Chicago, IL Train Wreck, May 1853

From the Democratic Press.


Collision at the Crossing of the Michigan Central and Southern Michigan Railroad!
Sixteen Killed and a Large Number Injured !!

Monday evening, as the people of Chicago were retiring to rest, a scene of appalling horror, of excruciating suffering was occurring at the crossing of the two Michigan roads, some eight or ten miles from the city. The emigrant train on the Central was coming in and the Express train on the Southern going out when the two came in collission [sic] under full headway, the Express train passing through the other, literally tearing it into fragments, and strewing the killed and wounded together with the wreck of the cars in heaps of indiscriminate ruin. Three emigrant cars, and the locomotive, tender, baggage car and one second-class passenger car of the Express train received the brunt of the shock, and their inmates were nearly all either killed or wounded. One of the first-class passenger cars of the Express train was also thrown from the track, but fortunately, none of those within it were very seriously injured.

To give our readers some idea of the manner in which the collision occurred, it is necessary to state, that for some eight or ten miles from the city, the Southern Michigan road lies west of the track of the Central. At the distance named, they cross each other at an acute angle - the track of the Michigan Central lying east, or rather south of the Southern for some miles, when they again cross. It was at the first crossing the accident occurred.

Immediately after the collision occurred the locomotive of the emigration train was detached and brought news of it to the city. In as brief space as possible, DRS. PALMER and CLARK were sent for and conveyed to the scene of the disaster. These gentlemen administered to the suffering with their accustomed energy and skill. Towards morning the survivors were brought back to the city. Of the horrors of the night which they had passed none but themselves know; but to them it will be an ever present reality.

The place at which the collision occurred is flat and swampy, and was covered to the depth of several inches. Some of the passengers were undoubtedly drowned. The locomotive and cars that went over were partly submerged in the water and mud, and some of the dead will hardly be recovered until these shall have been removed.

THE DEAD. -- The following embraces a list of the dead:

THOMAS LAWHER, Irish boy; GOODLI WAGONER, German; JOANNAH SILDOLPH, German woman; HEMAN SILDOLPH, her son; JOHN HUNTER EARL, American boy; an Irishman, unknown, supposed to have a wife in this city; German child, name unknown; SUSAN SCOTT, of Little Falls, N. Y.; STEPHEN D. GRAY, of Wheelock, Vt., aged 37 years; EDWARD MISENER, about 16 to 18 years of age; Man, unknown, with $71.45 in his pockets; Boy, name unknown; Woman, unknown, with $32.81 in her pocket; German man, unknown; W. W. HAINES, a German child about two years old. In all, sixteen.

MRS. SCOTT was accompanied by her husband. They had been on a visit to Elgin, where two children and a son-in-law reside. Her age was about fifty-three. Her husband was sitting beside her at the time of the accident. His feet were caught in the timbers, and he narrowly escaped being drowned. MRS. SCOTT may have been seriously injured internally, but the presumption is that she was drowned.

JOHN WILLIAMS lived about two miles from Lake Station. He was alive when brought to this city, but died about 1 o'clock P. M.

We have no definite information as to the number of the wounded. We counted eight in the depot at one time, most of whom were seriously injured. From all we can learn, there must be at least fifteen or twenty, several of whom can scarcely recover.

The Quincy Daily Whig Illinois 1853-05-06