Ivanhoe, IN Circus Train Disaster, June 1918
SIXTY HEROES OF THE SAWDUST RING PERISH IN FLAMING WRECK AS TRAIN CUTS THRU CARS.
SOMEBODY'S BLUNDER COSTS IN KILLED AND INJURED 189 CASUALTIES OF WALLACE-
PERFORMERS WEAKENED BY CRASH TO DIE IN FLAMES.
FAMILIES LONG KNOWN TO PUBLIC AS FAVORITES ARE DECIMATED OR SWEPT TO ETERNITY.
"I WISH I HAD DIED TOO"
JOE COYLE, REUNITED TO HIS FAMILY FOR ONE DAY IS BEREFT OF ENTIRE GROUP.
Gary, Ind., June 22. -- (AP) -- The known death list in the rear-end collision between an equipment
train and a Wallace-Hagenback circus train was increased tonight to sixty with the recovery of eight additional bodies and the death of one of the circus troupe at a Gary hospital.
The collision occurred at dawn today on the Michigan Central railroad, five miles west of Gary. Virtually all victims were members of the circus company.
Thirty-eight bodies have been placed in Gary undertaking establishments. Twenty-two have been taken to Hammond. Those who died of injuries in hospitals were known, but efforts of giving names to burned and mutilated bodies was reserved for tomorrow. The identified dead:
At Gary, MRS. ALEX TODD, Bloomington, Ill. At
Hammond, JOHN COLLINS, property man; ARTHUR DERRIX, strong man; MRS. JOE COYLE and two sons, HOWARD age 9 and JOE, JR., age 2 1/2.
The injured here include twenty-nine at Mercy hospital, twenty-six at the Gary general hospital, forty-five at the steel corporation hospital, and four at San Antonio hospital. The number of injured at Hammond total twenty-five, according to reports early tonight.
The empty troop train, traveling down a straight stretch of track, demolished three of the circus coaches and badly damaged a fourth.
How It Happened.
According to reports to local authorities, the circus train which carried four sleepers, five stock cars, fifteen flat cars and a caboose, pulled part way into a switch, and stalled there on account of a hot box. The flagman went back on the main track and set fuses as a warning of danger. The circus train was in this position when the equipment train ploughed into the sleepers, reducing them to a pile of steel and timbers. Fire, engendered by the gas-lighting system of the circus train, broke out almost immediately and when rescuers reached the scene the entire wreckage was in flames.
Clowns, bareback riders, trapeze performers and acrobats, many of them veteransin the circus world, perished instantly in the crash. Others were suffocated and burned.
Attempts of the Gary fire department to curb the flames and make possible quick access to imprisoned victims were unsuccessful because of lack of water supply. Survivors struggled about the wreck screaming for relatives or friends and only force prevented two or three men from rushing into the blazing wreckage.
Hours after the crash, bodies, charred black were still being recovered as the derricks of wrecking crews thinned out the pile of debris.
There were numerous pitiful scenes at the wreck and later in the hospitals. JOE COYLE, a clown, wept bitterly as he lay on a stretcher and told how his wife and two babies had joined him only rrecently after months of absence and how all three had been crushed to death at his very side.
"The kiddies had been so glad to see their daddy," he said. "I wish I could have died with them."
Rumor that several lions had escaped from the train to the woods south of the wreck caused residents of that thinly populated district to take precautions. Circus authorities explain that no wild animals were on the train. They also discredited reports that one circus woman, demented, had evaded the doctors and disappeared into the woods.
The revised list of the dead and injured follows:
EARL MICHAEL BERRY, Schnectady, N.Y.
MRS. VERONICA CONNERS.
MRS. JOSEPH COYLE and two sons, Cincinnati.
MISS LOUISE COTTRELL, London, England.
JOHN COLLINS, New Haven, Conn.
MR. and MRS. D. CATTANACK, Chicago.
ARTHUR DERRICK, Erickton, Md.
MRS. HATTIE McCREE, Toledo.
MISS LOUISE POWELL.
MRS. JENNIE TODD, Bloomington, Ill.
FRED WHIPPLE, Michigan City, Ind.
Among the injured are the following:
ARTHUR ADAIR, Chicago.
