Paterson, NJ Railroad Disaster, June 1870




Another terrible calamity occurred yesterday morning on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, near Paterson, by which a large number of workmen were seriously injured and three were instantly killed. A new bridge is being constructed over the Passaic River, near Rutherford Park. As seven o'clock yesterday morning a construction car, heavily loaded with timbers, left Paterson with twenty-five mechanics who were on their was to the bridge to their daily labor. The grade is downward and the car was run, as has been the custom, without a locomotive, one brakeman having charge of the train. The car approached the slight curve at the end of the trestle-work which carries the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western track over that of the Newark and New York Railroad, when the chain broke which held the brake. At a tremendous pace the car dashed forward and jumped the track when part way round the curve. For an instant it bounded along on the ties and then fell off the trestle-work twenty feet to the ground below. The car was a complete wreck, the timbers falling in every imaginable position upon the unfortunate men who were upon the car. Those who were unhurt, and they were few, began immediately to pull their comrades out of their terrible situation. The brakeman, JOSEPH McLEAN, a resident of Marshal street, Paterson, and two others, had jumped from the car when they saw that an accident was inevitable, after the chain had broken, and they were immediately on the spot to assist in rescuing their fellows. The first lifeless body drawn from the pile was that of EDGAR CAMPBELL, a native of Carbondale, Penn., a carpenter by occupation, who had been sitting of the front end of the car when it fell off the trestle-work. His skull was crushed in, and it is presumed that his death was instantaneous. An Italian, CHARLES COSTI by name, was also nearly lifeless and died a few minutes after he was taken out. JOHN THOMAS, another native of Carbondale, fell under a timber, which struck him in the breast. He was still alive when taken out, but died at the hospital about half an hour afterward. CHARLES BLAKELY, a resident of Ward street, Paterson, was injured internally and had one leg broken. ISAAC KETCHUM, a resident of New York City, was cut upon his face, and otherwise seriously injured.
WILLIAM FREDERICKS, a German, was cut and bruised upon different parts of his body. His injuries, it is feared, are fatal. MARTIN DULEY, a resident of Grand street, Paterson, was badly bruised upon his body, arms and face. PATRICK COYLE was cut in several places and had his nose broken. JOHN SKILLER, another Paterson carpenter, was thrown through the air as the car plunged off the trestle work and was seriously hurt, having fallen upon a piece of timber. His injuries, however, are not considered fatal. JOHN STEELE had his leg broken. JEROME TIFFANY had his teeth knocked out and was also wounded upon the shoulder. WILLIAM POPE received a compound fracture of the left leg.

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