Hodges, TN New Market Train Wreck, Sept 1904



One Hundred and Twenty-five Injured in Wreck.


Passenger Trains Crashed Together Near Hodges, Tenn.

Orders Were Not Followed-One of the Engineers Supposed to Have Been Asleep or Dead When Collision Came-Heartrending Scenes at the Wreck-Timber Driven Entirely Through One Woman's Body-Did Not Leave Track.

Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 24-Running on a roadbed in a high condition of maintenance, and having about them every safeguard known to modern railroading, two trains on the Southern Railway, carrying heavy lists of passengers, came together in a frightful head-on collision, near Hodges Tenn., to-day, killing 54 people and injuring 120, several of whom will probably die. This appalling loss of life and maiming of the living resulted apparently from the disregarding of orders given to the two trains to meet at a station which has for a long time been their regular meeting point. The plea of failure to see either the station or signals cannot be set up by the engineer of the west-bound train, were he alive to enter a plea of defense, as the accident happened in broad daylight, and according to the best information obtainable, he had the orders in a little frame in front of him as his engine rushed by Newmarket. Soon after it came full upon an east-bound passenger train making for New market, in compliance with instructions to meet the west-bound train which carried the sleepers from the East for Knoxville, Chattanooga, and other Southern cities.

The possibility exists that the ill-fated engineer may have been asleep, or that death had suddenly overtaken him before Newmarket was reached. But nothing is known, save that the orders were not obeyed. The trains were on time and not making over thirty-five miles an hour, yet the impact as they rounded a curve and came suddenly upon each other was frightful. Both engines and the greater portion of both trains were demolished, and why the orders were disregarded or misinterpreted probably will never be known, as the engineers of the two trains were crushed to death, their bodies remaining for hours under the wreckage of the locomotives.



R B Godwin

Miss Massengill, R B Godwin was also my great grandfather, his daughter Texie Godwin was my Grandmother. My sister and I were talking a while back, and wondering what the "B" in his name sttod for, as we can neither remember ever hearing. I suppose we must be kin to some degree? If you have any info you woul like to share please do.

thank you
Stan Turnmire
Maryville Tn

New market frain crash

,My great aunt , Lilly Green, was killed in the New Market crash. I found her name listed in the above article as Mrs._____ Green of Sylva, NC. My mama always said that Aunt Lilly was identified by the dress she was wearing. Her husband was sitting beside her and was injured (listed as serious) but not killed. He was on the roster as B.S. Green of Sylva, NC. He later remarried and had a family. He and Aunt Lilly had no children together. Aunt Lilly's remains were brought back here to Hayesville NC. where she grew up and buried in the family plot at Shady Grove Baptist Church.

Buddy Lowe
Hayesville, NC.

New Market Train Wteck

On my mothers family side, I lost my greatgrandfather, RB Godwin, in this train wreck. I previously commented on this.I also lost an ancestor from my fathers family side. My paternal grandmother lost her aunt in this wreck. The lady died about 12 months following the accident from terrible injuries. Her last name was Collier, I believe Kate was her first name, but not positive. She was from Talbott, TN.

my great aunt was 12 years

my great aunt was 12 years traveling with an elderly man as his helper back to knoxville from hot springs nc. tragic for such a young child to have to go through. upon my research i found out that she was badly injured but yet had to ride back to knoxville to knox general hospital amongst the dead where she later died at the hospital.

Great Grandfather was Victim

My great grandfather, John Richardson Plummer, was also a victim of this tragedy. He was on the way back from the St. Louis World's Fair with other businessmen from Lexington, North Carolina. His body was badly mangled, misidentified, and was sent to Chapel Hill, NC by mistake. According to my uncle (the late John W. Varner), John Plummer's son Dr. Lindsay Plummer made the trip to Chapel Hill where he identified his father by his wedding ring.

His youngest grandchildren never got to know their grandfather, but John's story and the story of his tragic death was passed down through the family.


This wreck is called "The New Market train crash" by local people. It happened near the Jefferson county community of New Market." Hodges" was simply a switch track near New Market.There is a memorial marker on the site of the crash. It is visable from S.R. 11 east AKA the Andrew Johnson highway.My grandmother was 9 years old at the time & retain vivid memories of the crash.

Train Wreck

My Great Grandfather, Frederick Gray Turner, postal clerk for the Railway Mail Service from 1900 - 1939 (Salisbury-Chattanooga run at that time) , was a postal clerk on one of the trains. He narrowly survived. His obituary read:

"On the fateful morning, Mr. Turner was riding in a mail car directly behind the coal tender of one of a Knoxville-bound train. The engine of an Asheville-bound train plowed deeply into the old-fashioned wooden mail coach, missing Mr. Turner and three other clerks by but a few feet. Their car somehow held together, but other wooden cars in the wreck were reduced to splintered debris. Bodies of wreck victims were strewn in every direction. Some were never identified. Mr. Turner escaped with a wrenched back... Mr. Turner offered the explanation that his guardian angel was looking after him..."

He survived three train disasters, this being the first.

A very yellowed newspaper clipping and photograph was on the wall of my grandfather's room for as long as I knew him. It was the New Market wreck that his father had survived. My great grandmother may have been pregnant with my grandfather at the time (b. 1905).

TN Train Wreck Hodges,

My grandmother lamented all of her life about losing her father in a TN train wreck. I have been searching for yrs trying to find out about
it. Today I found the answers to so many questions. My great-grandfather died in the Hodges, TN wreck in September, 1904. I had
known very little about it other than the year & state. His name was Melvin Gantt. He was born in 1845 in Cleveland County, NC.
He served in the Confederate Army while still a very young man. I was told that on this particular trip he attended a civil war reunion
in San Francisco & also stopped in St. Louis for the 1904 Worlds Fair. The accident occurred on his return trip to North Carolina.

My grandmother was 14 & never really got over losing her father. She married my grandfather the next year and lived a very good life
until her death at the age of 92.

I am very grateful to whomever is responsible for this invaluable information.

Thank you so very much.

R. S. Peeler
Staunton VA