M. A. ANDERSON, Chicago.
A. M. BALL, Cincinnati.
JACK BALTY, Peru, Ind.
WM. BURNS, Lockport, N.Y.
MR. and MRS. G. W. BROWN, Denver, Colo.
R. B. BRINKLEY.
F. B. BULLARD, Baraboo, Wis.
W. H. CURTISS, West Baden, Ind.
MRS. W. H. CURTISS.
JOE COYLE, Cincinnati.
BEN. CARPENTER, Everett, Wash.
BERNARD CARMEN, Philadelphia.
WILLIAM BAILEY, Providence, R.I.
JOHN DEMPSEY, New York.
GILLIAM DAVIS, Columbus, O.
GEORGE DONAHUE, Middleton, O.
JOSEPH DANOHUE, Indianapolis.
MR. and MRS. EUGENE ENOS, Bloomington, Ill.
CHARLES GROSECLOSS, Indianapolis.
G. H. GOODMAN.
ALBERT E. INGRAHAM, Luddington, Md.
PAUL KRAMER, Peru, Ind.
GUS LINDSTROM, Bloomington, Ill.
ARDELL LESMAN, Reading, Pa.
RENO McCREE, Toledo, O.
WILLIAM MICHAEL, Beaver Falls, Pa.
JAMES MULVANEY, Steubenville, O.
ALONZO MOORE, Defiance, O.
JOHN NELSON, Joliet, O.
DEWEY NUNNELLEY, Lexington, Ky.
ELMER RUNSTADTLER, Detroit, Mich.
G. F. RYAN.
G. F. REED.
A. F. ROBERTS, Memphis, Tenn.
W. M. STREETER.
WM. SUMMERS, Bloomington, Ill.
ALEX. TODD, Bloomington, Ill.
W. S. TURNBULL.
PARSON WADDELL, Columbus, O.
MR. and MRS. EDWARD WARD, Bloomington, Ill.
GUS. WERNER, West Baden, Ind.
C. F. WRIGHT.
Kalzmazoo, Mich., June 22. -- ALONZO K. SARGENT, engineer of the train that crashed into the Wallace-Hagenback circus train at Ivanhoe, Ind., this morning, resulting in the death of sixty-one persons, was arrested here tonight on an order from Gary, Ind., charged with manslaughter.
ENGINEER ON THE CARPET.
Kalamazoo, Mich., June 22. -- AL SARGENT, engineer of the train of twenty-one empty troop cars that crashed into the Wallace-Hagenback circus train near Gary, Ind., this morning, resulting in the death of sixty-one persons, spent several hours in conference with railroad officials at the Michigan Central roundhouse here late today and railroad men declined to make any statement upon his confidential report. SARGENT, it is said, did not discuss the wreck after making his report and left for his home in Jackson.
Michigan City, Ind., June 22. -- EMIL KLAUSS, locomotive fireman on the empty troop train, which crashed into the circus train near Gary was arrested at the request of the coroner. He will be held here until Monday morning when he will be taken to Gary to testify at the inquest. Klauss is 24 years old and resides here with his wife and two children. He came here shortly before noon after fleeing from the scene of the wreck with AL SARGENT, engineer of the troop train.
SARGENT left this afternoon for his home in Kalamazoo, Mich. While here he said that steam from an Indiana Harbor Belt Line engine on a siding obscured the semaphore, but he did not explain how he missed other danger signals. He said he told the fireman to jump, but that he stayed on the engine despite its destructive course thru the show train was was nsot injured.
"We were running along at a good rate of speed between Hammond and Gary and I did not see the circus train on the siding until we were nearly on top of it. I saw a collision could not be avoided and I grew dizzy and sick at the thought of what was certain to happen. I did not notice the engineer and I do not know what he did. I crawled down from the locomotive cab and dragged myself onto the tender where I fell face downward on a pile of coal. That is the last thing I remember. I must have been unconscious when the collision came as I do not remember feeling it. The next thing I remember I was on a train for Michigan City.
Waterloo Times Tribune Indiana 1918-06-23
START INQUIRY INTO WRECK OF CIRCUS TRAIN.
DEATH LIST GROWS TO EIGHTY-FIVE -- TWENTY-FOUR VICTIMS IDENTIFIED.
TWO MORE DIE IN HOSPITAL.
