Russelville, MO Train Wreck, Dec 1881


Three Prominent Citizens of the State Capital Killed. --- CHRISTOPHER WAGNER, GREEN C. BERRY and OSCAR MONNIG the Victims.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Dec. 18. --- A terrible fatal railroad accident occurred about 1 o'clock this afternoon near Russelville, this county, on the line of the Jefferson City, Lebanon and Southwestern railroad, by which three of the most prominent citizens of Jefferson City --- CHRISTOPHER WAGNER, GREEN C. BERRY and OSCAR MONNIG --- were instantly killed, and WILLIE ZUENDT, son-in-law and business partner of MR. WAGNER, and CHRIST. GEMEINHART, an employe [sic] of the road, were badly bruised and scalded. The news did not reach this city until 4. P.M., when GEO. VAUGHEN, the conductor of the ill-fated train, came in on a hand car for assistance, having walked four miles before he could get even that means of conveyance. MR. VAUGHEN'S report of the affair is that he left here this morning with a train of flat cars loaded with iron rails for the road, and was accompanied by MESSRS. WAGNER, BERRY, MONNIG and others, who went along for a pleasure trip. On reaching Russelville and delivering his loaded cars, he hitched on to six platform cars and one box-car and started back to Jefferson. The engine was running backward about nineteen miles per hour, when without any warning, it left the track and plunged down the embankment, dragging all the cars with it. WAGNER, BERRY and MONNIG, who were riding on the platform car next to the engine, were crushed under the cars and killed instantly, the bodies being terribly mangled, MONNIG'S almost beyond recognition. ZUENDT and GEMEINHART were also on the same platform car and went down with the wreck. The latter receiving numerous severe bruises and being badly scalded. MR. ZUENDT'S foot was caught between a truck brace and a wheel and badly crushed, and so firmly was it held in that painful position that the combined efforts of the train men were unable to get him loose in less than half an hour. He also was badly scalded but it is supposed that his injuries are not fatal. Medical assistance was called in as soon possible from Russelville, and DRS. THOMPSON and WILLIS WENSTON went out to the scene of the disaster from here with a number of prominent citizens, friends and relatives of the unfortunates on a construction train which was sent out immediately. The conductor has no idea what occasioned the disaster as he was at the time in the box car which went down on top of the rest of the train. The piece of track over which the train was passing at the time is straight and in good condition. The engineer, fireman and another person were in the cab at the time and went over with the engine, but received only a few bruises.

MR. WAGNER, who was about 61 years old, was one of the wealthiest citizens of this county. He served ten years consecutively as county treasurer, and was the principal partner in the large grocery house of WAGNER & CO, of this city. He was universally respected for his integrity. He leaves a wife and family of four grown children.

MR. BERRY, so well know throughout the state as GREEN BERRY, was a well-to-do farmer and stock-dealer, and was elected and served two terms as sheriff of the county from 1871 to 1875. He was well known as a politician, and was a warm-hearted and generous man liked by every one who knew him. He leaves a wife, the daughter of GEN. PARSONS, two grown and several smaller children.

MR. MONNIG, was a young unmarried man, who a few years ago came here and had succeeded in building up a first-class trade as a stationer. He was a successful and highly esteemed business man. His parents live at Americus, Montgomery county.

The disaster has cast a gloom over the capitol city and to-night the streets are throunged with sorrowing friends sadly waiting for the coming of the train which will bring back the mangled remains of the victims.

MR. GEMEINHART has since died.

The Rolla New Era Missouri 1881-12-24