On August 14, 1895, little Bessie was killed in the evening on the Trenton Cutoff Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad crossing of Germantown Pike near Hickorytown in Plymouth Township. Just before the accident, pleasure party which included the little girl boarded a car of the Norristown & Wissahickon Railway Company on Cherry Street. The trolley tracks along the Germantown Pike did not cross the Trenton Cutoff Railroad due to a legal dispute. The passengers were required to disembark, cross the railroad on foot where a car was usually waiting for them to carry them on to their destination. The pleasure party had disembarked following this custom when a freight train was heard coming. For reasons that are unclear, the Bessie Pifer tried to beat the train across the tracks. A Mr. Thomas Hovenden (an artist from Plymouth Meeting) jumped out to pull her back just as they train came through. The girl flew off the front of the train into the dazed crowd. Hovenden was struck on the shoulder, his head crushed, and was dragged about 10 yards before the train stopped. He died almost instantly. The 9 year-old girl was carried to the arms of her mother where she died a few minutes later. Hovenden was buried in Plymouth Meeting Friends Cemetery. Bessie mother sued the Pennsylvania Railroad for negligence and was awarded $1,400.

Location: Q-174