Kingman, ME Train Wreck, Feb 1889

A dispatch from C. H. Hawthorne, American Express messenger on the train, says:

"Serious accident to the train. Mail, baggage, Pullman, and second-class cars all burned up. I saved my safe and contents and a portion of the lighter freight. All the heavy freight was burned up, including all or the baggage."

A dispatch from the Western Union office at Kingman says: "The mail train ran on to the siding at Boyd's Mill this morning, striking against some cars with such force as to throw the engine, baggage, mail, and smoking cars from the rails, and they immediately took fire. Henry Goodwin, fireman, of Bangor; William D. Mudgett, mail clerk, of Dexter, and John Campbell, also a mail clerk, of St. John, perished in the wreck. Julius Angell, engineer, and C. Palmer, of Bangor, mail clerk, were injured, the former very seriously. The cause of the accident is unknown at present."

At a late hour it has been learned that at the place of the accident there was a switch leading to a side track, the latter leaving the main line at a sharp curve. The switch was open and as the thermometer was 10º below zero the engineer was running with closed window, and this fact, coupled with another fact that a heavy white frost hung over the land, prevented him from seeing the danger. On the curve, a distance of 200 feet, there stood a box car, and into this the train plunged. Just previous to this the train swept down all the telegraph poles which support the Atlantic cable wires and many others, and after striking the car it left the rails, the first four cars piling on to the locomotive, and immediately taking fire.

In all respects the train was a model one and all the men engaged in running it were trustworthy. The place of the accident is remote from any settlement, telegraph service meagre, and as the wires are in the hands of the railroad people all the facts will not be learned until to-morrow.

The New York Times, New York, NY 24 Feb 1899

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ROASTED IN THE WRECK.

A Train Derailed in Maine, Four Cars Being Quickly Consumed.

Three Men Killed and Cremated---No Passengers Seriously Injured.

RAILWAY HORROR.

BANGOR, Me., Feb. 23.----A serious accident occurred to the morning train from Bangor to St. John, near Boyd's Mills, two miles east of Kingmant[sic] at 10 a. m.

WILLIAM D. MUDGETT, railway postal clerk; JOHN CAMPBELL ENGLISH, mail clerk, and HARRY GOODMAN, fireman, were killed and, it is reported, burned in the wreck.

J. Angell, the engineer, is seriously injured.

The cars were heated with Sewall heaters, but caught fire from the locomotive immediately after leaving the track, and the mail, baggage, and parlor cars were burned, together with the express, mail matter and baggage. The Maine Central people are doing everything possible for the injured passengers.

Mail Clerk Caleb Palmer, of Bangor, arrived on the evening train from St. John. He was on the mail car in the railroad accident, and received some severe bruises. He tells

THE STORY OF THE ACCIDENT

as follows: When the train reached Boyd's Mill, the scene of the accident, he was sitting on a table in the front of the car. M. C. Mudgett of Dexter, chief clerk, was near him, with his feet on the stove, and John Campbell, a clerk, was on the table. When the shock came, the cars went over in a heap, rolling over several times. The train consisted of an engine, mail car, baggage car, Pullman, smoker, and three passenger cars. The first five left the track, but the other three kept on running upon a side track. The mail car, baggage, Pullman and smoker caught fire like a flash, being entirely consumed within fifteen minutes. The train had been running at full speed, and a misplaced switch caused the derailment. PALMER, MUDGETT and CAMPBELL were held like a vise by the timbers of the shattered car, the former with part of a letter rack over his legs, and Mudgett under the stove. Campbell's back was broken. The dense smoke from the burning cars and steam from the engine boiler hung over the mail car. All shouted for help; Mudgett cried to Palmer that he was being burned, and bade him good-by. Palmer thrust one arm up through an opening, and was seen by Conductor Chase, who attempted to pull him out, but was unable to do so. Three others joined him, and finally succeeded in removing him in a bruised condition. They were unable to reach Mudgett and Campbell before they burned to death. Henry Goodwin, fireman, was killed, and Julius Angell, engineer, was cut severely, but none of the passengers were hurt. The injured were taken to the Kingman House, in Kingman, where their wants were attended to. All cars were equipped with Sewall heaters, but the fire caught from the stove used in the mail car. The main track is but little damaged, and a construction crew, which arrived about 5 p. m., cleared it of debris.

The Sunday Inter Ocean, Chicago, IL 24 Feb 1889

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BURNED ALIVE IN THE WRECK.

Terrible Accident on a Railroad in Maine Involving the Loss of Three Lives.

BANGOR, Me., Feb. 24.---The most serious railroad accident that has been known in this state for many years occurred at Boyd's Mills, two miles east of Kingman, yesterday. The train consisted of an engine, baggage, mail, express and Pullman and four passenger cars, including a second-class car, under charge of Conductor Chase. A misplaced switch is assigned as the cause of the accident. The engine was wrecked and the cars were piled in confusion upon it. The train was equipment with the Sewall heater, but the debris took fire from the locomotive and was soon in flames. HENRY GOODWIN, fireman, of Bangor, WILLIAM D. MUDGETT, mail clerk, Dexter, and JOHN CAMPBELL, also a mail clerk, of St. John, perished in the wreck. Julius Angell, engineer, and C. Palmer, of Bangor, mail clerk, wre the injured, the former very seriously.

At the place of the accident there was a switch leading to a side track, the latter leaving the main line at a sharp curve. The switch was open, and as the thermometer was 10º below zero the engineer was running with closed window, and this fact, coupled with another fact that a heavy white frost hung over the land, prevented him from seeing the danger. On the curve, a distance of 200 feet, there stood a box car, and into this the train plunged.

Pitiable Farewells.

The scene at the wreck was a pitiable one. Mail Clerk MUDGETT was standing by the stove when the accident occurred. The mail car was piled up on the wrecked engine and all three men were pinned down. CAMPBELL'S back was broken. Caleb Palmer said to MUDGETT; "How are you, Billy?" "I am burning." "Well, I have got to go with you," said Palmer; "good bye." Then the wreckers came and brakemen with axes cut Palmer out. Conductor Chase got hold of MUDGETT's hand, but was driven back by the fire, MUDGETT said: "I've got to go Cale." Palmer answered: "I know it, Billy. I would save you if I could. God bless you. Good-bye." "Good bye, Cale," came the answer, and then the fire stopped everything else. CAMPBELL said good-bye to Palmer, but his back was broken and he said nothing further. GOODWIN was burned beneath the engine. Angell, the engineer, was badly cut on the ear and head and sustained general bruises.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 25 Feb 1889