for him and the other workers by 1888 the gauge of the track on the Pittsville and F&P track had been converted to standard gauge to match the main line. The yard workers no longer had to switch the trucks on the cars when going from one gauge to another.
Frank was killed in 1906 in an accident near Glad Hill when he fell between some cars. The accident was also reported as an engine mishap. From these reports it is possible he was crushed between two cars when the engine moved which was a common accident when the old pin and link coupling system was in use.
A laborer would have to go between two cars being coupled and insert a link rod by hand. This was a very dangerous method and many men were injured or killed as most railroads used the link pin system in the early days. Safety was of little concern to the business in those days. If you were hurt or killed there was someone waiting to take your place.
The 1900 census list Frank and family living in the Chatham district of Pittsylvania Co. which included Elba (Gretna). Frank was shown to be working as a railroad section hand. He had a wife, Minnie R. born May 1875 and a daughter, Dora G. born 1898. In 1903 they had another daughter, Ruth H. Shelton.
We invite anyone that had family working on the F&P to send us their story and a photo if available for posting on this web page.