Hillsdale, MI Train Wreck, Feb 1856
From the Sandusky (Ohio) Register, Feb. 8.
Awful Collision on the Southern Michigan Railroad.
A citizen of this place, just returned from the West, gives us full particulars of the Southern Michigan Railroad accident, near Hillsdale, Mich., a meagre account of which came to us by telegraph.
The snow and cold have served to distract the running arrangements of all railways, East and West, and trains all are pretty much "wild," running off time and "feeling the road." The two trains - one Eastern and one Western bound - which came into collision near Hillsdale, were both off time, but, as it appears, were not equally well conducted. The through mail train going East was running at the rate of about thirty miles per hour, and had out no head light - and this, notwithstanding it was midnight and a heavy snow falling, and the train much behind time. The train bound West was going very slow, had out lights, &c., and in entering upon a curve west of Hillsdale was run into by the through mail train. The collision was dreadful, completely demolishing engines, tenders and baggage cars. Three men, firemen, baggage-master, and track-master were killed outright, and three others so badly injured that recovery is deemed impossible.
The mail car, containing the great Eastern bound mail and through baggage, was immediately set on fire, and its contents completely consumed, and, horrible to relate, the bodies of the track-master and the baggage master were burned up almost entirely; only their mangled remains were rescued.
The loss is very great. The mail being the Great West, bags bound East, must have contained much valuable matter in money, drafts, &c. The baggage was all burned, except one trunk. The locomotive, tender, and baggage cars are all a perfect wreck, and passenger cars are more of less injured.
The engineer of the mail train is among the injured, and expresses a wish to die, as our informant learned, because he blames himself in the matter. It is an awful record, but it is only one which goes to make up the calender of death, all chargeable to the carelessness of the railway employees.
The Huntingdon Globe Pennsylvania 1856-02-13