Charles Ashby "Buddy" Fleshood (April, 1886—23 June 1909) was born in the Sturgeon district of Brunswick County, Virginia. He was the son of Francis Fayette Fleshood (17 August 1849—10 April 1916) and Lucretia Elizabeth Gibbs (28 August 1853—1938).
Buddy died tragically under mysterious circumstances. His niece, Benys Abernathy Gilliam, relates the story: "One night in the summer of 1909 the body of Ashby Fleshood was found on the tracks of the Norfolk & Western Railroad in Petersburg, Virginia. The ticket agent said he sold him a ticket to Ford, Virginia, and gave him change for a ten-dollar bill. When he was found, there was no money on him and an opal ring, which belonged to his girlfriend, was missing from his finger. It has never been known if he was robbed, killed, and put on the track. As he had a ticket, he wouldn't have tried to catch a train and slipped under the wheeles. There are several tracks at the spot he was found. It could be that he was walking around passing the time until his train arrived and was hit by an on-coming train. The mystery has not yet been solved." According to Edward Lee Fleshood, some people believed Buddy was hit on the head and then placed on the tracks.
On June 23, 1909, an article appeared in The Richmond Newsleader about the incident. The article had the wry title "Run Over by Train and Cut in Two: Victim Supposed to be Well-Connected Brunswick Man." The article misidentified the victim as Buddy's younger brother Greyson. It read as follows:
"Petersburg, June 23—(Special)—A young white man, supposed to be Grayson Fleshwood, son of parents living in Lawrenceville, was run over by a train in the Norfolk and Western freight yard in this city about 2 o’clock this morning and instantly killed. No one saw the accident or knew anything about it until the body almost cut in two across the breast was subsequently found.Whether he was struck by the train or fell from it is a matter only of conjecture. The deceased, if the identification was correct, was well connected in Brunswick County and in this city, and was a railroad man said to have been at one time connected with the Atlantic Coast Line road. The coroner will
hold an inquest."
Attached below is part of a letter dated July 26, 1909, Ford, Virginia. The letter was addressed to Greyson Fleshood and appears to be from Ashby's girlfriend who has been identified as Eliza Kennedy. The letter mentions "Mrs. Abernathy" and "Gladys," Ashby's aunt Carrie Belle Fleshood Abernathy and Ashby's niece Gladys Abernathy. This letter is in the possession of Greyson's granddaughter Diane Trollinger Fleshood.
by Eric Fleshood
May 15, 2011
Charles Ashby "Buddy" Fleshood
The Norfolk and Western Railway Station at Petersburg, VA as featured on a postcard, c1909.
Eliza Kennedy, Charles Ashby's girfriend, was heartbroken when he died. "Oh poor poor Ashby," she wrote. "No body knows what the poor boy thought when the train struck him."