Perryville, IL Train Wreck, Dec 1901





Rockford, Ill., Dec. 15. -- Failure on the part of a conductor to obey orders is supposed to have been the cause of a head-end collision on the Illinois Central between Irene and Perryville early this morning. The two trains were the east bound passenger train and a through freight train from Chicago going west. As a result, eight people are dead or missing and 11 injured.

The List Of Dead.
The known dead are:
RICHARD ORMSBY, Chicago, engineer of passenger train.
JAMES REARDON, Freeport, fireman of passenger train.
ROBERT THOMPSON, Dubuque, American express messenger.
J. W. FUNK, Chicago, brakeman passenger train.
DAVID EKHAN, Freeport, freight engineer.
EDWARD CAREY, Freeport, freight fireman.
Missing and supposed to be dead:
Newsboy on passenger train, name unknown.
Section Foreman from Irene, name unknown.
The injured, so far as the names have been ascertained, are as follows:
H. G. WEIBMAN, Chicago, right arm crushed off at elbow; condition critical.
D. R. AHRENDT, Chicago, cut and bruised by broken glass.
J. M. QUINLAN, passenger conductor, cut and bruised, crushed about the chest; condition critical.
W. B. KEEFE, Sioux City, Ia., head severely cut.
FRANK STADLEMAN, New Albins, Ill., cut about head and arms.
THOMAS HENDRICKS, New Athens, Ill., cut and bruised and hair scorched off.
Slightly hurt:
G. E. SHORTLEFF, Kankakee, Ill.
G. M. MARCH, Kankakee.
M. E. FRANKLIN, Lake City, Ia.
A. L. BAGGS, St. Louis.
JOHN HUSSEY, Independence, Ia.

Met At Full Speed.
The trains met in a slight bend in the track, both running at full speed. An oil tank car in the freight train exploded, throwing burning oil over the wreck and in an instant the entire mass of wreckage was in flames. Every coach of the passenger train and all of the freight cars except on tank car and a freight car were burned. The bodies of the dead were burned in the wreck. The survivors made desperate efforts to recover the injured who were pinned in the wreck, but the flames drove them back at every point.
The smoking, express and baggage cars were piled on the locomotives, penning in the occupants of the smoker. Only three of the half dozen in that car escaped. The others were penned in and if not instantly killed were roasted to death, and their bodies, with those of the engine crews were entirely consumed.

Suffer From Cold.
All efforts of the survivors to reach the victims were unavailing. The temperature was 20 degrees below zero and an icy wind was blowing, the point where the wreck occurred being in a shallow cut, affording no protection. The injured were without hats and wraps and suffered terribly. By the united efforts of the survivors, one car was pushed back from the wreckage to escape the flames and the wounded were placed on the banks inside.
Two hours passed before any relief was at hand. Then an engine arrived from the east and pulled the car to Irene, three miles distant.
A relief train was started from Rockford at 1:30 a.m. with medical aid. It arrived at the scene of the wreck 30 minutes later. In the meantime the injured had been brought back from Irene, and were transferred to the relief train and brought to Rockford. All the injured are doing well except H. G. WELLMAN of Chicago, who is in a critical condition.
Wrecking trains have been at work today and have the tracks clear tonight. Six bodies were recovered from the debris, but were charred beyond recognition.

The Derrick Oil City Pennsylvania 1901-12-16