West Jersey, NJ Train - Automobile Wreck, Aug 1910


Pennsylvania Train Strikes Machine Squarely, Hurling It Clear of Track.

Cape May, N. J., Aug. 9.-Five persons were crushed to death tonight when an express train on the Pennsylvania railroad struck an automobile at Mill Lane crossing at West Jersey, on the Seashore railroad. The dead: FREDERICK W. FELDNER and wife, FRITZ MERGENTHALER and wife, M. C. JONES, chauffeur, all of Baltimore.

MERGENTHALER was the son-in-law of MR. and MRS. FELDNER. The party had been spending a few days in Atlantic City and this afternoon left for an automobile trip to Cape May.

As the automobile bore down toward the tracks, MRS. THOMAS MCNEIL, who resides close to the crossing, saw the rapidly approaching express and waved her hand for the automobile driver to stop his car, but the men did not see the danger signal or thought he could cross the tracks before the train reached him and dashed onto the road just as the train reached the crossing. The train struck the automobile squarely between the wheels and threw all of the occupants clear of the track. All five riders were instantly killed and badly cut and bruised. The bodies were quickly gathered together and a physician hurriedly summoned, but a glance at the mangled forms showed plainly there was no need for medical aid.

So severe was the impact that pieces of the machine were driven into the piston rod.

Victims Prominent.

Baltimore, Aug. 9.-ALBERT W. FELDNER of this city, who with his wife, son-in-law and daughter and their chauffeur were killed by a Pennsylvania express train near Cape May, was a lawyer of this city. He was associated with FRANK A. FURST, also of Baltimore, in a contract which contemplates the draining of the Everglades and other large enterprises.

MR. MERGENTHALER, also of this city, was the son of OTTMAR MERGENTHALER, inventor of the MERGENTHALER linotype.

The State, Columbia, SC 10 Aug 1910


Error in location id


The title and link categories put this accident at "West Jersey" but I think that is an error based on an error in the article cited.

Where the article says:
"... train on the Pennsylvania railroad struck an automobile at Mill Lane crossing at West Jersey, on the Seashore railroad."

I believe that it should have read:
"... train on the Pennsylvania railroad struck an automobile at Mill Lane crossing of the West Jersey and Seashore railroad."

The West Jersey and Seashore RR was owned and operated by the Pennsylvania RR.

The following article from the NY Times puts the accident at 2 miles north of Cape May, which is just about where the Cape May Canal runs today.

The Cape May canal was made in 1942 by dredging creeks from each side of the Cape to meet in the middle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_May_Canal
While I can't find the name "Mill lane" on an old map, it is logical to presume that it ran to a nearby mill on the creek which was dredged to make the canal. http://historical.mytopo.com/getImage.asp?fname=cmay90nw.jpg&state=NJ

A more precise location name for the accident might be "Cold Spring" in Lower Township, but I would say 2 miles is close enough to use the more familiar name "Cape May" to identify the location for your site. The whole region is all on the Cape, after all.

The name West Jersey was never a specific town or point on the map: it was the early colonial name of what is now all of South Jersey, except for Ocean County (more precise boundary information here: http://westjersey.org). The colony of West Jersey existed formally from 1674 to 1702, with its capital at the city of Burlington. After 1702 colonial NJ was still divided into a West and East Division and the name West Jersey persisted well past 1850. That is why the Railroad line had the name "West Jersey."