The wreck of the Fast Mail train on the pottery switch was on the morning of October 17. The switch had been carelessly left open by some one, and the train coming at a rate of sixty miles an hour ran into the pottery yards, striking with terrible momentum seven cars of coal and tile standing on the switch. Three men, Roderick McLean, Charles Hines and William Smiley, were working on these cars, and in the same instant these three men and Engineer Ward and Fireman McGrath was seriously injured, and engine and cars were broken and thrown together in a mass of ruins.
McLean received injuries which caused his death October 21. Hines and Ward were the worst hurt of the others. Four days after the Fast Mail accident, on October 21, Peter Earling and Peter Abrahamson were the victims of a terrible accident at the works. They were in a tempering pan loading the clay into the elevator when the machinery was started and the heavy wheels moved forward at full speed. Abrahamson was not much hurt, but Earling received such injuries that he was a cripple to the day of his death in 1902.
A year later, on the night of October 20, 1891, passenger train No. 5 on the Burlington was wrecked on the "Three M." Co.'s switch. The train was due in Monmouth at 10; 15 p. m. It had left Galesburg fifteen minutes late and was running fast to make up time. The switch was open, the lights were out, and it was too dark for the switchboard to give any warning. The train took the switch, the engine left the track at the curve, and in an instant the cars crashed into each other and rolled into the ditch. It was a fearful tangle, and the wonder was that any on board the train escaped death. As it was four were killed and many more or less injured.
The killed were: George Courtney, traveling engineer, Galesburg; Albert Emery, engineer, Galesburg; Mrs. George Allen, passenger, Lamoni, Iowa; Frank L. Johnston, passenger, Avon, Ill. The responsibility for the accident was never placed, but the accident led to the building of a different style switch which has prevented further disasters.
The Fast Mail was wrecked again a short distance west of Kirkwood at 1:14 o'clock the morning of December 13, 1900, while rounding a sharp curve. Fireman George Shannon was killed and one car of mail was burned.
Four section men working on the Burlington tracks a short distance west of Monmouth were struck and killed by Train No. 22 on the morning of January 4. 1902. They were Foreman James McGrath, Joseph S. Brown, Mack Anderson and Samuel Mettler.
Train No. 4 on the Iowa Central was wrecked just east of Berwick on the night of April 30, 1889, by the flange of one wheel breaking and letting the truck down on the roadbed. Ed. Savage, of Berwick, a passenger, had his neck broken, and Conductor George Calvin received injuries which caused his death. The mail and baggage car was burned.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois
Submitted by the Webmaster
©Wini Caudell and Contributors
All Rights Reserved