Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

March 8, 2014

NIAGARA DISCOVERIES: Train crashes took local lives

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — More than 20 years later, another tragedy occurred, this time in Niagara Falls. On the Fourth of July, 1927, Samuel and Mary Pavloff and six of their eight children were in an automobile driving south on Sugar Street (now Hyde Park Boulevard) toward Buffalo Avenue. They had just passed the community of Echota on their right and were approaching the railroad crossing just before Buffalo Avenue. A westbound New York Central passenger train blew its whistle and put on its brakes but the car did not stop and the train slammed into the automobile, splitting it in two and sending the passengers flying through the air. Mary Pavloff and all six children were killed. Samuel Pavloff sustained serious but non life-threatening injuries.

To compound the tragedy, there was some kind of confusion over the services and the burial of the victims. Mrs. Pavloff and the two oldest children had funeral services at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Niagara Falls. Services for the four younger children were conducted by Rev. Mr. Albert Bacon of the First Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls.

Burial was scheduled to be at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Lewiston but when the procession arrived it was discovered that the graves were in separate parts of the cemetery, three in the consecrated area and four in the unconsecrated area. Samuel Pavloff immediately objected to this arrangement and the procession turned around and went to Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls. 

Since burial plots were not ready at Oakwood, the caskets were left in the vault until graves could be dug. Then the seven Pavloff family members were all buried together. Seven identical stones now mark their final resting place.

Ann Marie Linnabery is the assistant director of the History Center of Niagara.

Ann Marie Linnabery is the assistant director of the History Center of Niagara.

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