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Philadelphia, PA train wreck, Feb 1893




PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22. - The Southern express on the Pennsylvania Railroad, which left the Broad Street station at 10:20 this morning, at 10:55 collided with the Morton (Penn.) accommodation train near South Street Station, West Philadelphia.


E. L. MINZER of Media.
Mrs. E. L. MINZER.
Miss MARIA READ of Media.
The Rev. JAMES WALKER of Lenni.


Miss GENEVIEVE ZANE of Swarthmore.
The Rev. JACOB WIZEMAN of Clifton Heights.
Miss RACHAEL W. HILLBORN of Swarthmore.
Mrs. JAMES WALKER, wife of the Mr. Walker killed.
Miss KATE KARCHER of Morton.
Mrs. W. H. LINDERMUTH of Morton.
J. H. HUNTREY of Swarthmore.
FRANCES M'ALEEF, Clifton Heights.
HARRY SERVAN, a schoolboy; residence unknown.
W. PURCHASE, Lansdowne.
A. R. ARMOUR, Media.

A half dozen others, whose names could not be learned, had their injuries dressed at the hospital and then departed.

A rumor gained circulation that the special train bearing President Harrison from Washington to New York was in the collision, but this was untrue. This train was held a short distance behind the wreck.

The accommodation train was crossing a switch to pull into the South Street Station. All the cars but the last one had crossed, when the Southern express came rushing down the track and struck the local passenger car on the switch full in the centre.

The express was made up entirely of heavy Pullman cars, and the light passenger car was hurled fifty feet from the track, and was smashed by the force of the blow.

The express train escaped injury, and the engineer immediately stopped his train. The crash of the colliding trains and the cries of the unfortunate people pinned beneath the broken timbers attracted an excited crowd. The Twenty-first District Police Stationis but a few squares away, and a sqad of officers was soon at work. The injured were hurried to the University Hospital.

The accommodation train had the right of way, the express being blocked, but owing to the slippery condition of the tracks the engineer of the express was unable to control his train. The engineer and fireman of the express were unhurt.

No one on the express was injured, and the engine was damaged so slightly that it proceeded to New-York with the train half an hour afterward.

A number of well-known people were passengers on the express train, among them Congressmen Dingley and Belknap, ex-Postmaster General Frank Hatton, Senator Washburn, and Major John H. Carson and U. H. Painter, well-known Washington correspondents.

All rendered what aid they could to the injured passengers, but no one was more energetic than Congressman Belknap. He did splendid service in rescuing the wounded and caring for the dead.

Mrs. Minzer's head was severed from her body and was left on the roadway. Congressman Belknap tenderly picked it up and placed it by the body.

Several of those who had left Washington for New-York with the object of witnessing the unfurling of the American flag on the steamship New-York were so overcome by the distressing scenes and terrible suffering of the injured that they abandoned their trip to New-York and returned to the capital this afternoon.

Congressman John Robinson of Media, Penn., was on the express train. He said it was miraculous that so many persons on the accommodation escaped alive, considering the force with which the trains collided. After reversing his engine and applying the brakes, the engineer of the express jumped, but the fireman stuck to his post.

The Rev. James Walker, one of the victims of the distaster, was the rector of Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church at Rockdale, Delaware County, near Lenni Station, where he had been for a dozen years past. He was fifty-five years of age, and was well and favorably known by the clergymen of the diocese.

Mr. Walker and his wife occupied a seat in the centre of the passenger coach on the side where the collision occurred, with Mr. Walker occupying the seat next to the window, and when the crash came he was instantly killed by a sliver from the side of the car striking him in the stomach, disemboweling him.

Mrs. Walker was thrown from her seat by the collision, and was dashed against the rails of the seat on the opposite side of the car, and received a severe scalp wound. It was also stated at the University Hospital, to which institution she was removed, that Mrs. Walker had sustained internal injuries.

Edward L. Minzer, Jr., who was killed, was about forty-five years of age, and was the trust officer of the Real Estate Investment Company of this city. The death of Mr. Minzer was outright, his head being actually severed from his body.

At the Real Estate Trust office the information of this tragedy created the most profound effect. It was said that Mr. Minzer had been expected at the office to-day, and wonder had been expressed why he had not come. It was said of him that he was a most efficient officer and a man of decided character.

Miss Martha R. Read of Media, the fourth victim, was taken out of the wreck alive and was placed tenderly in an ambulance connected with the University Hospital, but she died before reaching that institution.

Little Edward Mintzer, the ten-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Mintzer, who were decapitated and instantly killed, told at the University Hospital, whither he was taken after the collision, how he escaped uninjured:

"Mamma and I were sitting side by side in the seat, and I was talking to her. She had a book, but she was not reading. It was lying in her lap. And then, all at once, the locomotive came in through the window. And - wasn't it nice?

"I was not hurt a bit. I found myself lying right out on the ground, and mamma and papa were nowhere to be seen. I don't know where they are now, but I guess they'll be here soon."

The child was not informed of the awful fate of his parents, of which, happily, he had no suspicion.

The responsibility for the accident seems to rest on Engineer Thomas Jones of the express. Charles Bockius, the tower man, says he had the danger signal up for the express to stop, but it was ignored. Engineer Jones is one of the most experienced engineers on the road, and is known by the sobriquet "Jockey" Jones.

Jones was completely prostrated by the terrible results of the collision, and after rendering what aid he could in removing the dead and wounded he went to his home in this city, where to-night he was confined to his bed.

Jones could not be seen to-night, but his wife said he told her he did not see the danger signal displayed almost until he was up to the accommodation train. He then did everything in his power to stop the train, but the heavy cars slipped on the icy tracks.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Feb 1893

article | by Dr. Radut