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Lyndhurst, Wisconsin Train Wreck, Sept 1912, click to enlarge »
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Lyndhurst, Wisconsin Train Wreck

September 1, 1912


Several Lives Lost in State by Derailment of Trains on Account of High Water.

The heavy storms and unusual amount of rainfall in Wisconsin during the past week have caused several disastrous railroad wrecks, in which several lives were lost and a large number of people injured.

One of the most disastrous occurred at Lyndhurst early Sunday morning when the train was derailed and several cars smashed up by the general crash. Six lives were lost in this wreck and a score or more injured, some of them quite seriously. The wreck occurred at two o’clock in the morning and it was dark as pitch at the time.

The train was traveling about 45 miles an hour, and the train crew had no warning that the track was in bad shape. The trouble was caused by a washout, due to a cloudburst, and was where the track was lined on both sides by heavy woods.
Several of the forward coaches of the train were derailed and turned over, the baggage and mail car being reduced to kindling wood by the smash, the three sleepers that were attached to the rear of the train remained on the track and none of the occupants was injured altho [sic] they were shaken up considerably by the crash.

The overturned coaches caught fire after being smashed up, but a heavy rain was falling, which soon extinguished the flames and probably saved the lives of a good many.

The Wausau baseball team was on the train on their way to Green Bay and several of the boys were quite badly bruised up and some of them had bones broken. Those on the train who were not hurt did everything in their power to aid the injured ones, and farmers in the neighborhood of the wreck opened their houses to be used as hospitals, and everybody was given the best care possible under the circumstances.

The Grand Rapids Tribune, Grand Rapids, WI 4 Sept 1912



Green Bay, Sept. 3. – Five members of the train crew and one passenger were killed at 2:30 o’clock Sunday morning when Chicago and Ashland limited train No. 112, southbound, of the Chicago & Northwestern road was wrecked at a washout two miles north of Lyndhurst, which is fifty miles northwest of this city.

Twenty-six members of the crew and passengers were injured, seven of them seriously, and more than 100 passengers were severely shaken up.

The dead are:
BUSHEY, CHARLES, conductor, Milwaukee.
brakeman, Milwaukee.
baggageman, Antigo.
express messenger, Milwaukee.
engineer, Green Bay.
passenger, Shawano.

Heroic work by passengers and surviving members of the train crew under great difficulties saved many lives, and a heavy downpour of rain prevented the wreckage from being consumed by fire. Relief and wrecking trains were sent from Green Bay and Antigo and the dead and injured were removed to hispitals [sic] in Green Bay.
The train consisted of a smoker, mail car, baggage car, three Pullman sleepers and day coaches and was bowling along at a rate of thirty miles an hour when it struck a washout caused by a cloudburst, which had carried away a considerable section of the track.

The engine was thrown on its side as it plowed with terrific force through the roadbed. The baggage car next telescoped, pinioning four of those killed until the debris. The mail and smoking car tipped over. Although the other cars were derailed, they remaining upright.

Among the injured are members of the Wausau baseball club of the Wisconsin-Illinois league, who were enroute to Green Bay. A number of them were severely injured.
Those who escaped uninjured quickly recovered from the shock and turmoil and worked heroically to rescue trainmen who were pinioned under the wreckage. The bodies of the conductor, expressman, baggageman and brakeman were found under the debris of the baggage car. They had been killed instantly.

Alex Schoels, a mail clerk, was alive when aid reached him and for five hours he was held under the wreckage while the rescuers struggled to release him. He was badly crushed, but may survive his injuries.

The scene of the wreck is in an isolated spot in a thickly wooded section. Before news of the wreck could be communicated to Green Bay, it was necessary for Herbert Huelsbeck, news agent, to run to the nearest depot, a mile and a half distant, and wire for relief trains upon order of W. D. Cantillion, general manager of the Northwestern road, whose special car was attached to the wrecked train.

The Grand Rapids Tribune, Grand Rapids, WI 11 Sept 1912



Star Southpaw Carries Scar on Forehead.


W. B. Kirwan Fears That Bone In Right Wrist Has Been Broken – X-ray Photos Taken.

W. B. Kirwan, of this city, who has been pitching for the Wausau club of the W. I. League the past season, has returned home and will remain in Fond du Lac during the coming winter.

Kirwan bears some ugly marks of his experience in the North Western railway wreck near Lyndhurst several weeks ago. A scar over his left eye will never disappear, declare the physicians who attended him. His right wrist is still in bandages, a fact which is causing the clever portside hurler considerable worry.

X-ray photographs of the injured wrist were taken Monday at Oshkosh it is believed that a small bone is broken. Kirwan, in relating his experiences in the wreck, declares that he, as well as other members of the ball team who were enroute from Wausau to Green Bay, were mighty lucky to get out of the affair alive.

“There were four of us fellows, all members of the Wausau atom playing cards in the smoker when the wreck took place” said Kriwan [sic]. “The train was going down grade and was running at a rate of seventy miles and hour when it ran into the washout. The engine, as I afterwards learned, fell over on its side and plowed into the sandy soil at the left of the track for a distance of twenty-five feet.

“The car, in which we were seated was thrown to the left of the track and reclined on a fifteen foot embankment. The car following was thrown to the right side of the track. The two cars following plowed between us along the track and were demolished by the five heavy Pullman cars which brought up the rear of the train. Had our car remaining upon the track bank it would have fared the same as the two cars which were demolished.”

Kirwan was in Green Bay hospital for several days and was then removed to Wausau. He was confined to his bed for three weeks.

Daily Commonwealth, Fond Du Lac, WI 24 Sept 1912

Articles transcribed by Jenni Lanham.  Thank you, Jenni!


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