Aspen, CO Train Wreck, Aug 1889

Serious Railway Accident.

MICHAEL GREEN was killed and JOHN ORT severely wounded in a smash-up on the Midland railroad about 6:30 o'clock Tuesday a.m. The accident occcurred[sic] to the freight train which left Aspen at 4:30 o'clock in the morning, and at a point about 16 miles from here. The dead man and his wounded companion were brought into town about 2:45 this afternoon.

As near as can be ascertained an irrigating ditch, which was near the road at the point mentioned, overflowed and broke loose sometime in the night, and washed loose some of the track. The freight train, in which were twenty-two loaded cars, was running along at a fair rate of speed, and no thought of danger was felt until the cars struck the washed out place, when the first car went end up and the others piled on top of it, smashing six of seven of them up into kindling. The engine had gone in safety over the bad spot and the engineer and fireman received no injuries.

GREEN and ORT were in a car loaded with ore, and were beating their way one the train.

ORT stated to a reporter for this paper that as he felt the collision he tried to jump and that is the last he know for some time. He was badly cut on the scalp and nose and when brought to the city was in a dazed sort of condition.

GREEN'S body was found with bits of wood from the car covering it, and a big beam on the head. The head was somewhat crushed it and death must have been instant. The deceased was about twenty-two years of age and has a father living at Plymuth [sic], Luzerne county, Pennsylvania.

Freight cars are strewn along the track at the scene of the accident for a distance of seventy-five yards.

It will take some time to clear the wreck and put the track in condition where torn up.

The spot where the train was wrecked is on a down grade along the side of a hill. The track is about fifteen feet above the river. Three of the cars loaded with ore were shot into the bed of the river and are there now, badly broken up and their contents spilled in the river.

The body was placed on a truck at the depot, covered with canvass. The body is swolled[sic] somewhat and gives off a decaying odor. A large number of people viewed the remains during the afternoon.

Coroner TURLEY stated to a reporter for this paper that the county refuses to bury the body, the officials saying that the railroads had brought the man in, and they should bury him. What disposal will be made of the remains is not known.

The wounded man, JOHN ORT, was taken to DR. ROBINSON'S office. On examination it was found that he had received a cut on the scalp, reaching into the bone and fully six inches long. The doctor washed the wound and sewed it up. The cut on the nose is not a very bad one.

ORT stated to the reporter that he and GREEN had been in the city since Thursday last, having walked the entire distance from Crested Butte where they had been looking for work. They had gone to Crested Butte from Pueblo. Both men were penniless at the time of their arrival in Aspen.

ORT, now is without a cent and in a serious condition. He has no place to lay his head and nothing to by food or medicine. But for the kindness of DR. ROBINSON in dressing his would have suffered much more. He should be taken care of by some one and that quickly, else he may die from sheer want and inattention.

Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1889-08-24

Search for more information on this disaster and other train wrecks, fires, accidents, etc. in historical newspapers in the Newspaper Archive. You just might find your ancestors in old newspaper articles. Search for your ancestors among the billions of names at ancestry.com Find death records, census images, immigration lists and genealogy other databases for your surnames. Use this Free trial to search for your ancestors. Start Your Family Tree It's FREE and easy. Start with yourself, your parents, grandparents and you're on your way to building your family history! Get Started Now and build your family tree at ancestry.com. It's Free!