Harlem, NY Terrible Railroad Accident, July 1839


A terrible accident occurred on the Harlem Rail Road, about 10 o'clock on the 4th inst.
The steam engine which runs into New York with the cars for Harlem, got of the track opposite Union Park, when a number of passengers, mostly mechanics, lent their services to get it on again. While thus surrounded the boiler burst. The chief-engineer was blown to pieces. His legs went into Union Park, his arms on to a pile of lumber on the other side of the Avenue, and his head was split into two parts. His abdomen was also burst, and the intestines scattered over the road. The assistant engineer had both his legs broken, and his head, face and breast dreadfully scalded. He only lived a few moments. Another person employed, named PHILIP W. CASE, was so dangerously wounded that it is supposed that he cannot recover. The names of the other victims were JOHNSON and SPENCER.
Besides these there were fifteen or sixteen other persons wounded or scalded. The fragments of the boiler were thrown in every direction, and the machinery of the engine was entirely destroyed.
Another of the sufferers was RODERICK MATHESON, son of Thomas Matheson, of 477 Grand Street, who was severely scalded on his legs, and had his face dreadfully lacerated by pebbles and sand being blown into it; but he is getting better. The same peculiar circumstances attended this dreadful accident, that accompany all disasters on rail roads and steam boats - nobody was to blame, in the least !!!

The North Carolina Standard Raleigh 1839-07-17