Brookhaven, MS Train Wreck, Jan 1889 - Deadly Plunge


An Illinois Central Train Makes a Deathly Plunge.

BROOKHAVEN, Miss., January 9. - The railroad wreck, which occurred two miles south of here on Sunday night had been duplicated one mile north tonight. As the passenger train No. 1, on the Illinois Central railroad, in charge of Conductor Kirby, was coming south at 7:06, it ran into an open switch at the mills of the Brookhaven Lumber and Manufacturing company, resulting in a disastrous wreck and conflagration. The switch connecting with the main track and the stub switch used by the lumber company had both been intentionally misplaced. At the time the train reached the switch it was running at the speed of thirty miles an hour. It plunged into the death trap. The engine ploughed its way into the immense lumber sheds, and in less than three minutes fire from the engine's furnace had spread to the lumber and buildings, and started a terrible conflagration. Engineer Samuel Berry stayed on his engine until it stopped. He received several cuts about the face and head, and was badly hurt in the leg, but was not dangerously injured.

A colored fireman, RANDALL CALDWELL, was pulled out from the tender, scalded and crushed so badly that he died in a few minutes. Mail agent Noel and Baggagemaster Farrell received slight bruises. No one else was hurt. The mail, baggage, express and smoking cars were all thrown from the track, but the train crews, passengers and citizens removed the contents, but the fire had got well under way. The engine of the wrecking train then pulled all the balance of the train out of reach of the flames. The tender and mail and baggage cars were burned. The magnificent plant of the Brookhaven Lumber and Manufacturing company, together with thousands of feet of the finest lumber, were soon consumed. The loss of the company will reach high in the thousands, with only partial insurance.

The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, GA 10 Jan 1889