Kipton, OH Train Collision, Apr 1891

Train Collision Wreckage Terrible Wreck



Cleveland, April 18. -- A frightful wreck occurred on the Lake Shore railroad at Kipton station, about forty miles west of Cleveland, this evening, in which six postal clerks and two engineers were killed. The fast mail, No. 14, bound east, collided with No. 21, Toledo express, just as the latter train was about to pull on a side track to let the fast mail pass. The fast mail was running at full speed, and the force of the collision was so great that both engines, three mail cars and one baggage car were completely wrecked. The following is a list of the dead:
EDWARD BROWN, engineer of No. 21, Toledo, O.
CHARLES TOPLIFF, engineer of No. 14, Toledo, O.
F. J. NUGENT, postal clerk, Toledo, O.
CHARLES HAMMIL, postal clerk, Elyria, Ohio.
F. F. CLEMENS, postal clerk, Cleveland, O.
JOHN J. BOWERFINE, postal clerk, Elyria, O.
JAMES McKINLEY, postal clerk, Conneout, O.
C. H. McDOWELL, postal clerk, Elyria, O.
None of the passenger cars left the track and none of the passengers received serious injuries.

Further Particulars.
It was the custom for these two trains to pass at Kipton, the Toledo express taking the side track for the fast mail, which generally went through Kipton without slackening speed. The Toledo express was a few minutes late this evening and had just come to a stop at the switch when the fast mail came in sight. There is scarcely any curve at the station, but on one side of the track was a line of freight cars and on the other the station, and these might have obstructed the vision of the engineer of the fast mail. He applied the air brakes when he saw a collision was inevitable, but the speed was not checked materially. The engine of the Toledo express was knocked squarely across the track and that of the fast mail reared in the air, resting on top of the other. The first and second mail cars were telescoped and smashed to kindling wood, and the third crashed into the first two and rolled over on the station platform, breaking the windows of the building. The passengers were thrown to the floors and badly shaken, but none were seriously injured. All but one of the dead were beyond human assistance as soon as the collision occurred. Bodies were all horribly crushed and mutilated, arms and legs being torn off, and corpses were almost beyond recognition. CHARLES TOPLIFF, the engineer of the fast mail, was found with his hand on the throttle, dead. His hands and face were so badly scalded that bleckened flesh dropped from his bones when his body was taken out. Fireman STEALY of the fast mail jumped from the train and died soon afterwards. The postal clerks had not a chance to escape, they were caged like rats and the telescoping cars crushed the life out of them without a moment's warning. The passengers who were on the fast mail arrived here at 10:30 tonight and brought the first authentic news of the wreck, there being no correspondents or other facilities for getting news from Tipton which is a mere hamlet. These passengers say cars and locomotives were piled in a heap higher than the station. It is difficult to locate the blame for the accident as both engineers are dead. It is said, however, that No. 21 was ordered to stop at Oberlin, but went on to Kipton, which is six miles further west, and had not sufficient time to make a side track.

Bismarck Daily Tribune North Dakota 1891-04-19


Thomas Thompson

Hi Patricia
I have not been able to find that name in relation to this accident as of yet ...

I've always been told that

I've always been told that my husbands great-grandfather was killed in this accident. Is there any record of Thomas M. Thompson being killed while working on one of the trains?

Engineer Bacon's watch.

I have a gold watch that his son John Bacon (civil engineer) used. I don't know if it is the same watch his dad had.


Emery Bacon's pocket watch.

I was looking for the drawing that was made for the inquest showing where the hands were stopped at 4:40ish to see what the maker's name was on the face but have not found it. I have the watch his son John used but am not sure whether it was his father's. I doubt it is. Emery's other son Worlin may have had it in his possession but he died in 1948 and his wife died in 1965. They had no children and I think the wife's relatives cleaned the widow's house out after her death.

Emory Bacon's pocket watch

Do you know what happened to your great grandfather's watch?
I'm writing a book and I'd like that watch to play a role in the story

Kipton, Ohio 4/18/91 Train Wreck.

The engineer on the #21 wasn't Edward Brown. It was Emory Eugene Bacon (my great-grandpa). He was survived by his wife Lydia (nee Baughman) and 2 sons: Worlin and John. I have a Daguerreotype of him with his brother taken 1870 or maybe a little after.