INQUEST TO DETERMINE CAUSE OF CRUSHING OF HAGENBECK-WALLACE CARS BY MICHIGAN CENTRAL TROOP TRAIN HELD TODAY IN HAMMOND.
Gary, Ind. June 24. -- Coroner Green of Lake county, investigating the wreck of the circus train at Ivanhoe, in which 85 persons are believed killed, was advised that ALONZO H. SERGENT, engineer, and GUSTAVE KLAUSS, fireman of the empty troop train which crashed into the circus special would fight extradition from Michigan.
Both are in Kalamazoo, where SERGENT was arrested and where KLAUSE fled after his release on a writ of habeas corpus from the jail in Michigan City, late Saturday.
These men are regarded as the most important, witnesses to be called in the inquest to be held today to fix the blame for the disaster.
The inquest to determine the cause of the crushing of a Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train by a Michigan Central engine will be opened today in Hammond by Acting Coroner Henry C. Green.
Latest figures indicate 85 persons may have died in the wreck. That number includes 24 identified dead and 39 unidentified dead.
After a careful check of all departments the circus management announced 81 working people were missing and believed to have perished in the crash and the fire that followed.
In addition to the circus list of missing, FRED S. WHIPPLE of Michigan City, division trainmaster of the railroad is unaccounted for. He is believed to have been a passenger in the circus train.
Twenty-four identified dead in the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train wreck at Ivanhoe were recorded as follows:
JAMES CONNOR, Bliss, Okla., superintendent of baggage.
VERNA CONNOR, his wife, wild West rider.
ARTHUR DERICKS, Erietown, Md., strong man.
JOSEPH DERICKS, his brother, strong man.
MAX FREEHAND, address unknown, member of the DERICKS' strong-man team.
MR. BARNUM, address unknown, eight-horse driver.
MRS. JENNIE WARD TODD, Bloomington, Ill., aerial artist.
EDDIE DEVOE, Elks' club, New York City, clown.
MON McDHU, Michigan, equestrienne.
VICTORIA McDHU BARNETT, Michigan, equestrienne.
VIRGIL BARNETT, her husband, bucking horse rider.
WILLIE JEWELL, Washington, D.C., animal trainer.
LOUISE COTTRELL, London, England, famous bareback rider.
MRS. JOSEPH COYLE, Cincinnati, wife of JOSEPH COYLE, chief clown and mail man.
JOSEPH COYLE, JR., his son.
CHARLES COYLE, another son.
ZEB CATTANACH, Chicago, superintendent of lights.
MRS. BESSIE CATTANACH, his wife, aerionist.
MRS. GEORGE BROWN, Denver, Colo.
LEROY JESSUP, Toledo, O., ticket seller.
CHARLES ROONEY, Chicago, bareback rider.
HENRY MILLER, animal trainer.
EARL MICHHELBERRY, Schenactady, N.Y., driver.
FRANK MARTIN, address unknown.
Another story that has reached the ears of the coroner is that a man from the circus train ran back far beyond the point where the automatic and emergency signals should have stopped SERGENT and waved his lantern frantically in front of the engine, afterward throwing it in desperation at the window of the cab.
Neither the engineer nor the fireman, however, has mentioined having seen the lantern or that he noticed it shattering against the side of the engine, ever if it did not enter.
The property loss to the circus was tremendous, in addition to the effect on the personnel of its organization.
MR. BALLARD is intensely grieved by the death of so many splendid show people, most of whom were his friends.
The show left Sunday in two sections for Beloit, Wis., where it will resume its regular schedule Tuesday. Aerialists, bareback riders, animal trainers and clowns are speeding toward Beloit from all points of the compass to take the places of the performers whose names were forever erased from the program.
Many scarred and bruised, circus folk, just of of the hospitals, climbed aboard the yellow and green coaches sadly to resume their tasks of amusing the public.
Except Hammond, the only performance the circus will miss is that scheduled for Monroe, Wis., today.
FRANK MARTIN and MRS. GEORGE BROWN died here. Physicians at Hammond and Gary hospitals reported several others, including GEORGE BROWN are dying. The number of unidentified dead is 39, the police say. Most of the bodies are burned beyond recognition.
The Daily Free Press Decatur Illinois 1918-06-24