St. Louis, MO Circus Train Wrecks, Animals Escape, Nov 1887



St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 3 -- JOHN ROBINSON'S circus train was wrecked at the Union Station this evening, and a pair of lions, a tiger, a leopard, and a hyena succeeded in escaping from the cages. The excitement was intense for a few minutes, but the animals, being of the circus kind, were more scared than the people and were easily captured. The train had just arrived from Fort Scott, Kan., where the last stand had been made, and its destination was Cincinnati, where the show has Winter quarters. The train consisted of 20 flat cars, carrying animal cages and circus paraphernalia, and 3 passenger coaches for actors and employes. A stop was made in the Missouri Pacific yards, and when the signal to start was given the train pulled out rapidly toward the bridge. As one of the front cars was passing over the "puzzle switch" it jumped the track, and the cars and cages in the rear dashed over it and collided with a freight train going in the opposite direction. A canvasman named JAMES SQUIRES was killed, and two others, named FULLER and ISLE, were dangerously injured. The lion cage was shattered and the lion nad his consort leaped out on the track and circled the wreck twice, and when the people fled, terror-stricken, the lions did likewise. They crawled under the wreck, leaving nothing to be seen but their tails. The tiger made a bee-line for the baggage room and took refuge behind some trunks. The hyena dodged under a freight car and howled. The leopard ran around for a few minutes and knocked a couple of men over and then jumped back into the wrecked cage. The lion tamer was the first man to the rescue. He grabbed the African monarch by the tail and dragged him out from under the wreck and tossed him into another cage. Then he seized the female consort by the tail and neck and led her into the cage. They both seemed grateful to him for the protection thus tendered them. They had never seen the jungle and were not bad animals. One fiery gentleman shot twice at the tiger in the barrage[sic] room, but the lion tamer took the frightened beast by the neck and led him into a boxcar. The hyena meanwhile had been stoned by some bad boys, and was howling mournfully when rescued. A big boa constrictor was cut to pieces under the wheels of a car and two mountain lions were killed. The tiger was shot in three places and the hyena lost half his tail.
A pair of ibexes were killed and a half dozen monkeys are still at large.

The New York Times New York 1887-11-04