Manor Station, PA Railroad Collision, Dec 1869



We gather from the Pittsburg Commercial of yesterday the latest particulars of the disaster on the Pennsylvania Railroad, reported by telegraph:

A terrible accident occurred at Manor Station on the Pennsylvania Railroad, about seventy-five miles from the city, at fifteen minutes past twelve o'clock Monday night, resulting in the almost total wrecking of the mail train, and a portion of the fast freight train No. 4, the killing of one person and the injuring of several others, one mortally.

The Accident.
It seems that the mail train, consisting of three passenger coaches, one smoking and two baggage or express cars, drawn by engine No. 324, THOMAS WILSON, Engineer, and H. C. NICHOLS, Conductor, arrived at Manor Station a few minutes behind time. When the train came to be started, it was found that the chains of the patent brake had fouled, and the officers of the train got off and went beneath the cars for the purpose of ascertaining what was wrong and repairing the defect. While thus engaged they observed the fast train, engine No. 75, Engineer JOHN DORAN and Conductor ALEXANDER WYNNE, turning the curve just beyond Manor Station. It was coming at a full rate of speed, and the officers of the mail train, knowing that a collision was inevitable, had barely time to escape from under the cars when the crash came.

Chopping A Passenger Out Of The Wreck.
The smoking car, which was next to the baggage car, was reduced to a chaotic mass of broken timbers, and the officers of the train, on repairing thither, discovered a man wedged in the debris. He was caught between the smoking car and the baggage car, suspended by one ankle, and his head hanging downward. He has been sitting in the smoking car when the collision occurred. As soon as he was discovered, axes and saws were procured, and men set to work to extricate him. This was done with great difficulty, persons having to hold the unfortunate man, while every blow on the timbers pressing his leg caused him to start with pain. Finally he was released, after over an hours work, and carried to the station-house, where Dr. J. H. Dickson, of this city, who, with his family, was a passenger on the train, attended him. The name of the injured man was ascertained to be HENRY MAHAN, and he was found to have sustained severe internal injuries, which will probably prove fatal. He was a peddler by occupation, and had only been in this country about a year. He is an Irishman, and has no relatives in this country. He was on his way to Pittsburg to purchase goods, and has for some time past been doing business in Newark, N.J. Dr. Dickson gave his opinion that MAHAN could not live.

Dead Body Found In The Wreck.
At this time it was thought that none had been killed and that the injured and all been found; but when the wreck train reached the scene of the accident, and the work of removing the debris of the wrecked freight cars was commenced, the dead body of BENJAMIN SANDSBERRY, brakeman on the freight train, was found. He was lying between two freight cars, and was fearfully crushed. His remains were removed to a house near by, and subsequently brought to the city. The deceased was a young man, about twenty-five years of age. He had been about two years married, and resided in Lawrenceville.

The Cause Of The Collision.
It is stated that the officers of the mail train, not apprehending any danger, had sent no one back to signal the freight, and the engineer of the latter, not being aware of the detention of the mail, came up to the curve at the usual rate of speed, and when he discovered the danger it was then too late to avert it. The officers of the company will investigate these matters fully.

Some of the incidents of the wreck were remarkable. One man who, with his wife and seven children, occupied seats in the rear car, had just left his seat when the wreck occurred. As soon as he could get back, he found his wife and six children amid the utter wreck unharmed. The eldest daughter had jumped out of a window and had one of her fingers slightly cut with the broken glass, that was all. A young mother threw her babe out of the window, and it was saved from broken homes by being caught by a gentleman outside. Many of the escapes were wonderfully narrow.

Official List Of The Casualties.
J. McCreighton, Esq., general agent, last night furnished us with the following official list of the casualties:
Employees - D. SANDSBERRY, freight brakeman, Lawrenceville, killed; ALEX. WYNNE, freight conductor, Concussion, slightly; JOHN DORAN, freight engineer, Wilmore, severely injured about the head and face; SAMUEL FELTON, passenger brakeman, slightly injured.
Passengers - WILLIAM EUGEMAN, Sunbury, Pa., slight bruises on face and wrist cut; A. ROGERS, Ohio, hand cut and back injured; ISIAH S. GUSSIE, Sunbury, Pa., leg slightly injured; N. KENNEDY, Middlebury, Pa., arm slightly injured; MRS. McGill, Irwin's Station, ankle sprained.

The Evening Telegraph Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1869-12-09