Oxford, NE Train Runs Into Washout, June 1895



On last Sunday evening at 8:44 o'clock, just a few hundred feet beyond the Turkey Creek bridge, and almost midway between Oxford and Edison stations, took place the most appalling, heart-rending and fatal accident in the history of railroading on the Western division of the great Burlington Route, and in a twinkling of an eye, without a moments warning four lives were hurled into eternity, and one was saved as by a miracle, though severely injured.
The rains of Saturday night and the bursting of the dam at Curtis Lake early on Sunday morning caused grave uneasiness at headquarters and shortly before noon a train and crew were dispatched to Cambridge to watch the company bridge at this point which, it was feared, might be taken out or destroyed by the flood of water known to be coming down the Medicine valley. Later, hearing of trouble existing between Oxford and Edison, the train continued on east. Arriving at the Turkey Creek bridge between the above mentioned points, that structure was carefully examined and found to be safe. It is supposed that the train then started to inspect a big fill further east. At any event, the train had scarcely gotten under way before the engine plunged into a washout, one car and the front end of the second car following the engine into the hole, which was 20 or 30 feet wide and about 10 feet deep, the flood of water having washed away the earth embankment of the road-bed, leaving the cross-ties and rails apparently intact.
Roadmaster B. V. HALEY, Chief Clerk FRANK HARRIS, Bridge Boss N. N. VAN SICKLE, besides Engineer FRANK W. JEFFRIES, Fireman C. C. M. ROWELL and Brakeman SAMUEL B. MUNDY were on the engine when she made the fatal leap into the darkness. Of these six men, Firemen ROWELL and Brakeman MUNDY were instantly killed. Engineer JEFFRIES expired shortly after being released and thought to be all right. Roadmaster HALEY died in about two hours after being removed from the wreck, though he never regained consciousness. Chief Clerk HARRIS was severely burned on the right leg and a small bone in the back of the right hand was broken, besides being painfully bruised and terribly shocked. N. N. VAN SICKLE of the bridge gang, who was on the steps of the engine, jumped and escaped injury entirely. Conductor A. E. OWEN, Brakeman MOSE CARMONY, Trainmaster J. F. KENYON, Chief W. S. PERRY of the bridge gang, and a number of laborers were on the train.
These at once set to the work of releasing the dead and wounded, a man being sent to Oxford to telegraph the sad news to McCook. A wrecking train in charge of Supt. Campbell, with Master Mechanic Archibald, Surgeon Gunn, and other officers and men, hurried to the wreck, leaving here about 10:30. The dead and injured were at once removed from the wreckage, and the bodies of the four men were immediately brought to McCook, reaching here at about 4:30 on Monday morning. The work of clearing away the wreckage for the resumption of traffic was not completed until some time in the afternoon.

McCook Tribune Nebraska 1895-06-07