Midvale, NJ Rear End Train Collision, July 1904
SEVENTEEN DEAD AND FORTY INJURED ON ERIE ROAD.
CROWDED SPECIAL BOUND FOR GREENWOOD LAKE TELESCOPED BY REGULAR TRAIN AND TWO CARS CRUSHED -- A WRONG DISPLAY OF SIGNALS.
Midvale, N.J., July 11. -- On their way to Greenwood Lake for a day's outing seventeen persons were killed and forty seriously injured by a rear end collision on the Erie road near this place. All of the killed and injured were members or friends of members of the First Plattdeutscher Club of Hoboken, which had chartered a special train of twelve cars to make the trip to the lake.
The special had stopped near the water tower at Midvale when the regular Greenwood Lake excursion train came dashing around a curve. No signal had been set to give warning that a train was ahead, and the engineer of the regular could not stop in time to avoid a collision. His engine crashed into the rear car of the special, lifting it on its fender and telescoping it upon the second car.
As the trains crashed part of the floor of the rear car of the special gave way, and as it telescoped into the rear car in front of it heads were mowed down as if by a scythe, bodies were mangled beyond recognition and men and women were pinned in the wreck so tightly that it required several hours' work to release them.
One of the saddest features of the accident was that most of the killed and injured were friends who had piled into the last two cars in order to be near one another during the trip. Most of the dead also lived within five blocks of one another in Hoboken, and the scene in and about the undertaker's establishment after the wreck resembled on a smaller scale the tragedies about the morgue after the Slocum disaster.
It was a merry crowd of picnickers which left Hoboken in the morning for their day's outing. The twelve cars which the club had chartered were packed to their capacity. There were three persons each in most of the seats, and men and women stood in the aisles. It was estimated that more than 800 persons were on the train.
All seemed in their gayest moods as the train passed Midvale and stopped at the tower to get an additional supply of water. There was singing and shouting, and the hilarity was at its height, when suddenly there came a crash. Men and women in the front cars were thrown to the floor, and instantly all realized that something had happened. The sound of gay voices ceased, and there was a moment of expectant silence.
Then came shrieks and groans of men and women pinned under the wreck.
As soon as those in the forward cars realized what had happened the men who had been expecting a day of healthful recreation organized themselves into a wrecking crew and for hours worked with picks, bars of iron or anything else they could lay hands on to rescue the injured and dying. In this they were aided by the passengers of the train whose engine had crashed into them, and all worked willingly at their grewsome task.
After the accident the engineer and fireman of the regular excursion train disappeared, and the officials of the company refused to tell where they had gone. It was generally agreed by those at the place of the wreck that the catastrophe was the result of the wrong display of signals.
Those killed in the accident and identified are:
HENRY OTTERSTEDT, Hoboken.
WILLIAM WEIDEMEYER, JR., Hoboken.
WILLIAM RENZ, New York City.
MRS. ANNA LEMKOHL, New York City.
AGNES LEMKOHL, child, New York City.
WILLIAM LANE, Hoboken.
HENRY BECKER, Hoboken.
WILLIAM ROHFING, Hoboken.
WILLIAM WINDERKNECHT, Hoboken.
GEORGE SCHEER, Hoboken.
HENRY KOCH, Hoboken.
ISADORE MANSER, Hoboken.
FRANK HOLNWEDDELL, child, Hoboken.
GEORGE McDERMOTT, Hoboken.
WILLIAM WISTOW, West Hoboken.
E. K. KELLY, Jersey City.
R. BATTERSON, young boy, supposed identification.
The injured in hospitals are:
JOHN STARR, bruised about body and possibly internally injured.
ALEXANDER FARRELL, contused wounds on arms and body.
FRANK HOLNWEDDELL, left foot crushed.
ANDREW HOLNWEDDELL, left leg broken.
F. CREASES, badly bruised about body.
JAMES McGRATH, bruised.
PETER J. SULLIVAN, both legs fractured, badly bruised about body.
JOHN WILLEY, body badly contused.
JOSEPH SOMERLAND, head and face cut.
MARTIN LANGE, body bruised.
All of Hoboken.
OTTO JOHNERT, New York City, contused wounds on body.
ADOLPH BLUHM, Newark, contused wounds on body.
MRS. ESTHER MANSER, New York City, suffers from shock.
ISADOR MANSOR, JR., severely bruised about body.
MISS BARBARA STELFER, New York City, legs crushed.
In addition to these, thirty-five others are known to have received injuries, but were able to return to their homes.
Daily Times New Brunswick New Jersey 1904-07-11