Emporia, KS Train Wreck, Sept 1897


A Dozen People Killed and as Many Injured in a Santa Fe Collision.

Emporia, Kan., Sept 10. One of the worst wrecks in the history of the Santa Fe railroad occurred three miles east of here at about 7:30 o'clock. Ten or 11 persons were killed and as many more were badly hurt. The fast mail train going east and the Mexico and California express, westbound, collided, head on. The Mexico and California express was pulled by two locomotives, and when they struck the engine drawing the fast mail the boilers of all three engines exploded and tore a hole in the ground so deep that the smoking car of the west bound train went in on top of the three engines and two mail cars. and balanced there without turning over. The passengers in the smoking car escaped through the windows.

The front end of this car was enveloped in a volume of stifling smoke and steam, belching up from the wreck below, and the rear door was jammed in the wreck of the car behind. The wreck caught fire from the engines. The cars in the hole and the smoking car burned to ashes in no time. In climbing out of the smoking car several men fell through the rifts into the wreck below and it was impossible to tell weather they escaped or were burned to death. The westbound train carried seven or eight coaches and its passengers included many excursionists who had been to hear HON W. J. BRYAN speak at the county fair in Burlingame. MR. BRYAN himself was on the train, but was riding in the rear Pullman, some 40 feet from the cars which were wrecked. He helped to carry out the dead and wounded and gave the greatest attention to their care. Of the seven mail clerks two were killed and the others more or less injured. The dead so far as known are: JAMES BRANHAN, NATE HOLLISTER, engineers; BENJAMIN WALTERS, JAMES HURLEY, EDWARD YOUSELEI, firemen; J. F. SAUER, express messenger; DANIEL MCKUNEF, Topeka.

The following is a list of injured: WILLIAM FRISBIE; engineer; W. F. JONES, W. C. MCGLEED, C. J. HOLLIDAY, B. O. MCGEE, R. A. DORAN, postal clerks; ------- PATRICK, C. A. VAN CLEVE, brakemen; T. J. BUTTON, Cottonwood Falls, T. B. WALLECK, Atchison, passengers: PHIL SCHFER, Kansas City, traveling salesman, badly hurt; G. C. ERTER, Kansas City, brakeman, probably die; J. BUTLER, hip broken, probably die; MIKE SWEENEY, Gainesville, Texas, back hurt; JOHN DAGAN, Topeka, face smashed; C. B. ADAMS, City of Mexico; badly bruised.

The engineer of the westbound train had received orders to meet the fast mail at Emporia and was making up lost time. These two are the fastest trains on the Santa Fe system and the eastbound train must have been running at a speed of at least 40 miles an hour. The westbound express was going around a slight curve and met the fast mail.

Aberdeen Daily News, Aberdeen, SD 10 Sept 1897