Sympathy Saturday – Walter Emilut’s Funeral – 1930

"June 23, 1930 - Walter Emulet's funeral"
“June 23, 1930 – Walter Emulet’s funeral”

The group of young mourners are shown in this 1930 photograph at the Emilut’s front yard in Whitehouse Station, Readington Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Most likely Walter Emilut’s wake, or vigil, was held at his family home. All of the young women were dressed in white, and this seems to have been common then, especially in the summer. White is often a mourning color in many different cultures, along with black, and gray. In the background is Cushetunk Mountain, also called Pickle’s Mountain.

The shock and grief shown on the young faces is very apparent. Walter Emilut was eighteen when he was tragically killed in a railroad accident. I’m only sure of two of the mourners. Stephen Mirota (age 18) was the second young man from the left, and his sister, Mary (age 16), was the first girl to the right of the casket. The Mirota family were neighbors, living at the farm across the road from the Emilut family.

Knowing the date made it easy for me to find an article from the local newspaper, The Whitehouse Review. I went to the Hunterdon County Historical Society, at the county seat of Flemington, New Jersey, and looked at microfilm copies of the newspaper. Roll #13, January 15, 1929 – December 8, 1931, had this article, dated from Tuesday, June 24, 1930, entitled “Railroad Accident” describing what had happened.

“Two Whitehouse men were killed and another injured and four more had a narrow escape at 2:45 Saturday morning, when a speeding freight train bore down upon them while they were working on the New Jersey Central tracks between Bound Brook and Dunellen.  John Sheets, thirty-three, and Walter Emilut, eighteen, both unmarried, were instantly killed . . ..”

The complete article is shown below, along with another article at the bottom of this post, from the same page entitled, “Be Fair” that the editor inserted because of complaints from readers of the newspaper. Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

"Railroad Accident." The Whitehouse Review, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Thursday, June 24, 1930.
“Railroad Accident.” The Whitehouse Review, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Thursday, June 24, 1930.

Sympathy Saturday is a blogging prompt suggested by GeneaBloggers, to add content about any aspect of the death of a person.

"Be Fair." The Whitehouse Review, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Thursday, June 24, 1930.
“Be Fair.” The Whitehouse Review, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Thursday, June 24, 1930.

8 thoughts on “Sympathy Saturday – Walter Emilut’s Funeral – 1930

    1. Thank you! I’m not sure who took the photo, but they really did capture the grief and sadness of his family and friends. The picture was in my family’s collection.


    1. You are very welcome! I agree that the photo is very unique. Maybe photos were taken to be sent back to family in the old country.


  1. I’ve never seen a photo like this. It is beautiful, but so, so sad. My mother has told me many times that in Scotland women were not allowed to go to the actual burial. They went to the church then let the men go to the graveside. I sometimes wonder if it wasn’t just to make sure that there was someone to make the tea and sandwiches for the wake!


  2. Su, I think that is so interesting about your Scottish burial traditions. I’m half Irish and half Polish (my parents were first generation Americans), and women always went along. Our Irish side of the family usually went to a pub, including the women, after going to the cemetery. In the Polish side, the women did make up the luncheon food for after the Mass and cemetery visit, but they set-up beforehand. I also think this photograph is so unusual. I found I wanted to know more about what happened, so I went in search of a newspaper article.


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