Cedar Falls, IA Trains Collide, Sep 1907

Cedar Falls IA train wreck 9-6-1907.jpg

ROCK ISLAND PASSENGER WRECED; ELEVEN KILLED; EIGHT INJURED.

COLLISIOIN WITH FREIGHT THREE MILES NORTH OF CEDAR FALLS CAUSES GREATEST RAIL DISASTER IN THIS VICINITY.

INJURED WERE BROUGHT ON A SPECIAL TRAIN AND TAKEN TO HOSPITAL IN WATERLOO.

List Of Known Dead.
J. D. LANPHERE, farmer, Shell Rock.
WILLIAM SMITH, baggageman.
P. B. OLIVER, Waterloo, Ia.
WILL GOODMAN, Waterloo.
JOHN N. WATSON, Waterloo.
W. RAY JOHNSON, Dike, Ia.
B. C. CHRISTY, Minneapolis.
LOVOVAN TOJA, Hammond, Ind.
Laborer, name unknown, Hammond, Ind.
Three unidentified men.
List Of Injured.
DR. CHARLES J. O'KEEFE of Marble Rock, right leg broken and possible internal injuries.
W. H. MYERS of Albert Lea, engineer, arm and ribs broken, also internal injuries.
O. H. MARTIN of West Liberty, mail clerk, slightly injured.
THOMAS EVENSON of Mora, Minn., farmer, right leg broken and right hand crushed.
J. A. NEWELL of Waterloo, I. C. conductor, right are torn off and leg badly crushed.
JOHN SHAW of Waterloo, farmer, scratched about the head.
J. H. DOUGLASS of Westerfield, Waterloo, left collar bone fractured and right arm broken.
An unknown foreigner, leg slightly hurt.
All at the Presbyterian hospital.

Rock Island passenger, north bound, due in Waterloo at 9:25, was wrecked in Norris Siding three miles north of Cedar Falls at 10:20 today, resulting in the death of twelve men and the injury of seven others. The trucks of locomotive No. 1001, of the passenger train left the track at a sharp curve just south of the siding, and the train crashed into a freight southbound that was standing on the siding. The mail car, the baggage car and the smoker were telescoped. All of the dead and seriously injured were in the smoker.
Farmers working near by heard the crash and hurried to the scene. The sight that greeted their gaze was one which they will never forget. The smoker was but a heap of debris, merely a pile of splintered timbers, broken glass and twisted metal.
True to the sense of his high duty in guarding the lives of his passengers, Engineer A. L. MASON of the passenger train applied the air before jumping. He was followed by his fireman, L. McMAHON. If these men had stuck to their engine they would have been crushed and mangled beyond identification, as the engine was completely wrecked and was half buried in the earth at the side of the freight. The train was going at a high rate of speed, being behind time, and the momentum of the train was terrific. The enginemen on the passenger train escaped with slight bruises. The enginemen of the freight also jumped and escaped when they saw the train was derailed.
The first two men at the scene of the wreck were J.C. ADAMS and PETER JERGESON, farmers who were working in a field near by. There being no houses at the siding they had to go to rural telephones to transmit the news of the disaster to Waterloo and Cedar Falls. Immediately the call for physicians and nurses was given and a special train and automobiles carried doctors and newspaper men to the scene of the disaster.
The conductor in chargeof the freight train was J. ROBBINS and in charge of the passenger, J. R. McPARTLAND.
Never before in a wreck in this vicinity has there been such a mangling of the dead. Many of them are unrecognizable. Some of them were beheaded and were crushed and mangled in a horrible manner. Some had their arms and legs cut off. The dead were apparently inextricably mingled with the wreckage of the car, and it required hard work to get the bodies out. As soon as they were removed they were laid aside and the work of rescue continued.
It was natural that the first thought of the rescuing party should be for those who were suffering from their injuries. Cedar Falls and Waterloo people, among them several physicians, did all they could to mitigate the sufferings of those who mercifully were spared from death, but who suffered in the catastrophe.
Stretchers were used to carry these unfortunate victims to a relief train and they were hurried to the Presbyterian hospital at Waterloo as fast as possible.
Many instances of valor have been recorded in similar disasters, but DR. C. J. O'KEEFE proved a hero of unusual mould. He was a passenger in the ill-fated smoker. When the crash came and the air was filled with debris DR. O'KEEFE saw two men who had been sitting behind him and two who had been sitting in the seat ahead, crushed and mangled in a moment's time. Out of the wreckage he escaped with his life, but a sharp pain in his chest and a twinge of the nerves of one leg told him he had been injured. When the rescuers arrived they found the plysician lying among the dead. When they went to assist him, he waved them aside, saying:
"Do something for them first. I'm not hurt."
The doctor was thinking of his fellow passengers and in his solicitude for them he had forgotten his own misfortunes.
It was discovered that the doctor had suffered a broken leg and painful injuries to his chest.
In the mail car, which was one of those telescoped, were the following persons:
E. L. EBY, Albert Lea, Minn., scratches.
W. J. BEAL, Albert Lea, Minn.
J. R. JACKSON, Albert Lea, head cut.
O. H. MARTIN, West Liberty, bruised and external injuries.
GEORGE PENDLETON, West Liberty, arm broken and head hurt.
EBY and BEAL pluckily remained at the wreck to care for the mail.
B. B. CLIVER, cashier of the Nauman Manufacturing company, was on the wrecked train and it is feared he is among the dead.
W. J. NAUMAN went to the scene of the disaster in an automobile this morning to learn what he could regarding the situation. MR. CLIVER was bound for Shell Rock on a short business trip intending to return on the afternoon train. As no word has been received by his wife since the accident, she is much alarmed and fears the worst.

Waterloo Daily Courier Iowa 1907-09-06