Browns Crossing, IL Train Wreck, Dec 1904


Hotel Runner Disarranged Stop Signal For a Train.


Engineer Went by and Met Another Train in a Head-on Wreck on the Southern Railroad Near Brown's Crossing, Ill. -- Score of Persons Hurt Seriously - Crew of One Engine Jumped.

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Through the thoughtless meddling of a hotel runner at the little way station at Brown's Crossing, Ill., a head on collision of two passenger trains occurred at an early hour in the morning in which seven persons were killed, two injured mortally and more than a score more or less seriously hurt. The trains were No. 1, eastbound, and No. 2, westbound, on the St. Louis division of the Southern Railway, and the collision took place between Mount Carmel and Mauds, Ill.
Station Agent LINDLEY, at Brown's Crossing, had orders for the eastbound train and set the red lights, requiring the train to stop. He was on the station platform attending to baggage, when the train whistled, and a hotel runner pulled the rope inside the station, drawing up the red light and showing white. The eastbound train went by the station at forty miles an hour, while the agent vainly attempted to attract the attention of the engineer. He immediately notified the officers of the road, but he could not notify the agent at the next station because there was no telegraph operator there.
Engineer BUCHANAN of the eastbound train, knowing he was running without orders, brought his train down to eight miles an hour, after passing the station of Mauds, and was feeling his way carefully when he saw the headlight of the westbound train coming around a curve at the rate of fifty miles an hour, the engineer having orders to pass the eastbound train at Mauds. BUCHANAN and his fireman jumped just as the two trains came together and thus escaped injury.
The impact of the two trains was terrific. The cars of the eastbound train, which had come nearly to standstill, were instantly telescoped and caught fire, while the cars of the westbound train were only telescoped partly and all the passengers escaped without serious injury. Engineer BROWN and Fireman RUTTE were both caught under the burning train and perished in agony in sight of the passengers and train crews, who were powerless to give them aid.
The men passengers soon formed a fire brigade and carried water from a creek near by in their hats. The injured were taken care of by the survivors and physicians were rushed to the scene at once. The score or more of persons injured were in the east bound train and their hurts were of every conceivable description. As the two trains came together the passengers were hurled violently forward and were piled up against the doors of the coaches, many of them so stunned and bruised that they could not move.
Fire started and was spreading toward the passenger coaches from the baggage car and eating its way toward the injured passengers when the uninjured passengers formed their fire brigade and succeeded in stopping the flames. E. B. McNEELY, a newspaperman of Princeton, was riding on the engine with Engineer BROWN.
MRS. McNEELY was also on the train, but had refused to ride on the engine, having a presentiment that something was going to happen and had tried to dissuade her husband from accepting the engineer's invitation. McNEELY tried to jump from the engine when he saw a collision was inevitable, but caught his foot and did not clear the track. He was badly injured. EUGENE CARLETON, of Dale, Ind., and RAY UNDERWOOD, of Huntington, Ind., were injured mortally, and the following were killed outright:
ALBERT P. BROWN, forty-five years old, Princeton, Ind., engineer westbound train, killed at his post.
CHARLES RUTTE, Princeton, Ind., fireman westbound train.
HOMER D. HOGAN, mail clerk train No. 1, Georgetown, Ind., crushed to death in car.
HENRY OSKINS, sectionman, Tennyson, Ind.
WILLIAM UNDERWOOD, section foreman, Belleville, Ill.
CYRUS HUDSON, sectionman, Tennyson, Ind.
CHARLES SCHMIDT, coal miner, Centralia, Ill.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1904-12-30