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Robey E. Bateman

Riverside Memorial Park
Location: Rhododendron
(Died 10/10/1919)

A particularly tragic episode in the history of Riverside Cemetery occurred on the evening of October 10, 1919. Robey E. Bateman, a father of 4, was driving his car through the Berkley section of Norfolk, on the way to a church service. Riding in the car with him were his wife and 4 children. They were traveling down Lee Street, and came upon the intersection of the road and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. At the same time, a freight train was heading towards the same intersection.

When Robey tried to cross the tracks, the car stalled. The conductor of the train was unable to bring it to a halt and had to leap to safety. Moments later, the train struck the car, and it exploded in a fireball. Robey, his daughters Emma and Katie, and son Arthur, were burned alive. His wife threw their infant daughter Louise from the car, and then jumped out herself, just seconds prior to the collision. Although injured, Mrs. Bateman and her daughter survived the crash. The gruesome crash site and funeral attracted large crowds. The Bateman family is interred together in the Rhododendron section of Riverview Cemetery. The inscription on Emma Bateman’s headstone provides lament’s their early deaths: “Sleep on My Darling and Take Thy Rest, God Called Her Home He Thought it Best- Mother”.


Train hits automobile; father and three small children are victims. Virginian Pilot. 10/11/1919

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 1000 Indian River Rd., Norfolk, VA 23523

Official web site for more information: www.norfolk.gov/cemeteries

Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: www.norfolksocietyforcemeteryconservation.org