HUFFMAN, William R.
Merced Express, April 1, 1898


At French Camp, San Joaquin county, March 30, 1898, William R. Huffman, a native of Merced, aged 23 years.
Merced Express, April 1, 1898

Death of Will R. Huffman.

Will R. Huffman, a bright young man who was born and raised in Merced, was instantly killed in a railroad accident at French Camp on Wednesday afternoon last. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Huffman, of San Francisco. Young Huffman was 23 years of age, and his sad and untimely death is much regretted by his many friends in Merced. A press dispatch from Stockton gives this account of the accident:

William Huffman, second eldest son of C. H. Huffman, a San Francisco capitalist and formerly a well-known farmer of Merced county, was instantly killed at 4:30 o'clock this afternoon in a collision on the Southern Pacific track near French Camp, four miles from Stockton.

Engineer H. C. Hahn, of the Fresno flyer train, with whom young Huffman was running was severely cut in the right side, but not seriously injured.

The collision was caused by the bewilderment of Fireman R. F. Stevens, who was running with Engineer W. R. Hatfield on a loose engine on its way from Sacramento to Oakland. He threw a switch wrong, and how he did it is only accounted for by the fact that he lost his head.

Engineer Hahn and Fireman Huffman could not escape it they had tried, the collision followed so quickly. The fireman was caught between the cab and tender and his neck was broken. The engineer was also caught, but not seriously hurt. The engines were telescoped and badly wrecked,  one of them being thrown over an embankment.

As soon as possible the body of Fireman Huffman was placed in a car and brought to Stockton, where it was prepared for shipment to the home of his parents in San Francisco.

C. H. Huffman, father of the deceased fireman, is the originator of the Crocker-Huffman canal enterprise of Merced county, where he owned vast tracts of land for many years.

A few years ago, when his son Will expressed a desire to learn railroading, the father urged
him to turn his attention to some other business, and offered him any necessary capital to engage in any enterprise he might choose and it is said he offered the young man $15,000 in cash to give up railroading, but the fireman determined to continue in his calling that was so full of interest to him.

Contributed by Thomas Hilk