Danbury, CT Terrible Railroad Accident, Aug 1869



From the Danbury (Conn.) Times, August 2d.

Today Danbury becomes again a scene of horror. At 9:20 o'clock this (Tuesday) morning the trestle-work on the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad, just below the steam excavator, gave way and came to the ground, bringing with it four loaded cars and seven men, one of whom was instantly killed; another has since died; a third is in a dying condition, and the four remaining are more or less injured.
The trestle-work in question is built out from the embankment some distance, and it is used to run out the cars, whose contents are dumped from it for the filling across the valley. The trestle-work is of heavy, upright timbers, strengthened with numerous girts. At the place where the accident occurred it was nearly fifty feet high.
Four of the cars or dumps were on the trestle-work just before the accident. Two men - carpenters - were at the end, extending the work; three brakemen were on the cars, and two men who remained on the work as dumpers were standing at the dumping place in waiting. As the cars passed on to the trestle, one of the heavy upright pieces was observed to heave inward by Colonel Dibble, and others who were standing on the ground below. One of them cried an alarm, but it came too late. The entire work swerved inward, and in an instant a thundering crash of timbers followed. One of the carpenters was seen to run back as the alarm was given, as if to jump off, but he sank with the rest. A piece of timber or iron struck him in the neck, and when he touched the earth he was dead.
Timbers, cars, iron rails, and quivering human flesh, lay crushed together in the valley, appalling the hearts of those who hastened to bring relief. The bodies were taken out as soon as possible, but with considerable difficulty. CYRUS E. QUICK, of Danbury, a carpenter, was instantly killed; a bad contusion at the base of the brain, received from a flying stick or bar of iron, killed him instantly. His body was found part ways up the bank, the head downward, and a large stick or timber resting across his hip. He was taken out and conveyed under a tree, where his remains await a Coroner's investigation. FOSTER BOUTON, of Danbury, a carpenter, struck on the soft embankment below, and miraculously escaped with a cup on the upper lip. JAMES DOWD, dumper, from Massachusetts, was badly injured in the chest and about the head; will not live. MICHAEL CROWLEY, brakeman, of Newtown, bruised about the face and hips; he was wedged in under some timbers, but upon their being pried up he crawled out without aid. PATRICK KELLY, dumper, injured in chest and about head; KELLY was alive when taken from the wreck, but died soon after. HENRY McPHILLIPS, neck and face, seriously. EDWARD RILEY, brakeman, head and arm, seriously.
Dr. Benedict, of Danbury, deserves great praise. He was first upon the scene, and did yeoman service. Drs. Lacey and Clason, of Danbury, and Dr. Williams, of Brookfield, were also on hand with their skill.
The wreck is a sad sight. Heavy timbers wrenched apart, iron rails twisted out of shape, together with the debris of the cars and the blotches of human blood, show how terrible must have been the crash, and how excruciating the pain. When our reporter left the scene, at 2:30 o'clock this afternoon, the body of QUICK was awaiting examination of a Coroner's jury, the particulars of which will be given in our regular issue tomorrow.

Daily Alta California 1869-08-14