First person in US killed in automobile accident - On this day in history


13 September 2016
13-September-Henry_hale_bliss_1873-45184.jpg Henry Hale Bliss in 1873 in Paris
Henry Bliss was the first person in the US to be killed in an automobile accident on 13 September 1899

On this day in history, 1899: Henry Bliss is the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident. A report of the fatal accident, published in the New York Times on 14 September 1899, can be read here.

To commemorate the centenary of this event a plaque was dedicated at the site of the incident on 13 September 1999 and reads:

'Here at West 74th Street and Central Park West, Henry H. Bliss dismounted from a streetcar and was struck and knocked unconscious by an automobile on the evening of September 13, 1899. When Mr. Bliss, a New York real estate man, died the next morning from his injuries, he became the first recorded motor vehicle fatality in the Western Hemisphere. This sign was erected to remember Mr. Bliss on the centennial of his untimely death and to promote safety on our streets and highways.'

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The ceremony was attended by his great-granddaughter, who laid roses at the place where Bliss was struck.

Newspapers can be a great source of information about events involving our ancestors; find out how to make best use of them with our guide to using newspapers, trade directories and books for family history research here.