Charlottesville, VA Train Derails, May 1903
"There were three colored women, a man and a boy in the second class car with me. None of them were hurt, though they might have been bruised like the brakeman, baggagemaster and myself. I am sore in the back and side from being thrown against the car seat. The baggagemaster's injury was about the same. The brakeman was about the worst hurt, but he came in with me. No, I did not work coming down; just came down dead head."
In answer to a question the conductor stated that there was a long curve at the place where the wreck occurred, but not a sharp one. He reiterated that he did not know how the wreck occurred. Some of the passengers were a little excited, but all escaped injury, except the traveling salesman, who was in the baggage car.
Captain Taylor after alighting and making a report, took a car from the station to his home, next to the corner of Twenty-eighth and Main Streets.
Here is the story of the wreck, telegraphed to The Times-Dispatch by its special correspondent at Charlottesville last night.
Chesapeake and Ohio passenger train, No. 16, east bound from Clifton Forge to Richmond, was wrecked just east of Charlottesville at about 4 o'clock this afternoon, with the following results:
Engineer THOMAS D. HALL, of Richmond; aged fifty-six, married; leaves wife and six daughters. Been on the road for nearly forty years.
Fireman LEWIS C. SNYDER, of Richmond; aged twenty-six; married; leaves wife and one child, at 621 North Tenth Street.
Brakeman EDWARD F. TAYLOR, Richmond, painfully bruised, but able to get about.
Conductor GEORGE W. TAYLOR, of Richmond, painfully bruised; came home last night.
Baggagemaster JOSEPH W. SMITH, Richmond, leg cut and otherwise painfully bruised.
E. D. FOX, of Richmond, traveling salesman for Stern & Co., leg cut and severely bruised.
The train left Charlottesville twenty minutes late, but was running at ordinary speed when near the Charlottesville Woollen Mills, a mile and a half east of the city, Engineer THOMAS D. HALL put on the emergency brakes to keep from running over a ten-year-old boy who was crossing the track. The engine left the tack, followed by the tender, becoming detached from the tender, and turning completely around, rolled over down a 4-foot embankment into a cottage garden. The combination baggage and express car jumped the track at the same point and were saved from going down the embankment by one end burrowing in the soft earth; the trucks of one end of the mail car left the track on the opposite side from the rest of the wreck. While the two passenger coaches were derailed, they remained on the road-bed. The dead engineer was found in the track, the engine had broken as it rolled down the embankment and the cab cushion and part of the cab window by his side.
It is conjectured that the engine rolled over him. Certainly he was horribly crushed. Fireman SNYDER was found some twenty feet from where the endine lodged, his head cut and his left leg and arm broken. He also suffered internal injuries.
In the baggage car, besides Baggagemaster JOSEPH W. SMITH, were Brakeman EDWARD TAYLOR and E. D. FOX, a traveling salesman. As the car left the track the baggageman grabbed the brakeman, and both were thrown from one end of the car to the other and pinned down beneath a pile of trunks. According to their story, they would have been killed had not MR. FOX extricated them from their perilous positions.
In the passenger coaches there was more fright than damage, although some of the ladies suffered severe nervous shocks. Notwithstanding this the conductor declares the behavior of the passengers as being remarkably self-controlled, considering the situation. None of them received injuries worth mentioning. Every physician in Charlottesville and those at the University were summoned, and most of them responded.
The fireman was taken to the University Hospital, but died as he was being removed from the ambulance. The other injured were cared for at the scene of the wreck. The remains of the engineer and fireman were conveyed to Perley and Sons' undertaking establishment, and will be forwarded tomorrow to their homes in Richmond.
Engineer HALL leaves a wife and several children. Fireman SNYDER a wife and one child.
The boy who was the unintentional cause of this horrible affair was struck on the head by lumps of coal and painfully but not dangerously hurt. The engine is completely wrecked and the baggage and mail cars partly so. The track is torn up for several hundred feet.
Times-Dispatch Richmond Virginia 1903-05-27