Baxterville, NY Train Wreck, Jan 1888




TROY, N. Y., Jan. 24.-----The accident yesterday afternoon on the Rutland and Washington Division of the Delaware and Hudson system, near Baxterville, proves to have been even worse than was at first anticipated. At least 16 persons were injured, and of this number 4 were so seriously hurt that their recovery is considered a matter of doubt. The ill-fated train left Rutland at 10:40 o'clock and was to have made connections with the Fitchburg train at Eagle Bridge, and was due in this city at 2:15 o'clock in the afternoon. The train had lost some time, and Engineer Beattie was trying to make it up when the accident occurred. The train consisted of a combination baggage, express, and smoking car, and two coaches. The coaches went down the bank, but the combination car rolled over once and did not go as far as the others.

The injured persons are Conductor Charles Frost of Rutland, three ribs broken and penetrating the liver: James Houghton of Salem, salesman for Nims & Knight of this city, jaw broken and injured internally; Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Hasslin of Granville, bruised; their daughter, 2 years of age, badly burned by the stove and her clothing partly consumed; W. H. Hughes, Granville, cut about the head and face; Clarence Stoddard, Granville, scalp torn and otherwise dangerously injured; Anna Murtha, Salem, bruised; Anna Shields, Salem, spine injured and face cut; Nellie Teirney, Salem, face bruised and disfigured; J. H. Shields, Troy, back and leg injured; Clarence Rice, Cambridge, eye destroyed; M. H. Stevens, a potato speculator of Shushan; back injured and head cut dangerously; James Greaney, Hoosick Falls, bruised; Mrs. Lawson, West Salem, neck cut and side injured; Edward Lawlor, brakeman, burned about the right arm; Hugh C. Van Ullrich, New-York, hand cut and bruised head. It is believed that these, with the Western Union lineman, David Owens of Eagle Bridge, make a complete list of the injured.

The persons injured seriously are Owens, Stoddard, Rice, Houghton, Greaney, Frost, and Shields. The victims were speedily removed from the scene of the wreck to adjacent farmhouses. Griffith Owens, father of the injured lineman, went to his son's bedside. He is head batteryman for the Western Union Company at Albany, where he resides.

The accident was caused by the train jumping the track on the curve one mile from Baxterville. It is the opinion of railroad men that the disaster would not have occurred if the train had been going at its usual rate of speed, from 20 to 30 miles an hour.

Hugh C. Van Ullrich of New-York, one of the passengers who came out of the accident with nothing more than an injured hand, was the only passenger on the train that came to this city to-day. He made the following statement:

"I am traveling constantly for myself, and yesterday I was on my way to St. Louis. I had been to Salem to see my boy, who is there attending the Rev. J. H. Houghton's school. I left there yesterday. I had not been able to get any dinner, and just before the accident I went from the passenger coach in which I had been seated to the smoker. I had just nicely settled down with a cigar, when the car began to swerve and the seats flew about my head. In an instant almost the car was overturned, and a portion of the side was broken in. I was near the stove, and saw the coals fly out. I was afraid that the car would catch on fire, but as soon as the dust and smoke cleared away I saw that the fire had been put out by the snow which came into the car through the broken side. When the car began to rock I put out my hand to steady myself, and as the car went over I was injured about the fingers and wrist. I don't know how. As soon as I could I crawled out through the opening into the snow. As I looked back into the car I saw that a man was caught between the water closet and the stove. I shouted for help, and a farmer came to my assistance. He seemed unwilling at first to help me, but I told him that I would pay him if the company did not. By this time there were several men around and the poor fellow in the car was taken out. He was unconscious. The farmer had a sleigh with him and into it we placed the man. I afterward learned that it was Owens, the Western Union lineman, and he was carried with another wounded passenger to a farmhouse about a mile away.

Conductor Charles A. Frost says the train was running 25 miles an hour. After the crash he crawled out of the second car, in which he had been standing, and tore a board off a fence near by. With this he shoveled snow into the car where it had caught fire from the stove. Frost says that the car contained 25 passengers.

The New York Times, New York, NY 25 Jan 1888