1841 - Horrible Accident on the Western Railroad
We are informed by the Springfield Republican and Boston Transcript, of the details of a terrible accident which occurred on Tuesday, on the Western Railroad, near Westfield, Mass. The Eastern and Western trains came in contact, from the fact that the train from the West was behind its time, and the other train went on, the conductor hoping to arrive at the next turn-out before meeting the other train. The baggage-cars of each train were behind, of course, bringing the passenger cars directly behind the locomotives and tenders. The two locomotives and two or three passenger cars of each train were smashed to a complete wreck. The passengers were jammed and tumbled together in the ruins in dreadful confusion.
We informed that eighteen or twenty have limbs broken; and many more are severely bruised and lacerated in various ways. MR. WARREN, the conductor of the train from the West, was so injured that he died the next morning. The engineer of that train escaped without much injury. MR. TAYLOR, the engineer of the Springfield train, is badly wounded. A young lady, niece to Maj. Whistler, is said to be dangerously hurt. COL. HARVEY CHAPIN is much bruised, but not dangerously, as is now hoped. The REV. S. ELLIOTT, an episcopal clergyman from South Carolina, and family were badly hurt. The ladies were not seriously hurt; but his two sons were wounded - one scratched and bruised, and the other had his leg broken shove the knee.
We notice in another account that a MR. BREWER, of Westfield, was among those badly injured. The accident appears to have resulted from a blundering disregard of orders, which, if followed, would have prevented the collision. There were about one hundred passengers in both trains, and rumor says that nearly half were more or less hurt. - Brother Jonathan.
Sunbury American and Shamokin Journal
October 16, 1841
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