Suffolk, VA Railroad Accident, Aug 1837

Suffolk VA First train wreck 8-11-1837.jpg

Baltimore, August 14.

Passengers in the steamboat which arrived on Saturday from Norfolk bring the intelligence of a most melancholy accident which occurred on the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad on Friday morning last.
The particulars, as communicated by an eye-witness to the Patriot, are as follows:
A company, consisting of about 150 ladies and gentlemen, from the counties of Isle of Wight, Nansemond and Southampton, came down on the Railroad on Thursday, the 10th inst., with the view of visiting Portsmouth, Norfolk, Fortress Monroe, and returning the next day -- on their return, at the time and place above mentioned, they met a locomotive and train of burden cars, and horrible to relate, the two ran against each other while going at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour.
Three young ladies sitting together on the front seat of the second car were killed, neither living longer than fifteen minutes; another lady, an infant and a negro girl were so much injured, that they died before 3 o'clock, and ten or fifteen ladies and gentlemen besides, sustained injury of one kind or other, very likely to prove fatal to four or five of them. The confusion attending an accident were so many were present, the mangled corpses laid on the side of the road, the moans of the wounded and weeping and wailing of relatives, presented a spectacle which defies description. Every possible attention was paid the sufferers by the physicians and hospitable citizens of Suffolk, but the situation where it happened and the excessive heat of the day, added greatly to the intensity of their sufferings.
The names of those killed immediately were:

The Directors of the Company, upon hearing of the disaster, proceeded with an engine forthwith to the house of Mr. Goodwin, accompanied by Drs. Schoolfield, Batt, Watts and Collins, of Portsmouth, and Dr. Willamson, Surgeon of the U.S. Navy Hospital, who promptly volunteered his valuable assistance on the occasion, and reached there about dark. Immediate and indefatigable attention, however, had been given to the wounds of the sufferers in the interim by Drs. Webb, Riddick and Cohooas of Suffolk and Dr. Purdie, of Smithfield.

Another Fatal Accident.
When the Directors and Physicians left the engine, it returned to Suffolk for wood and for water, propelling before it the coach in which they had come up. The night was dark, and a heavy rain falling, so that no look out could be kept on the road.

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