Crete, IL Train Wreck, Oct 1891

Three Reporters Killed.

CHICAGO, Oct. 15. --- Word has just been received here that the fast vestibule train on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois road, which left Nashville, Tennessee, last night, was wrecked at 10 o'clock this morning at Crete, about thirty miles from this city. The accident was caused by the engine running into an open switch. The round house was struck by the engine and demolished, falling about the train and setting the baggage car on fire.

Engineer CLARK was killed, as were three Inter-Ocean reporters who were riding on the engine. Their names are L. J. WATSON, FRANK McCAFFERTY and FRED HENRY. They were riding on the engine with the intention of writing up the trip. The fireman jumped and saved his life.
The dead are LEONARD WASHBURN, sporting reporter for the Inter-Ocean, FRED W. HENBY, a reporter who came here recently from Louisville; J. A. McCAFFERTY, an artist, recently from St. Louis, and JAMES CLARK, the engineer. [Transcriber note: I typed the names the way they appear in the article --- Stu]

The train left Evansville early this morning, and proceeded safely to Crete, where it ran into an open switch. The three men who were killed were on the engine, HENRY and McCAFFERTY having gone out for the purpase [sic] of writing up and illustrting [sic] a midnight ride on the fast freight train, and WASHBURN, who was returning to Chicago from an Indiana trip, having joined his friends on the engine.

Immediately upon the receipt of a telegram telling of the accident, President SAULT, of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railroad started with a special train to the scene of the wreck. Medical assistance accompanied him and everything possible was done for the injured.

To-night a sad scene was witnessed at the Chicago depot of the Eastern Illinois road. The mangled corpses of the trio of newspaper men were being awaited by a large number of their co-workers. MR. H. H. KOHLSAAT, one of the proprietors of the Inter-Ocean, was among those present.

When at last the train bearing the bodies arrived, all silently lent assistance in removing the remains to an undertakers. Friends of the dead in other cities were telegraphed to by City Editor BALLARD, and everything possible was done pending instructions from relatives.

At the Inter- Ocean office to-night conversation seemed somehow restricted to monosylables[sic], and the lights at three of the desks were out. MR. WASHBURN was to have been best man to-night at the wedding of one of the associates, MR. THOMAS WEDDELL, associate city editor of the Inter-Ocean.

The news of his tragic death was kept from MR. WEDDELL and his bride, and the happy ceremony took place shortly after poor WASHBURN'S body reached the city.

Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1891-10-17