Laporte, MI Train Collision Kills Workers, Oct 1856


From the Chicago Tribune.
On last Saturday evening, between 6 and 7 o'clock, a terrible accident occurred on the Southern Michigan Railroad, about a mile this side of the crossing of the New Albany and Salem Railroad. From what we can learn it appears that a construction train, with an engine and two caboose cars filled with Irish laborers, was endeavoring to get into Laporte before the freight train coming west should leave that station; the engineer of the construction train having understood, in some way, that the freight train was so much behind time that he would be able to reach it there. This information, it appears, was incorrect, and the two trains came in collision at the place above stated, both going at a rapid rate. The crash was awful, and resulted in killing outright eight of the laborers, and badly wounding some twenty others.
Both engines were smashed, and also the caboose cars, twenty freight cars, and three new engines which were being brought on for the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. The tender of the engine attached to the construction train was forced back into the last caboose car. The engineers and firemen of both trains jumped off and escaped injury. As soon as the accident occurred, the engineer of the construction train ran into the woods, and has not been heard of since. The track was badly torn up, and the passenger trains delayed some hours.
A messenger was immediately sent to Laporte for assistance, and as son as the accident was known in this city a special train was dispatched to the scene of the disaster. We are informed that the freight train was on time, and that the blame must rest with the person in charge of the construction train.
The track was cleared yesterday, and trains this morning will go through without detention. We could not obtain the names of the killed and injured, but learn they were all residents of Laporte, and that most of them leave families in indigent circumstances. The officers of the road did everything in their power to provide for the comfort and recovery of the injured.

The New York Times New York 1856-10-03