Skip to Content

Bonnete's Mill, MO Train Wrecked, Mar 1897

WRECK HORROR IN MISSOURI.

MAIL CLERK KILLED AND CREMATED AND FIREMAN SLOWLY ROASTED.

St. Louis, Mo., March 6. -- One man was killed and his body cremated, another was fatally burned and a third badly injured in a wreck which occurred at Bonnete's Mill, 100 miles west of St. Louis, on the Missouri Pacific railroad, at 7 o'clock tonight.
The dead:
W. W. ROSENBERGER, Bloomington, Ill., single; body consumed.
The injured are:
EDWARD LUSMAN, fireman, aged 28, married, St. Louis; pinned under tender, body crushed and cooked from waist down; inhaled steam; will die.
FRANK LAUBER, engineer, St. Louis; ribs broken and head hurt; will recover.
The wrecked train was No. 4, east-bound. Following the engine was a mail car, baggage car, four coaches and three sleepers. Near Bonnete's Mill the train was running forty miles an hour on a down grade when Engineer LAUBER saw apparently the whole hillside, 200 yards ahead, slide on the track. He threw on the air and reversed and attempted to jump. The engine, tender and mail and baggage cars telescoped. Fireman LUSMAN was caught beneath the tender, but the engineer was thrown high in the air, and broke his ribs by falling on the wrecked cars. The rest of the train was jarred off the track, but not a passenger was hurt or even badly shaken.
Almost before the passengers were out of the coaches the mail car was on fire. The body of the mail clerk could be seen, but all attempts to save it failed. All but a few pieces of mail was burned. The baggage car was blazing furiously andbeneath it all, shielded, yet pinned by the tender, was LUSMAN, the fireman. Scalding water was pouring over his legs and the fire was growing at his back. He begged the wounded engineer to shoot him and tried to reach his own knife and implored those who stood helplessly around to cut his throat and put him out of his misery.
Just than a work train which had been sidetracked by the express ran up behind the wreck. Under the direction of Conductor Parker a bucket brigade was formed with all the male passengers helping. Water was carried from the Missouri River to the fire. Coats were thrown over the fireman to protect him from the steam while the men of the work train tried to extricate him. Finally they got him out -- practically dead. The unburned cars were uncoupled and pulled away and after a while the fire was extinguished.
It is reported that a large amount of registered mail was among that burned. Traffic on the road will be delayed for fifteen hours.

Hutchinson News Kansas 1897-03-06



article | by Dr. Radut