Box Elder, MT Train Wreck, May 1878

Accident on the K. P.

Engineer, Fireman and Brakeman Killed.

[From the News.]
A terrible accident occurred at Box Elder, on the Kansas Pacific, about 12 o'clock last Tuesday night, by which three employees lost their lives and a whole freight train was wrecked. It appears that the flood had washed away a bridge over the creek during the evening, the absence of which was discovered by the section foreman, who hastened to secure a red light for the purpose of signaling the freight train, then about due, but before he had completed his preparations the train thundered down upon the dreadful chasm and into the torrent of wild waters that swept along the bed of the creek. JOHN BACON, of Denver, the engineer, his fireman, FRANK SELLVIN, and another employee named JOHN PIATT, were carried down with the engine, and the whole train of eighteen cars, one of them loaded with railroad iron, piled upon the wreck and buried the brave men as if a mountain had fallen upon them. It may be several days before their bodies can be recovered, but it is almost certain that their deaths were instantaneous, or nearly so. BACON and SELLVIN were valued employees of the company, and both were married. They have many friends and some relatives in Denver -- MR. BACON, we believe, being a brother-in-law of Conductor HOSKINS, of the same road.


At a late hour last night a switch engine arrived from Box Elder, the scene of the wreck, conveying the body of FRANK W. SELLVIN, the fireman of the ill-fated engine. It appears that SELLVIN was not carried down with the wreck, nor buried under it, as his body was found fully a mile and a half below where the accident occurred, and it is surmised he jumped from the engine as it fell and was carried by the raging torrent out of the reach of the wreck. The remains were placed in charge of Undertaker Brown upon their arrival. The other bodies had not been recovered up to midnight. Colonel Fisher is making every effort to remove the wreck as speedily as possible, that the bodies of the dead men may be restored to their friends.

Evening Call Colorado 1878-05-23