Two Lives Lost at NYA Project in 1940


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 10/24/1940.

Two NYA Boys Meet Death When Ditch Bank Caves In

Two boys working on the National Youth Administration community building a short distance above Grantsville were instantly killed Monday morning when the bank of a ditch they were digging caved in and suffocated and crushed them.

The victims were Anis Baxter Mollohan, 18, son of Lanty and Maud Mollohan, of Cremo, and Vernon Edward Davis, 19, grandson of Geo. F. Davis, of Annamoriah.

The boys were digging a footer for a retaining wall on the upper side of the premises.  Rains had softened the banks on the upper side of the ditch which was about six feet high.  The lower side of the ditch was less than two feet deep.  The boys are thought to have been lying prone digging out a footer under the upper bank when the cave-in occurred.  Neither of the boys were covered with more than a few inches of dirt when found.  Mollohan received a fractured skull and other broken members, presumably from heavy soapstone clods which fell on him, while Davis died from suffocation.

The tragedy caused unutterable grief through the county, both young men bearing the finest reputations.  Young Davis had only reported for work that morning and Mollohan had worked only a few days.

Less than two years ago four boys working the community project were drowned when a boat used as a ferry from a quarry located on the opposite side of the river capsized.