McKeever, NY Two Express Trains In Head-On Collision, May 1903



Several Persons Killed and Many Injured -- Accident from Head-on Collision Between Two Express Trains.

By reason of a misconception or disregard of orders, there was a head-on collision between two passenger trains on the Mohawk & Malone road, about three miles north of McKeever Saturday afternoon at 3:15.
As a result three railroad men are dead, and quite a number or railroad men and passengers are injured, some seriously. The accident is one of the most serious that has occurred on railroads in this vicinity for years. Where the responsibility for it belongs will be determined by the coroner's inquest. Report places it on those in charge of the south bound train, but the conductor and engineer decline to make any statement in regard to the matter at present. The accident will no doubt be fully investigated.
The Trains.
The trains which collided were No. 651, known as the Adirondack express, which left Utica at 1:05 P. M., north bound, and the south bound train, No. 650, due in Utica, at 4:30 P. M. Train No. 651 was made up of four freight cars, one palace car and three passenger coaches. THose in charge were: Conductor, FRANK H. FOULKES; engineer, W. R. PLATE; fireman, JAMES McCAFFREY; trainmen, E. C. LLOYD and G. R. SMITH; baggageman, M. S. THORN; newsboy, CHARLES WHEELOCK.
The south bound train was in charge of JOHN O'CONNOR, conductor; EDWARD J. NEVILLE, engineer; WILLARD B. YERDON, fireman; ALBERT E. SWEEZEY, baggagemaster; FRANK MOREY and WALTER JORDAN, trainmen; FRANK BEST, mail clerk; JOHN T. GLENN, newsboy; THOMAS WALLACE, express messenger. Most of these employes are from Utica.
The Orders.
The north bound train had orders to run to Nelson Lake, where it would pass the south bound train. At Fulton Chain the south bound train had orders to pass the first section of the south bound train at Nelson Lake, and the second section at McKeever. The second section was simply a pony engine carrying Trainmaster W. J. FRIPP. It is said there were two separate orders received by the south bound train at Fulton Chain, one in regard to passing section 1, and the other in regard to passing section 2. The conductor had the same orders. The south bound train did not stop at the siding at Nelson Lake, but came on down the road. There are various theories as to why it did so. Some say the engineer believed the north bound train was to be passed at McKeever or misconceived the meaning of the order. The speed of the north bound train is said by some to have been but twelve miles an hour, while others place is at 40 miles. The place where the collision took place is said to be from half a mile to a mile south of the Nelson Lake siding. It is a sharp curve and in a rock cut with quite a rise on one side. One story is to the effect that when Conductor O'CONNOR noticed that his train had passed the switch at Nelson Lake, he at once pulled the bell rope to signal the engineer to stop, but the signal failed to work. The conductor then applied the emergency brake, but it ws too late to prevent the collision. Others say that the approach of the north bound train was first noticed by Engineer NEVILLE, who ast once applied the emergency brake and then told his fireman to jump and then jumped himself.
A Terrible Crash.
The two engines came together with great force; causing a terrible crash. The engines were wrecked and the forward cars in each train wre telescoped. There were but two wheels off the track in either train, although most of the cars were thrown from the tracks. The greatest injury to persons was done in the smoking car of the south bound train, ahead of which was an empty Pullman car. Most of the coaches on this train were back of the smoker. The fact that the accident occurred on a sharp curve is said to have been fortunate, for the passengers in the rear cars on the southbound train, although badly shaken up, were not injured nearly as much as those in the smoker.
The Killed.
FRANK H. FOULKES, 40 Spring street, Utica, aged 28, conductor of the north bound train.
WILLIAM B. YERDON, 81 Spring street, Utica, aged 38, fireman on the south bound train.
JOHN T. GLYNN, 110 Taylor avenue, Utica, aged 29, Union News Company agent on the south-bound train.
Seriously Injured.
At St. Luke's Hospital --
ALBERT E. SWEEKEY, of 82 Cooper street, punctured wound in left thigh; will recover.
M. S. THORN, fracture of left leg below the knee, both bones broken.
RICHARD P. VROOMAN, of British Columbia, a passenger en route to Brooklyn; badly bruised leg.
JAMES W. ELLIOTT, of 71 Walnut street, Buffalo, a passenger, right foot crushed so that is had to be amputated. Scalp wound two or three inches long.
At Faxton Hospital --
WINSLOW R. PLATO, of 13 Cooper street, aged 46, considerably bruised and shocked, but no bones broken and no evidence of internal injury.
WILLIAM MARTLOCK, Herkimer, comminuted fracture of right leg, just above the ankle, a number of punctured wounds, and injury to the large glands; injuries quite serious.
THOMAS A. MURNAN, Herkimer, injury to one knee and side; pretty well bruised, but no bones broken.
EDWARD J. NEVILLE, had a deep cut under his chin and was otherwise bruised. His injuries are not severe and he was able to go home yesterday. He lives on Watson place.
The injured at St. Luke's Hospital are cared for by DR. F. H. PECK, while those at Faxton are under the charge of DR. D. H. KINLOCH, who was assisted by DR. F. W. SMITH.
Others Injured.
P. DISMORE, a train hand, who lives at 108 Water street, has a contusion on the left side of the chest, contusions on both knees, his nose and back of his head. He is in bed, but quite comfortable.
BERT BRYANT, 61 Steuben street, a passenger, contused wounds on both hands and back sprained; not serious. DR. F. W. SMITH attends DISMORE and BRYANT.
JAMES R. NONES, mail clerk of Malone, was taken to that place. He has a compound fracture of the leg and a broken nose.
Others who sustained injuries more or less severe were:
W. E. BEVANS, St. Johnsville, passenger, four ribs and collar bone broken, left leg bruised.
E. ARGERSINGER, St. Johnsville, left hand injured and scalp bruised.
ANDREW SEAMONS, St. Johnsville, passenger, head cut and left leg injured.
RAY CUNNINGHAM, St. Johnsville, slight.
GEORGE STOKER, Canajoharie, passenger, left leg, back and head bruised.
P. FREEHOLD, Fort Plain, slightly.
T. B. MOREY, Utica, trainman, head and legs cut and bruised.
THOMAS WALLACE, Utica, express messenger, arms, head and leg bruised.
WALTER JORDAN, Utica, passenger, neck injured and finger cut.
MRS. S. T. BETTS and daughter MARGUERITE, Syracuse, minor injuries.
JOHN BEST, Malone, mail clerk, side and body cut; was able to be out yesterday.
J. W. WICKS, Syracuse, knee crushed.
MRS. J. W. WICKS, chest and side bruised.
W. J. SAUNDERS, Dickinson Center, passenger, leg and foot hurt.
RICHARD RILEY, Frankfort, passenger, slight injuries.
D. E. JOYNT, Utica, passenger, abrasion of right hand.
The injured were all doing as well as could be expected yesterday afternoon.

Lowville Journal & Republican New York 1903-05-14