Far Rockaway, NY Passenger Trains Collide, July 1875

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

FATAL DISASTER ON THE SOUTH SIDE RAILROAD -- SLAUGHTERED.

SEVEN LIVES LOST -- CRIMINAL CARELESSNESS THE CAUSE -- FIVE HUNDRED PERSONS PUT IN JEOPARDY -- THE SCENE OF THE DISASTER VISITED THIS MORNING BY EAGLE REPORTERS -- HOW THE COLLISION OCCURRED -- AN EFFORT TO CONCEAL RESPONSIBILITY -- ALL THE MOUTHS OF THE COMPANY'S SERVANTS CLOSED, ETC.

At ten minutes past two yesterday afternoon the 12:30 P.M. train of Williamsburgh came into collision with the 1:58 p.m. train from Rockaway Beach, at a thickly wooded, single track curve a few hundred yards from the Far Rockaway depot. The Williamsburgh train was slowing up at fourteen miles an hour, and the other train was not going at more than five or six miles an hour. When the trains became visible to the respective engineers round the opposite entrances of the curve it was too late to avoid a collision. The two trains dashed into each other with great force. Both locomotives were badly wrecked, as was the smoking car of the down train. The forward truck of the adjoining passenger car was thrown off the track, and the baggage car of the up train was badly smashed. Its occupants, HENRY HOLDRIDGE, the conductor, and H. C. POPPENHUSEN, President of the road, were severely injured.
The scene of confusion that followed was very great. Men, women and children screamed, and rushed frantically for the doors and windows. Women fainted, and men ran about, shouting for their wives and children. Villagers from Rockaway and a few of the more composed passengers set to work to extricate the dead and wounded from the wreck. JESSE HEBBARD, the conductor of the down train, was found lying under the smoking car, dead and terribly mangled. JOHN FINN, the fireman, lay near by, also dead. An unknown brakeman was killed at his post, while responding, it is said, to
"down brakes."
JOHN PFEIFER, varnisherm if 231 North Seventh Street, E.D., who was in the smoking car, was instantly killed.
MR. BRUNO THURMER, watchmaker, of 102, and PHILIP HARTMAN, cigar dealer, of 44 1/2 Broadway, E. D., who were seated with their wives and children in the front part of the first passenger car, were crushed to death in a moment.
Following is a full list of the killed and injured:
Killed:
BRUNO THURMER, watchmaker, of No. 102 Broadway, Williamsburgh.
JOHN PFEIFER, varnisher, of No. 231 North Seventh Street, Williamsburgh.
JESSE HEBBARB, of Flushing, conductor of the train going to Rockaway.
WILLIAM H. GOLD, of Rockaway.
WILLIAM BRADY, of No. 93 Madison Street, New York.
JOHN ELLERS, real estate agent, Brooklyn.
MR. HARTMAN, cigar dealer, No. 40 1/2 Broadway, Williamsburgh.
WILLIAM FLYNN, brakeman, of Oyster Bay, L. I.
M. KOHOE, No. 71 Chambers Street, New York.
Two men, at present unknown.
Wounded:
THOMAS LEWIS, of No. 50 Henry Street, New York, wounded in the side.
JOHN SLATER, of No. 555 Union Street, Brooklyn, badly hurt.
F. WALSH, of No. 9 Pearl Street, New York.
THOMAS ROBINSON, of Greenpoint.
JACOB NEW, of Greenpoint.
MRS. PRINGLE, of No. 784 Greenwich Street, New York.
Beside these there are twenty-two persons slightly wounded, whose names could not be ascertained, as they left the scene as soon as possible.
Nearly all of those named above are believed to be fatally injured, as they were terribly crushed.
Wrecking cars were speedily sent to the scene of the collision, and by five o'clock trains were again running. The excitement at the South Eighth Street depot was very great, hundreds making anxious inquiries respecting their friends until midnight.
It is generally believed that the down train had the right of way, and that it was the duty of the conductor of the other train to switch off and wait at Rockaway village. A change of time table went into effect yesterday, but the officials claim that it did not affect the two trains which were in the collision.

Brooklyn Eagle New York 1875-07-06