Collision at Fillmore and Haight - a 1903 Newspaper Article
Collected by Joe Thompson

This article, from The San Francisco Call, Sunday, June 11, 1899, describes an accident where an O'Farrell, Jones and Hyde car of the California Street Cable Railroad struck a pedestrian at Hyde and Jackson Streets.

Cut Down By the Ruthless Cable Car

From the San Francisco Call / Sunday, June 11, 1899. Page 9.


Aged Charles Tillson Meets Death by an Accident.

At 5:30 o'clock Friday afternoon a Hyde street cable car knocked down Charles Tillson, an aged painter and formerly a Tax Collector of this city, inflicting injuries which resulted in death early yesterday morning. Tillson was crossing Hyde street as the car struck him. He fell in front of the dummy, being dragged several feet before the gripman, Robert Holland, could stop the car.

The case was reported to the Coroner yesterday morning, and an autopsy, held by Dr. Zabala in the afternoon, showed that death was due to a hemorrhage of the brain. The car struck Tillson full on his side, throwing him heavily on his back, his head striking the cobbles between the tracks. From the time of the accident Tillson did not regain consciousness.

The deceased was a man of temperate habits, and at the time he met the death-dealing blow of the ruthless cable car was returning to his home at 1200 Leavenworth street. He was crossing on Jackson street from west to east. According to the opinion of some eye-witnesses the car was slowing down as it reached Jackson street. Tillson approached the tracks of the north bound Hyde street car and did not stop, but continued his course. When the car caught him he yelled, but it was too late. His body was hurled backward before the gripman could apply the brakes.

Tillson was picked up and carried to his home by F. Stromberg. who resides at 1406 Pacific street, in the immediate neighborhood of the accident. Dr. I. S. Rosenbaum of the London and Lancashire Insurance Company was on the car which collided with Tillson. "I saw him approach the Hyde street tracks as the car was slowing," he said last night. "I was on the rear dummy waiting until the car should stop on the other side of the street. Suddenly I heard a wild cry. and the car came to a jerky stop. Tillson was not dragged far, and I could not tell whether the accident was due to carelessness on his part or on the part of the gripman."

Charles Tillson was a native of Massachusetts and was prominent in local politics in the late '70's and early '8O's. In 1879 he was elected Tax Collector of this city on the Workingman's ticket. Subsequently he ran for other offices, but was defeated. He leaves three children, two sons and a married daughter.

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