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Richard Paton's Unexpected Journey in 1850

Here is a tale of Richard Paton my Great Great Grandfather and his Wife Margaret Russell on their travels by train in 1850. Richard comes up trumps after an unexpected journey and a claim for compensation from the Railway Company. It was reported in the Fife Herald on Thursday 4th April 1850.

Richard was a cattleman with a local farmer at the time, and staying at Hole Kettlebridge, Fife, Scotland.


A SPIRITED RAILWAY Traveller. — It is with much pleasure that we narrate the manly courage and independent bearing evinced by Mr Richard Paton (a labouring man) of this place, on the occasion of his being lately carried past the station of Kettle, when, according to the time bills, passengers intending to come out there should have been allowed time to do so. Mr Paton and  his wife had their tickets taken out at Markinch for Kettle, and on their coming to the latter station, the train never Came to a dead halt, several persons notwithstanding jumped out at the risk of their lives, but Mr Paton’s good sense bade both himself and wife “bide their time.” The guard, however, gave the signal, the train still moving, and off went the engine-driver at accelerated speed. The station-master, it may be remarked, was blameless. Mr Paton now perceived that he must just compose himself till he should reach Ladybank, when he hoped to be able to effect his escape, and at the same time to take the preliminary steps towards the rectifying of the mistake. On coming out of the carriage there, the station-agent demanded an additional fare for the ride to which he had been involuntarily treated. Mr Paton explained and declined paying, but on being told that there must be no shuffling, he at once handed him the sum claimed, remarking that there could he no doubt of it being soon returned to him with interest. The agent by this time began to discover his error, and came after Mr Paton with the money, not wishing to be mixed up with the affair at all. The traveller kept his ticket and forthwith wended his way to Kettle station, on reaching which, he lodged his complaint with the station-master, claimed damages for the great inconveniences to which he and Mrs Paton had been subjected, and offered to make a private settlement. The agent did not consider him entitled to compensation, but expressed his regret at the occurrence. Mr Paton, however, being aware that regret would put nothing in his pocket, and would make poor amends for his wife being likely to, be confined in consequence of the storm of wind and rain to which she had been unnecessarily exposed, intimated that he would take legal advice in the matter, and report the whole affair to headquarters, which he did, and had a reply from Mr Lees, informing him that the case had been given over to the manager for investigation. In the course of a day or two thereafter, Mr Paton was called upon to appear at Kettle station, when a settlement was proposed to him, and he accepted of a reasonable compensation, a result which may serve as a hint to railway passengers who in future may be similarly treated, and which should operate as a check to the too frequent and unnecessary hurry of railway officials.


These extracts on this blog just to give you a flavour of the information and stories I am trying to put together about our ancestors. I have quite a bit more on Richard, and Margaret Russell his wife may well have interesting connections on which I am working?


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