Shoemakersville, PA Train Wreck, Sept 1890
DISASTER AT A CURVE.
WRECK ON THE READING ROAD, IN PENNSYLVANIA.
A FAST RUNNING EXPRESS TRAIN THROWN FROM THE TRACK OVER AN EMBANKMENT AND ITS PASSENGERS CRUSHED AND MANGLED ALMOST BEYOND RECOGNITION --
Reading (Pa.) Dispatch: A fatal and disastrous wreck occurred on the Reading railroad, seventeen miles above this place. The train which met with disaster left this city ten minutes late. It was running at the rate of thirty-eight or forty miles an hour. It had on board, 135 to 150 passengers, and it consisted of engine, mail and express cars and three passenger cars.
Above Shoemakersville, about fifteen miles above this city, there is a curve where the railroad is from eighteen to twenty feet higher that the Schuylkill river. Here, shortly after 8 o'clock a freight train ran into a coal train, throwing several cars of the latter train on the opposite track. Before the train hands had time to go back to warn any approaching train of the danger the Pottsville express came around the curve and ran into the wrecked coal cars on its track.
The engine went down the embankment, followed by the entire train with its human freight. Some of the passengers managed to crawl out of the wreck and arouse the neighborhood. Word was telegraphed to this city and help summoned. Physicians and surgeons and a force of 300 workmen, were taken to the spot by the company, and the work of clearing away the wreck was at once commenced.
Work was slow and the dead and dying were taken out with great difficulty. Up to 2 o'clock a.m. fifteen dead and thirty wounded had been taken out. Of the latter some were brought to this city and others taken to the miners' hospital at Ashland. The dead so far discovered are still on the ground.
The dead taken out and identified up to this time are as follows:
WILLIAM D. SHOME, Reading; badly mangled.
JOHN WHITE, engineer, Pottsville, Pa.
JAMES TEMPLIN, fireman, Pottsville, Pa.
HARRY LOGAN, conductor, Pottsville, Pa.
DAVID AUGUSTADT, Mahanoy City; died after being taken from the wreck.
LOGAN, baggagemaster, Shenandoah.
Mail Agent GREENAWALDSBERY.
JOHN L. MILLER.
The injured so far taken out are:
HARRISON RILAND, Philadelphis; leg broken and internally injured.
JOSEPH SOUTHWOOD, Centralia; badly cut and internally injured.
JAMES F. MERKEL, Bethlehem; badly but about head and internally injured.
JOHN THORNTON, Leesport; badly cut about head and body; seriously injured.
JOSEPH NOLL, Shenandoah; cut about head and left shoulder broken.
FRANK B. NOLL, manager of Frank Mayo's company; cut about head and body, bruised about arms and legs.
JOHN CARROLL, St. Clair; back and internally injured.
JOSEPH ASFIELD, Mahanoy City; bruised about body and legs.
WILLIAM GLASSMAYER, Port Clinton; badly cut about breast.
THOMAS COONEY, Philadelphia; head and legs injured.
ROBERT COLLING, Pottstown; injured internally.
SAMUEL SHOLLENBERGER, Hamburg; legs injured.
B. W. CITHLER, Girardville; foot and leg smashed.
JOHN CULICK, Mount Carroll; hurt internally and hand smashed.
W. W. JOHNSTON, Shenandoah; head badly cut and leg broken.
GEORGE SAUNDERS, Reading; badly hurt about back and neck.
BENJAMIN FRANKLYN, Shenandoah; left hip badly cut and leg hurt.
JAMES BERNHART, Shenandoah; left hip crushed and leg hurt.
JOHN HESS, Mahanoy City; leg badly hurt.
DAVID G. YOUNG, Mahanoy City; head badly cut and legs sprained.
LYMAN DICK, Hamburg; both legs broken.
DR. B. F. SALADE, New Ringgold; right arm badly hurt.
JACOB ULMER, Pottsville; both legs broken.
SAMUEL COOMB, Mahanoy City; badly hurt about body and legs broken.
WILLIAM SIMMERS, Ashland.
The wrecked train is still lying at the bottom of the river. The exact number on the passenger list is not known, but conservative people estimate the number killed at thirty-five.
At 11 o'clock Mail Agent GREENAWALDSBERY was taken out, followed by the horribly mangled bodies of two Mahanoy City firemen.
Five bodies are exposed to view in the wreck. They are pinned under the timbers. The wreckers of Cressonia and Reading arrived at midnight.
Prof. MITCHELL of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, is among the injured at the Reading hospital. LAWRENCE BARNES of Philadelphia has his arm dislocated. The body of JOHN L. MILLER of Cressonia was taken out at midnight.
GEORGE B. KAERCHER, ESQ., the eminent railroad lawyer of Pottsville, who had also a law office in Philadelphia, is among the killed. Persons who were well acquainted with him have identified the crushed body in the debris of the Pullman car.
WILLIAM D. SHONE, one of Reading's wealthiest citizens, was a passenger on the train and was one of the first persons reported killed. He leaves a widow and two sons.
At 3 o'clock Saturday morning the situation was as follows: Three hundred men were still at work, but they were making slow progress. Fifteen bodies had been taken out. None of the bodies have been taken from the scene of the disaster.
JOHN McDONOUGH, JACK NOLL, and WILLIAM JOHNSON of Shenandoah, badly hurt, and JOHN STRAUSS, Schuylkill Haven, are among the latest injured reported. It is still believed that twenty or more are underneath the wreck. Who they are is not known, because it is not know who was on the train, and how many were actually killed will only be disclosed with the removal of the engine and cars from the bed of the river.
A gentleman who escaped from the wreck said:
"The train was going at a lively rat of speed. The passengers appeared a happy crowd, many of them ladies, chatting and laughing after a day's pleasure at the Berks county fair. I was viewing the country through which we were passing when there was a terrible crash. I was hurled from my seat, while the cars rolled down the twenty-foot embankment, and I was thrown from one side of the car to the other. One end of the car went into water and I was thrown against the side of the car with a force that partially stunned me. I quickly recovered myself and managed to climb upon the seats on that side of the car, unable to get out. Around me were human beings struggling in the water, screaming in their fright, and some almost dragged me back into the water again. A few saved themselves as I did and the remainder struggled in the water and then quietly sunk out of sight."
The Sterling Standard Illinois 1890-09-25
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!