Durand, MI Train Wreck, Aug 1910


Charred Bodies Many in Grand Trunk Crash.


Child Dies Clasped in its Mother's Arms.


Farmers Who Rush Out of Homes to Aid Injured in Midnight Collision Held Back by Flames Following Smashup.


MONTREAL, Aug. 25. - After the preliminary investigation of the collision of two passenger trains near Durand, Mich., last night, an official statement has been issued by the Grand Trunk Railway Company.

All Blame is placed on the engineer of the New York train, who failed to heed the signals.

Passengers on the Montreal train say its rear lights were burning clearly. They also heard the torpedoes explode before the crash.

DURAND, Mich., Aug. 25 - With the clearing away today of the ruins of the wrecked and burned Pullman sleeping car Nebraska probably has disappeared all hopes of determining the actual number of lives lost late last night when the rear section of the Boston & Montreal express from Chicago crashed into the forward section of a Grand Trunk train three miles east of this village.

Estimates of the number of dead vary from eight to a dozen or possibly 20. The known dead follow:

Dead Are Named.

Mrs. Alma Woodward, Belfield, N.D.
Mrs. E. Gilpin, 625 East Forty-sixth street, Chicago.
James McBean, letter carrier, Chicago.
Miss Swinger, trained nurse, traveling with Mrs. Woodward.
Mrs. Katharine Squire, Chicago.
Harold Squire, 10-year-old son of Mrs. Squire.
Portions of charred bodies believed to be from six to 12 persons.

Following are at Jurley hospital, this city, badly injured:

Burt Mitchell, Battle Creek, engineer of train No. 14, head bruised; condition critical.
Albert B. Wait, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, face and hands burned.
Mrs. Kate Melieau, Chicago, right leg fractured.
Mrs. Lester Dochler, Tavistock, Ont., fractured leg and bruised.

Injured Are Four.

The injured who were taken to other hospitals at Durand are:

George Nelson, Battle Creek, fireman on No. 4, badly scarred, probably will die.
Clinton A. Davis, Montreal; scalded. probably fatal.
Mrs. M. Stelty, Dubuque, Iowa, upper lip cut and severely bruised.
Charles Spencer, of Battle Creek, engineer on No. 4. is said to have been badly injured, but his name does not appear on the list given out by the railroad officials.

One report was that 20 passengers had been in the Nebraska yesterday at Chicago and that eight more were taken on as the train proceeded eastward, but the car porter said there were only 18 persons asleep in the car when the wreck occurred. If the number on board was 18, the six injured passengers tanken today to Flint and Durand hospitals and the six bodies recovered would account for 12, leaving six persons yet to be accounted for.

The forward section, which was known as No. 14, had stopped because of an accident to the air brakes and Engineer Mitchell had crawled under his engine to locate the trouble. Mitchell's head was terribly crushed when his engine was jolted forward by the shock of the collision.

The locomotive of the second section, known as No. 4, plowed half way through the rear sleeper of the forward train and the locomotive's firebox set fire to the Pullman car. The passengers in the near berths had not the slightest chance to escape and those not killed as the locomotive forged through the sleeper were burned to death. Half a dozen passengers, however seriously injured, were rescued from the forward berths.

The body of James McBean has not been identified, but his is known to have been lost in the wreck and the woman and child who have not been identified are believed to be mother and son, as the little one was found in the woman's arms. A blackened watch, a diamond-studded crucifix and a locket bearing the initials, "H.S.L.," were found in the earch for clews [sic] in the identity of the burned corpses.

Cause of Wreck Mystery.

The cause of the wreck is a mystery and an inquest will be held.

Engineer Spencer, of the second section of the train, said today that he was almost on top of the forward section when he heard the torpedo signal that there was a train standing on the track ahead of him. An exploded torpedo was found today 50 rail lengths, or 1400 feet, from the scene of the collision, and Assistant Superintendent Ehrke, of the Grand Trunk Railroad, said that the second section could have been stopped in 800 feet.

Brakeman G.R. Graham, of the forward section, today asserted that he ran back nearly a mile with the torpedo, and that he waved a red light to stop the oncoming train. Graham also disputed Engineer Spencer, of the second train, that the rear lights of the forward section were not burning. Tonight Graham could not be located by the railroad officials.

The wreck was characterized by all the gruesome scenes attending a railroad disaster at midnight. Farmers who ran from their homes to assist in the work of rescue were held back by the flames and compelled to stand helpless witnesses of the roasting of a human body which burned and fell to pieces before their eyes. Superintendent Ehrke's statement that there were just 19 passengers in the wrecked car is born out by the train chart, Pullman Conductor Haynes and the list given out at Chicago by H.G. Elliott, first assistant general passenger agent of the Grand Trunk.

The uninjured passengers, according to Superintendent Ehrke, were started eastward after the wreck.

Following is a detailed list of the passengers as given out by the railroad officials. The dead:

Road's List of Dead Given Out.

James McBean, Chicago.
Mrs. Alma Woodward, en route Bellfield, N.D. to Port Huron, Mich.
Nurse, accompanying Mrs. Woodward from St. John's hospital, Halifax.
Mrs. Katharine Squire, Chicago.
Harold Squire, 10-year-old son of Mrs. Squire.
Mrs. E.M. Gilpin, Chicago.

The Injured.

Mrs. Leslie Dochlar, Lavista, Ont. (probably meant for Tavistock), 74 years old, fractured right leg and left hip, at Flint Hospital.
Albert. H. Watts, Edmonton, Alberta, not seriously injured, at Flint Hospital.
Mrs. F.H. McBean, Chicago, mother of James McBean, fractured right leg.
Mrs. S.A. Sheltes, Chicago, fractured right arm and internal injuries.
Clinton A. Davis, Montreal, seriously injured.

Passengers Who Escaped Injury.

Jeffreys, Racine.
Dodd, Annapolis.
Parley, Minneapolis.
Man in lower six, name unknown.
Unidentified man boarded train at South Bend, and left at Flint.
Unidentified woman of lower seven.
Two unidentified men in upper seven.
George Nelson, fireman of the second train, probably was fatally scalded, and Bert Mitchell, conductor of the forward train, had his head so terribly crushed that he may die.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 26 Aug. 1910