Gladbrook, IA Train Wreck, Mar 1910 - Horrifying Disaster

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GREWSOME [Sic] Count Shows 46 Killed

Disaster to Rock Island Train Most Horrifying in History of Iowa Railroads

Marshalltown, Ia., March 22. -- The total number of dead in the wreck of the Rock Island double header at Green Mountain yesterday is now forty-six, the list having been swelled today by the death of Miss Bessie Service, of Washington, Ia., Lizzie Anderson of Vinton, and M. B. Kennedy, of Burlington, at the hospital here.

Many of the wreck victims, maimed and injured, who are now in the hospitals, will not live. Hopes for the lives of at least a score or more are despaired of the work of identifying the victims is slowly progressing. Before night the list of dead will be increased many more.

The hospitals are crowded to overflowing with the injured and surgeons of Marshalltown and surrounding cities labored all night long in an effort to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunates, may of whom have only slight chances for recovery.

The only plausible cause of the wreck yet conceived is that it was due to the fact that both engines drawing the passenger trains were backing, pushing their light tenders in front of them. The tender of the locomotive, it is said, is too light to hold the heavy piece of machinery on the track when a high rate of speed is being made.

Railroad officials refuse to talk however, and the public must wait for an examination before an official cause is given. instead of the engines running along on the ties after they left the track, they buried themselves deep in the high banks of the cut, causing the heavy sleepers to crush through the telescope the day coaches, killing or injuring every soul they contained.

Every undertaker's establishment here is a morgue, the hospitals are running over with the injured and incoming trains are bringing hundreds of people looking for their loved ones. Early this morning forty-two of the dead had been identified. They are:

LOREN ALLSCHLAGER, Ogden, Ia.

A.P. ADAMS, Wilmar, Minn., identification incomplete

J. BAMBRIDGE, Toronto, Ont.

LOUIE BIEBUCK, Muscatine, Ia.

THOMAS G. BETTS, traveling man, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

GEORGE P. BUNT, Waterloo, Ia.

ALFRED X. BROWN, Waterloo, Ia.

MRS. ALFRED X. BROWN, Waterloo, Ia.

FRED COLTON, Washington, Ia.

R. E. CHARTER, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

MRS. WALTER DAVIS, Waterloo, Ia.

C. G. EVES, West Branch, Ia.

W. W. EGGERS, Waterloo, Ia.

F.F. FISHER, West Branch, Ia.

WILLIAM FLECK, Vinton, Ia.

DAVID FAUST, Dalhart, Tex, partial identification

J. S. GOODNOUGH, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

MAY HOFFMAN, Waterloo, Ia.

N. C. HEACOCK, West Liberty, Ia.

FRANK HEINZ or HURTZ, Muscatine, Ia.

CAESAR C. HOFF, Burlington, Ia.

DR. LEWIS, woman physician, Haley Junction, Ia.

F. D. LYMAN, Waterloo, Ia.

MRS. B. G. LYMAN, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

EARL T. MAINE, Williamsfield, Ia.

J. NAUHOLZ, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

MRS. PEATS, Gladbrook, Ia.

BESSIE PURVIS, Washington, Ia.

ARCHIE PRICE, colored, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

MILTON PARRISH, Cedarville, Mo.

ANTHONY PHILLIPS, Waterloo, Ia.

H. L. PENNINGTON, Galesburg, Ia.

L. W. PARRISH, Cedar Falls, Ia.

R. B. ROBINSON, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

GEORGE ROSS, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

ROBERT L. TANGEN, Northwood, Ia.

E. M. WORTHINGTON, address unknown.

WILLIAM WARD, West Branch, Ia.

ANDREW J. WHITE, colored St. Paul, Minn.

MISS JENNIE YOUNG, Vinton, Ia.

A. X. BROWN, wife and two daughters, of Waterloo, Ia.

BESSIE SERVICE of Washington, Ia.

M. B. KENNEDY, of Burlington, Ia.

Railroad officials make no statement in regard to the cause of the wreck, but the state board of railroad commissioners will make a complete investigation. The train of eight coaches was being pulled by two engines, both running at high speed. This may be the cause of the wreck, for the tender of the first engine jumped the track, and stopped suddenly when it hit the embankment beside the cut. The second engine and train followed, and the Pullmans in the rear drove the light day coaches together like cardboard against the engines in front. All the people in the first car were killed, and nearly all the men and women in the second car were killed or wounded. There was no time to jump - it all happened in an instant. No one was killed in the Pullmans.

It was not until late yesterday that the names of the injured were secured for the rescuers, hundreds of them from the surrounding county, gave their first attention to the injured. A special relief train carried the injured from the wreck here and then returned for the dead. Rarely has there been a wreck where the bodies were so badly mangled and the work of identification so difficult as a consequence.

Nurses from Des Moines hospitals were brought here on a special train to care for the injured. Many of the injured are now in private homes, there being not sufficient room to care for them in St. Thomas hospital here, but as nearly all are residents of Iowa they will be taken home as soon as they can be moved.

The passengers in the two smashed cars were terribly mangled. One man's head was cut off cleanly above the eyes; another's body was cut in two. A third man was driven head first into a window. The glass was broken and was cutting him where his head rested on the sill. He pleaded with survivors to kill him and one of them broke the glass under his cheek. His lower jaw, cut cleanly away, fell to the ground, and the man died. Mae Hoffman, of Waterloo, known as "The most beautiful woman in Iowa" was in the day coach. She was killed, her body crushed into a shapeless mass.

The work of the rescue was supervised by Dr. John W. Devry, of Chicago, who was a passenger on the ill-fated train and was himself injured badly. He organized the survivors and they dragged the dead and injured from the wreckage an laid them in long rows in an adjoining field.

When Coroner Jay and nurses reached Marshalltown three hours after the wreck, the coroner started in an ambulance for the scene. As the ambulance was whirling around a corner Dr. Jay was thrown out upon his back. He was picked up unconscious, his back broken.

Lincoln Evening News, Lincoln, NE, 22 Mar 1910