Fifield, WI Passenger Train Accident, Dec 1887




Passenger train No. 42, which leaves Ashland at 7:25 in the evening, met with a terrible accident. When between Coolidge and Fifield the train was derailed just after rounding a curve and while under full speed. The Pullman sleeper, one first- class coach and the smoker all left the track and rolled down the embankment. In the twinkling of an eye the passengers were thrown in all directions. Those in the sleeper were in some cases thrown across the car the berths being smashed to pieces. C. M. HAMILTON of Ashland, who was in the sleeper, tells us the jar came, the car rolled down, than all was over. He landed out of his berth, but was not injured. He looked around but could see no way of escape. Some were screaming for help. The lamps tipped over and commenced to blaze, but were extinguished. Someone came with a light and he crawled out and assisted others. Opposite him K.K. KENNAN of Milwaukee, had a berth, but fortunately he was in the smoker or he would have been killed. The passengers got out in all shapes. Some were in the snow with nothing on but their night clothes -- several were imprisoned between the seats and had to be helped out, while others, including a man his wife and three children, escaped without a scratch. G. KARPE of Los Angeles, Cal., was in the smoking department of the sleeper with several others, all of whom escaped without injury. One man who was seated in the first-class coach, who was sick and got on at Glidden, fell through the window when the car went over and was killed. Others may be underneath the car, as when the passengers left the car was still on its side. The train was officered as follows: J. H. GREENFIELD conductor; FRANK CALKINS, engineer; S. C. BERSIE, brakeman; H. B. GRISWOLD, baggageman. Conductor GREENFIELD was going through the car and as it went over, in some way one of his legs went through the window and he had to be helped out. W. B. WOLFORD, train master of Northern division, was aboard but escaped with a slight injury. The passengers and the wounded were placed in the baggage car and taken to Phillips where nearly all those injured were left for treatment.

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