It is a bit of a toss-up. Kids today are presented with difficult choices, but the end of the 19th century had its share of danger. Morning Tribune Editor Benjamin Brooks was surveying the railroad construction on Cuesta Grade when he came across this story.
The story begins, as it often does, with boys looking for excitement.
Morning TribuneMarch 24, 1894
AN ANCIENT MUSKETAnd the Unhappy Results that Followed From Fooling With It.
A very sad accident happened yesterday afternoon by which young Frank Lyman, a son of Mr. Lyman of the Nevada house, was very badly injured. It appears that young Frank was playing “hookey” from school and instead of being at his lessons was with some boys on the grade, looking at the locomotive booming along the tracks. Getting tired of this sight, the boys wanted to go shooting.
No sooner said than done. An old army musket, unused for generations, was brought forth by one of the number and as it would not go off, some more powder was poured down the barrel. How the explosion then happened no one of course can tell but the charge struck the poor lad full in the face, knocking out one of his front teeth and singeing the hair on top of his head. He presented a horrible sight when seen by a wandering scribe who somehow or other is always on deck when Dr. Nichols is around. That medico soon relieved the boy’s sufferings and hopes to save his eyesight.
Little Gaxiola who, some weeks ago, broke his leg as already reported in these columns, was taken in on Dr. Nichols’ rounds and found to be up and doing.
Nevada House still exists. It was built in 1895 at the base of Cuesta Grade by Albert Lyman, a retired railroad engineer from Reno. Harry Lyman, another son of Albert Lyman, would become a carpenter who built several historic homes in San Luis Obispo.