Lincoln, NE Rock Island Passenger Train Wrecked, Aug 1894
From the confused tangle of conflicting stories told by excited eye-witnesses it has been definitely ascertained that only one man met his death in the flames.
The low moaning, which had been heard in the ruins of the smoker, had ceased before the flames reached it and the presumption is that all its unfortunate occupants were dead. One victim, whose name will never be known, lay under the tender, the upper edge of which lay across the thighs, crushing them into the hard gravel. As Colonel BILLS approached he begged piteously to be released and saved from the flames.
Colonel BILLS is a man of nerve and desicion, but he was confronted by a terrible alternative. To move the tender was an utter impossibility, and the long tongues of hungry flames were reached out greedily for their victim. For an instant he thought that only one of the man's legs were pinned down and he thought about amputating it. Then he saw both were fast, and while he hesitated helplessly for a moment, a gust of wind drove the flames and smoke upon him, blistering his face and scorching his clothes. Before he could recover himself the long fiery tongues had wrapped themselves about the body and head of their terrified victim and stilled his screams.
Theories About the Wreck.
There are two theories as to the wrecking of the train, it being conceded that the train was derailed by the removal of the rails for a part of the way across the trestle. There is plenty of evidence to prove this as a fact.
One theory is that strikers from South Omaha did the work, believing that a company of state troops, who were to have boarded the train at Fairbury, were aboard. The company missed connection, however.
This is not as generally credited as the other -- that the element that has been causing so much trouble in Oklahoma, who are bitter against the Rock Island, did the job, though, why they should come this distance to wreck a train that might have been wrecked nearer home is not explained.
The remains of ANDREW HANSEN, a farmer of McPherson county, Neb., were identified by a watch found lying in the midst of a pile of human bones.
The police have arrested a colored man named GEORGE DAVIS, who is suspected to be connected with the wrecking. Shortly after the wreck he applied to a hackman to be driven up town. He had been on the train, he said, and lost his coat. He was seen near the place where the wreck occurred, it is claimed, with a crowbar. The police say they have evidence sufficient to convict. His motive is not known.
Deed of Dastards.
Strong Evidence That Train Wreckers Caused the Disaster.
Lincoln, Neb. Aug. 11. -- All the indications point to train wreckers as the cause of the fearful wreck on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad, which involved the loss of 12 or more lives.
Marks made by a wrench on a loosened rail were plainly visible and the marks of a crowbar on the crossties were there.