Albany, NY area Spuyten Tayvil Creek Train Wreck, Jan 1856
The New York papers have the following additional particulars:
The search for the bodies of the engineer and fireman, attached to the submerged locomotive, was concluded at dark on Monday evening. The body of the engineer, GEORGE PARIGEN, was first recovered. He was found with his right hand clasped, and near the valve of the engine, as though he had been making an effort to stop the train. The body was much bruised, but no limbs were broken. Death was occasioned by suffocation.
The body of the fireman, HOWARD ROOT, was but a few feet from that of the engineer; and from its position, it was evident that ROOT had attempted to enter the tender, his back being turned to the fire-box, and his face toward the rear of the train. One of his legs was broken.
Two gold watches were found upon the bodies; and a singular fact is connected with them. Both time pieces had continued to run -- one till 10.4 o'clock Monday morning, and the other until 9 o'clock. Only two persons were killed. Seven were wounded and scalded, two dangerously.
A scene of more complete destruction we have never witnessed. The appearance of the wreck was nearly as bad as that of the New Haven train at the time of the Norwalk catastrophe.
The bridge over Spuyten Tuyvil creek is 650 feet in length. It is constructed entirely upon piles, and a double track is laid upon it. The insecurity of the track is attributed to the fact that the ice, which had accumulated in large quantities at this point, was forced up at the time of the high water in such a way as to lift the track, and disturb the adjustment of the sills upon which the rails rested.
Falling again at low water (which at this point occurs at about seven o'clock) the sills failed to strike the tops of the piles, and the track remained suspended only by the tension of the rails. The weight of the engines was sufficient to break this feeble support, and nothing could save them from destruction. The reason of the comparatively small injury to the first engine is found in the fact that its forward wheels had passed safely to the opposite side, before the heavier weight of its driving wheels broke down the bridge, by coming directly upon the weakened portion. The second locomotive fell at once into the gap, and went entirely out of sight. The broken rail entered the boiler of the first engine, penetrating four sheets of iron, and causing the escape of the steam.
FEMALE HEROISM. -- One of the New York papers giving an account of the accident on the Hudson River Railroad says:
MR. DEWEY, an old resident of Poughkeepsie, was in the second car, with his daughter. He was buried beneath the ruins, while the daughter escaped almost uninjured. Her first thought was to assist her father, and with a strength almost superhuman she engaged in removing the wreck, and by her example inciting others to the most untiring efforts. She at last had the satisfaction of rescuing her father, but so unmindful of herself had she been as hardly to know that she had frozen both of her feet so badly that amputation of some of the toes will be necessary. Where do the records of the battle field exhibit more devoted courage than was displaed[sic] by this heroic girl ?
The Republican Compiler Pennsylvania 1856-01-21