Albany, IL Train Plunges Through Trestle, Apr 1881



Chicago, April 21. -- A special dispatch to the Evening Journal from Clinton, Iowa, says:
At 5 o'clock this morning the night express, which left here, westward bound, on the Rock Island Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, was moving at an ordinary speed across the trestle-work over the Meredosia River, one mile south of Albany, Ill., when the trestle gave way, and the train, without warning, was suddenly precipitated into the river. The train consisted of an engine, tender, baggage car, passenger and sleeping car, all went down except the sleeper, which hung over the bridge at an angle of 45 degrees, the upper end high in the air. Two cars floated down the stream. The passenger coach lodged against the island, four rods away. The baggage car stuck in the middle of the stream, about the same distance away. Engineer WEST and the fireman (a resident of Freeport, but name unknown) went down in the cab, and nothing has been seen since of the men or locomotive. SAM FLANAGAN, baggageman; HENRY MYERS, brakeman; DAN ELLITHORPE, messenger, and TOMAS FULLER, conductor, all escaped, but all are injured except FULLER. There were 11 passengers in the forward car, including a man and boy, residents of Pine RIver, Wis., en route for Omaha; a woman and two children, who boarded the train at Savannah for Rock Island; DR. D. W. LUNDY, of Albany, and five others whose distination is unknown. Of these, two men jumped ashore as the floating car passed the abutment of the wagon bridge which went out yesterday. Another man made a leap, but fell back and was drowned. The woman and one child and the boy from Pine River were taken off the roof of the car after it lodged at the island, and the six other passengers, including the man from Pine RIver, the little child of the woman, and DR. LUNDY, were drowned. These, together with the engineer and fireman, make eight lives lost in all. There were only three passengers in the sleeper, and they, together with the colored porter, climbed out of the rear end of the car and escaped uninjured. The names of the three passengers are H. W. GORDON, of Rochester, N. Y.; G. W. CHAPMAN, Newark, N. J., and HENRY WARREN, Boston. A traveling companion of CHAPMAN, named F. C. BUTLER, was not on the train. The wounded have been made comfortable at a hotel. The lady mentioned is prostrated by the shock.
The river is a perfect torrent where the trestle went out. It is said a freight train passed over the bridge an hour or so ahead of the passenger train. Twenty boats are at work in a pouring rain searching for bodies and picking up baggage. All the bodies are believed, however, to have been washed out. A hole has been cut in the roof of the baggage car, and some baggage has been taken out. The shore here and for eight miles below is linded with people looking for tokens of the wreck.

The New York Times New York 1881-04-22


1881 William A. West

This story explains the death of my great-grandmother's nephew. I had been unable to learn the details of the accident until happening upon your article.

Thank you,
A. L. Bristol
Norwalk, Ohio