This reprint from Young Folks appeared on the front page of the May 8, 1884 edition of The Chatham Record. There is no mention of how Deer’s life ended, but he certainly seems well-regarded.
A Strange Race.
A little time ago a young man died in Philadelphia who was popularly known, from his swiftness in running, as “Deer.” His story was a singular one.
A few years since he was a ragged, shrewd lad peddling newspapers about the railroad depot. One day he happened to be on the line of the Pennsylvania Railroad when he saw an engine rushing down the track without any driver or tender. By some chance it had been separated from the cars, and was driving on alone.
The boy knew that it would meet an express train this side of the next station. He had about four minutes’ start, and darted down the track after it. The engine was, of course, not at full speed, yet nobody but Deer could have won in such a race.
He did win; was cool enough to remember the signal to the station-0keeper necessary to have the switch placed so that the engine would be turned on to another track. It was done just two seconds before the express train went thundering by.
Deer, for this service, was granted by the Pennsylvania Railroad corporation monopoly of the newspaper and book trade on its trunk route, and from this he derived a handsome income. It was to the boy’s coolness, as well as to his fleetness, that hundreds of human beings owed their lives. – Young Folks.