Lockland, OH Terrible Train Collision, Nov 1867
COLLISION ON H. AND D. R.R. - FEARFUL LOSS OF LIFE.
At an early hour yesterday there was a rumor afloat in the city that a fearful accident had occurred on the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad, and this rumor was presently confirmed, and, as all accidents of a similar character are, it was exaggerated tenfold over the actuality. However, the reality was sufficiently fearful, and the reader who may be the most opposed to sensational journalism, will fully agree, ere he gets to the end of the narrative, that the term horrible will not be out of place.
The Cause Of The Disaster.
The pilot on the engine of a freight train broke down about a quarter of a mile beyond Lockland, a short time previous to the regular time of the arrival at that station of the Atlantic and Great Western express train. A flagman was immediately sent back, who succeeded in stopping the above cars, but in an interval of sixteen minutes it was known that the accommodation train from Hamilton was due. Conductor Sliter, of the express train, immediately dispatched a messenger with a warning signal to intercept the Hamilton train, which comprised twelve baggage and two passenger cars. He met the train about the third of a mile from the bridge, where the disabled engine of the baggage train was being repaired. At that particular point there is a curve in the road, and a descending grade, but the signals being at once observed, the engine was reversed, the men sprang to the brakes, and, we are informed upon reliable authority, that every means and appliance were put forth to stop the train. This was at fifteen minutes to six; the morning was damp and foggy, and the misty atmosphere had made the rails wet and slippery. The engine was reversed, and the men strained every nerve at the brakes, but in vain; onward sped the ill-omened train, the heavy freight cars upon the down grade bearing onward the belching, fiery engine until the collision being inevitable and hopeless, the engineer and fireman sprang from the fatal contact.
At this time the passengers in the sleeping cars of the express train, having been notified that they were within twelve miles of Cincinnati, had arisen and were making preparation for their arrival in the city. At Dayton the train had been augmented with three cars from the Dayton and Michigan Railroad, consisting of a baggage, passenger and sleeping car. In this latter were four sisters, named SALLIE, RACHEL, ANNA and MARY MORGAN, Southern ladies, and residents of New Orleans - but more of this anon. They were dressed and were anxiously awaiting the arrival at the depot, when, through the foggy atmosphere, the reflection of the Franklin engine, of the Hamilton train, was seen in fearful proximity. Too late to escape, onward it came, and then the terrible, the fearful and inevitable crash.
The destruction-dealing Franklin, plunged, plowed, and tore its way half through the ill-fated sleeping car wherein the unfortunate sisters were quietly awaiting the termination of their journey. In an instance there arose a terrible scream. The cars in front were huddled together, crashing and tearing into each other, while the occupants were tumbling and escaping from them in the wildest confusion.
The catastrophe occurred at a spot where the road was elevated, and upon each side there is an abyss of some twenty feet. Each passenger car - six in number - four belonging to the Eastern train, and the two connected with the Dayton and Michigan Road, were shivered, or as a gentleman in one of the forward express cars stated to us, the leading passenger car encased that in which he was like a telescope.
Meanwhile, the lamp, filled with kerosene oil, which illuminated the reflector of the Franklin, exploded, scattering a fiery field around, and in an instant the whole was enveloped in flames. Here the scene was terrific - those who were fortunate to escape from the doomed train little wrecked the precipitous embankments, and it was indeed a rush for life, but in the car in the rear there was a tragedy enacted, which curdles the blood to think of. As the engine of the Hamilton accommodation train scattered fire and destruction around, the death scream of the four ill-starred sisters was heard.
But one, however, was soon at the window, head, arms and bosom protruding, in a struggling effort to free herself from the horrible fate. One strong man sprang to her rescue and grasped her shoulders - in vain. Two more, incited by his example, and notwithstanding that the flames were tickling the side of the car and belching from the windows, rushed to her aid - still in vain. It seemed as if their united efforts would pull her fragile body in twain. "For God's sake, save me," she shrieked, but the nether extremities were so jammed that they could not extricate her. The flames played above her head and settled upon her luxurious hair.