Ligonier, PA Train Wreck, Jul 1912


"Double-Header" Freight Runs Into Coach Near Latrobe, Pa.


Passenger Train Was Loaded With Picknickers and Babies - Farmers to the Rescue - Mixup of Orders Causes Collision.

Latrobe, Pa. -- Twenty persons were killed and many others fatally injured at 3:40 o'clock, p. m., on the Ligonier Valley railroad when a passenger train carrying picknickers was backing into Wilpen. The accident was due to a misunderstanding of orders. It happened at the fair grounds, about one and a half miles from Ligonier.

The accident was caused by a double header freight, which crashed into the rear coach of the passenger train, telescoping several cars. Only one passenger on the train escaped injury.

The coaches contained a large number of children who were being taken by MISS MATTHEWS, a nurse at the home of GEORGE SCOTT, president of the Ligonier Valley Railroad, for a day's outing. All the children were either killed or sustained severe injuries.

The freight engines ploughed[sic] through the wooden coach, crushing it as it would an eggshell. The coach was ripped to pieces. All the occupants were hurled to the roadbed some fell in the path of the engines, while others, were imbedded[sic] partly in the cinder and stone ballasting.

The fire engine of the double header pulling the freight train stopped after it had passed through the passenger coach, turned half way around and fell over on its side. Engineer FRANK McCONNAUGHY was thrown under the engine and scalded to death by escaping steam. Fireman GEORGE BYERS jumped, but fell on the track, the wheels of the tender cutting his body in half.

Engineer SMITH P. BEATTY of the second freight engine jumped and sustained a broken leg, while his fireman JOHN H. ANKNEY, fell beneath a car when he jumped and both legs were severed. He died while being taken to the Latrobe Hospital.
Conductor CHARLES H. KUHN of the passenger train leaped when he saw the impending crash and received a broken leg. Engineer DUNLAP of the passenger train stuck to his post and was uninjured.

Farmers near the scene of the accident and men who were at work at the Denny racetrack went to the assistance of the injured, laying them on the bank.

A messenger sped with all haste to Ligonier and notified residents there of the accident.

A frantic call for physicians and aid was sent to Latrobe. Five Latrobe physicians went to the scene in an automobile. A special train was made up on the Ligonier Valley Railroad and sent to Ligonier to bring the injured to the hospital.

The dead:
McCONNAUGHTY, FRANK, engineer, age 45; scalded to death under engine.
BYERS, GEORGE, fireman, age 28; cut in twain.
BEATTY, SMITH, engineer, age 36; died on way to Latrobe Hospital.
ANKNEY, JOHN, fireman, age 35; mangled under engine; died on way to hospital.
RHODDY, LOUISE, age 11 years.
RHODDY, ELIZABETH, age 14 years.
BROWNFIELD, SAMUEL, age 4 years.
TOYSH, GEORGE, age 68, a wealthy farmer of Ligonier township.
DILLON, MRS. HARRY, age 24 years, and her year old baby, of Wilpen.
EDSAL, MISS, age 20 years, of Ligonier township.
HOON, MISS, age 20 years, of Ligonier township.
ESSE, MRS. M., age 34, of Wilpen.
HUDDOCK, MIKE, of Wilpen; side crushed.
MURR. THOMAS, age 52, of Latrobe; head crushed.
OVERTON, FRANK, age 10, son of JOHN OVERTON of Wilpen; body crushed.
OVERTON, MRS. JOHN, of Wilpen; died on train going to Pittsburgh.
Unidentified Italian; legs cut off; head crushed.
HUBLEY, GEORGE W., Pittsburgh, son of secretary of the Oil Well Supply Company.

A majority of the thirty injured persons were residents along the Wilpen branch. They were brought to a hospital here or sent to hospitals in Pittsburgh wen it was found they were in a critical condition.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1912-07-12