William Jackson Allen lies buried in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery outside Marion, Virginia. Near his grave is a tall obelisk bearing the seal and name of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers organization. His headstone notes that he died on 14 February 1893. Other than that, however, nothing was previously known about his death at the age of 42 years.
However, newspaper articles recently located show that Allen was killed in a train wreck near Duffield, Virginia, when the locomotive he was driving, as well as eight additional cars, derailed and tumbled down a 100-foot embankment. Some versions of the newspaper article state that Allen was killed instantly, while one story–with additional details–stated that Allen was pinned beneath the locomotive and had to be removed by digging the earth beneath his body. Rather than dying instantly, Allen may have survived in agony until he died early the next morning. The date of the wreck was 14 February 1893, which is reflected in the date of Allen’s death as carved on his headstone.
Allen left a widow to mourn him, but he and his wife had no known children. While the archivist had long searched for a record of William J. Allen’s death, it was not until the location of newspaper articles about the wreck led him to search Scott County, Virginia, records (where the wreck occurred). In Scott County, Allen’s death was listed as the result of a train wreck.