Melrose, NC Train Wreck, Jun 1890

A Train Plunges Down-Hill and Kills Three Men.

A destructive wreck, both to life and property, occurred on the Western North Carolina Railroad at Melrose station, on the southern side of Saluda Mountain, about thirty-two miles from Asheville, N. C., on the Asheville and Spartanburg division. The dead are: J. J. SMYRA, engineer, of Chester, S.C.; LEWIS TUNSTALL, engineer, of Yorktown, Va.; W. G. TAYLOR, fireman, of Morristown, Tenn., son of W. P. TAYLOR, for twenty years a conductor on the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad.
The injured are: BOWCOCK, C., flagman; thigh broken; FOSTER, _____, brakeman; not seriously hurt; GREENLEE, ______, brakeman; slight injuries; HOE, WILLIAM, fireman; slight injuries; escaped by jumping; RICHETTS, GEORGE, conductor; slight injuries; escaped by jumping.
From the apex of Saluda Mountain to Melrose, the scene of the accident a distance of more than three miles, there is a fall of fully six hundred feet. This fact has made the railroad authorites specially careful at that point, and an engine is kept constantly there to help all trains up and down the mountain. The track was very wet when a coal train started down, and soon after beginning the descent it bacme evident that the twelve loaded cars were too much for both engines to hold with all brakes down, and the speed gradually quickened under the heavy pressure until a speed of seventy-five miles an hour was reached, when the tracks spread and the entire train plunged headlong down the mountain burying beneath the broken cars, cross ties and earth the brave fellows who had stood to their posts.
The loss to the company in engines and cars alone will reach $75,000. A train containing Superintendent McBee and surgeons left Asheville immediately on hearing of the wreck, and returned, bringing the bodies of Engineer SMYRA and Fireman TAYLOR. Flagman BOWCOCK is receiving the best medical attention. Both engineers have families, SMYRA'S wife being at Morehead City, where she was notified by telegraph of the disaster. This is the fourth wreck on this road within a week.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1890-06-27


Great Grandfather Lewis Tunstall

Thanks for posting this article. My husband's great grandfather, Lewis Tunstall was killed in this train wreck.