1886 - A TERRIBLE COLLISION ON THE WILMINGTON & NORTHWESTERN RAILROAD.
Wilmington, Del., January 10. - Friday night's snow storm caused the most serious block on the railroad track here that has occurred for years, suspending travel for hours. About 7:45 yesterday morning the Wilmington & Northwestern train, which leaves for Reading, Pa., at eight o'clock, collided with two shifting engines that had been sent out from the station with snow shovels to clear the track. Both engines were running rapidly, and the Wilmington & Northern train was also under a good head of steam. Opposite the Hart and Hollingsworth Company's tracks the engine and train came together with a crash. The sweeping engines drove the pilot engine of the train into the baggage-car, telescoping the car for one-third of its length. The rear end of the car was torn into fragments, the cab of the engine broken into pieces, the boiler fractured and the machinery twisted in all shapes. On account of the blinding snow the engineers of the approaching trains were not aware of the danger until the collision occurred. Superintendent McCAUSLAND, of the Wilmington & Northern Road, was on the train, but escaped with some bad bruises. Three men were killed outright, and another is expected to die. Immediately after the collision the passenger car took fire from the engine furnace and escaping steam added to the torture of the victims imprisoned under the broken timbers. The fire department hurried to the scene, and began playing on the burning timbers while others exerted themselves to get out the dead and wounded. It was nearly nine o'clock when the last body was gotten out. The engineer, fireman and one of the shifting crew were horribly crushed, mangled, scalded and burned.
The dead are so mangled as to be nearly unrecognizable. One was identified as ALBERT JONES, the engineer of the shifting crew.
Another of the dead bodies has been partically identified as that of GEORGE W. BRINTON, telegraph operator at the Wilmington & Northern tower.
ABE LAWLER, fireman of engine No. 1, a lad of seventeen years, is the most seriously injured, being frightfully burned and bruised. His left leg has been amputated and his recovery is doubtful.
JOHN CORRY, assistant yardmaster, suffered concussion of the brain. His recovery is regarded as barely possible.
Conductor SAMUEL McMULLEN, of the Philadelphis, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad and J. FLYNN received painful but not dangerous bruises.
The conditions of GEORGE BLACK, the Wilmington & Northern conductor, is growing worse, and fears are entertained of fatal results.
JAMES A. MELVIN'S injuries, previously reported, include a compound fracture of the right leg and are regarded as serious.
JOSEPH WIGGINS, fireman, GEO. E. STANLEY and several others received injuries of a slight nature.
Following is a correct list of the killed and injured:
ALBERT L. JONES, conductor.
GEORGE W. BRINTON, telegraph operator.
HARRY AHRENS, brakeman.
ABRAHAM LAWLER, fireman, burned and cut; injuries will prove fatal.
GEORGE BLACK, conductor, scalded and internally injured; can not recover.
JOHN GORRY, yardmaster, concussion of the brain; will die.
J. J. FLYNN, internally injured; condition critical.
SAMUEL McMULLEN, conductor, seriously bruised and burned.
JAMES A. MELVIN, train dispatcher; compound fracture of right leg.
ELWOOD COYLE, engineer; head cut and bruised.
GEORGE STANLEY and JOSEPH WIGGINS, slightly cut and bruised.
Alton Daily Telegraph
January 11, 1886
Visit Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Discover the people who lived there, the places they visited and the stories they shared.