Updated to this site 28 Jul 2010:
Source: Obituary - Alexandria Gazette, Alexandria, Virginia
Date: 4 September 1924; Pg 6:
"POP" GEERS IS PASSED BY GRIM REAPER
Famous Race Driver Dies From Injuries in Accident
Wheeling, W.Va., Sept 4 --
The body of Edward "Pop" Geers, 73, veterean race driver, was shipped to his
home in Memphis, Tenn.,
today. Burial will be in the family plot at Columbia, Tenn.
Geers died last night, from injuries sustained when his horse Miladi Guy,
stumbled throwing the driver from his sulky at the West Virginia State
fairgrounds. He did not regain conscousness and died three hours after the
accident. Twenty thousand persons witnessed the accident.
Geers probably was the best known harness race driver in the world and in 50
years of harness racing is said to have made more than $2,000,000.
Source: New York Times
Date: 5 September 1924; Pg 12:
50,000 PAY TRIBUTE TO GEER'S MEMORY
Activities at West Virginia Fair Are Suspended Out Of Respect to Dead Driver
Wheeling, W.Va., Sept. 4 -- At the scene of his last race a crowd of 50,000
today eloquent tribute to the memory of Edward F. ("Pop") Geers, noted harness
driver and "Grand Old Man of the Trotting Turf " who went to his death
yesterday at the West Virginia State Fair.
Just at the hour of 2 o'clock, when Geers had been scheduled to drive Peter
Manning in an attempt to lower the half-mile track record, the horse was led
onto the track in front of the grand stand. He was draped in black, in memory
of the man who had driven him to victory many times.
A hush fell over the great throng as the horse was led slowly down the track
while a funeral dirge was being played in the grand stand. As the draped horse
stood before the thousands of spectators, Howard M. Gore, Assistant Secretary
of Agriculture, mounted the judges' stand, paid a glowing tribute to the late
reinsman, eulogizing his character, his common honesty and integrity, which,
he said, had gained for Geers, lasting fame in the sport of Kings. All other
activities of the fair were suspended during the memorial services. Geers
body, accompanied by relatives and friends, was taken to his home at Memphis,
Tenn., today. Scores of persons stood in silent tribute as the train carrying
the body of the famous driver passed out of sight.
Source: Article- Moundsville Daily Echo (Ohio County,
West Virginia) ;
Date: 5 September 1924; Friday:
"POP" GEERS KILLED
Edward F. "Pop" Geers, veteran racing man, met death on the on the Wheeling
fair ground track, Wednesday afternoon. His horse, Miladi Guy, stumbled and
fell fracturing his skull. He died about 5 o'clock in the Ohio Valley General
Geers was 73 years old. For more than fifty years he had been in the racing
game, but said this was to be his last season. His wife died ten years ago.
His only son died fifteen years ago when struck in the head by a ball. His
will be taken to his old home at Columbia, Tenn. today.
Many Moundsville people were in the crowd, but none knew this aged driver was
seriously hurt and the races went on.
Source: Dictionary of American Biography; Volume IV -
GEERS, EDWARD FRANKLIN (Jan. 25,1851 - Sept.3 1924), turfman, was born in
Wilson County,Tenn., son of William T. and Emily (Woolard) Geers. As a mere
boy on his father's farm he became a local celebrity as a trainer and driver
of horses. He conducted a public training stable at Nashville in 1875, and one
at Columbia from 1876 10 1889. In 1880 he married Mrs. Pearl (Smith) Neeley.
His first trip North was in 1877 when he gave Alice West a record of 2:26, the
first trotter he drove in under 2:30. In 1879, with Mattie Hunter, he twice
lowered the record for pacing mares, the second time, to 2:16 1/2. At both
Nashville and Columbia he was patronized by Campbell Brown, and from 1889 to
1892 he was employed by Brown at Ewell Farm. Thus Geers became interested in
the Hal family of pacers which Brown was breeding. Going North in 1889, he
took Brown Hal on the Grand Circuit and made him the champion pacing stallion
with a record of 2:12 1/2. With Hal Pointer, the gelded half-brother of Brown
Hal, he won numerous contests during each of several Grand Circuit seasons and
in 1892 made him the world's pacing champion with a record of 2:05 1/4 ; later
lowered to 2:04 1/2.
In 1892 Geers was employed to train and drive for C.J. Hamlin of Village Farm,
near Buffalo, N.Y., at a salary of $10,000 a year, the largest ever received
up to that time by one of his profession. Leaving Hamlin ten years later, he
settled at Billings Park, Memphis, which was his headquarters for the rest of
his life, his chief patron there being F.G. Jones.
For twenty years Geers was the leading race driver of the world, winning
hundreds of races and more than a million dollars in purses and stakes. In
1894 he made Robert J. the world's champion as a pacer, by driving him to a
record 2:01 1/2; he brought out and first raced Star Pointer, 1:59 1/4, the
first light - harness two minute horse; he won the world's trotting
championship in 1900 with The Abbott, 2:03 1/4. He drove to their records
sixty-six trotters in the 2:10 list, the fastest being the Harvester, 2:01,
the champion trotting stallion of his day (1910) and he also gave their best
records to sixteen pacers in the 2:05 list. At Toledo, Ohio, in 1918 he won
the first race in history in which all the heats were paced below 2:00, Miss
Harris M. taking the first heat in 1:58 1/4 and Single G., Geers up, the next
two in 1:59 1/2, 1:59 3/4.
As a race driver, campaign manager, and turf tactician he was equally notable.
Personally he was modest, generous and honest. Because of his taciturnity he
was long known as "The Silent Man from Tennessee." He was instantly killed
while driving in a race at Wheeling, W. Va., and in 1926 his admirers
throughout America erected a monument in his honor in Geers Memorial Park,
[Ed Geers' Experience with Trotters and Pacers (1901), an autobiography; J.T.
Moore, " A History of the Hals,"
Trotwood's Mo. (1905-1907), and other articles in the same periodical;
Nashville Tennesseean, Sept. 6, 1924,
and Oct. 10, 1926; Everybody's Mag., Jan. 1921; Collier's, Mar 27, 1926; the
Outlook, Sept. 17, 1924; N.Y.
Times, Sept 4, 1924; newspaper articles and letters in Tenn. State Lib.,
Nashville; information from Miss
Emma Geers, Lebanon, Tenn., Allen Campbell, Spring Hill, Tenn., and J.L.
Hervey, ed. of Horse Rev.,