Belvidere, NJ Landslide Causes Death, July 1887



Belevidere, N. J., July 23. -- Manunka Chunk, the connecting point of the Belvidere Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, three miles north of here, was the scene of a landslilde this afternoon, demolishing a house and causing the death of two persons. It is a romantic spot, with the Manunka Junction Mountain on one side of the roadbed and the Delaware River winding along the base. The connection between the two roads is made by an embankment 50 feet high, at the base of which lived GEORGE FOX, with his family, in a two-story frame building, having a small annex. FOX is the station agent of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, and among his other duties is that of watching the condition of the track. At 2:30 o'clock this afternoon MR. FOX was in the annex, in which also was his mother, MRS. JANE FOX, aged 77; MRS. LUCKY BEERS, aged 33, and JOHN SNYDER, a young man, the agent of the Pennsylvania Road at this point.
MR. FOX ascended the steep embankment and was examining the track when he noticed a trembling of the earth under his feet. He immediately called to his family to warn them of the danger that threatened them, but at the same instant the whole mass gave way, striking the annex and demolishing it in an instant. SNYDER, who at the time stood in the doorway, was carried about 100 feet and was covered with mud and water, escaping, however, with no serious injury. MRS. FOX and MRS. BEERS, who at the time were clearing up the table, were nowhere to be seen. Mud, stones, and portions of the building were strewn over many yards of surface, and among this MR. FOX and a neighbor began the search for his lost ones. MRS. BEERS was soon found, still alive, but died while being extricated. Her head was badly bruised and a number of bones were broken. Word was at once sent here and a large body of citizens hastened to the spot, and a systematic search for the body of the old lady was begun. It was found at 5 o'clock under three feet of debris, and was apparently uninjured. The table cloth was clutched with a firm grip. Coroner REIMER viewed the body and will hold an inquest on Monday. More than 500 people were present when the body was found, most of whom were neighbors of the old lady, and the crowd was augmented by passengers on trains, who stopped to render assistance.
In the main part of FOX'S house at the time was the wife of MR. FOX and MISS JENNIE BEERS, daughter of the dead woman, both of whom have been sick for the last five weeks. The mud and water rushed in their room when the crash came, and this, and the shock caused by the fatality of the accident, completely prostrated them. They are now in a critical condition, and little hope of the recovery of MRS. FOX is entertained. MRS. BEERS resided in Bristol, Penn., and had buried her husband only two weeks before. She was a sister of MRS. GEORGE FOX, and was on a visit, intending to return home in a short time.
The tracks are washed for a distance of a quarter of a mile. Large gangs of workmen are at work making repairs. The demolished house was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and was build in a very exposed position. Twice before it has been threatened with floods. This will be inquired into by the Coroner's jury. Superintendent of Tracks O'BRIEN is on the ground, and says a culvert, built to carry off the surface water, became stopped up, and the overflow settled back of the track and loosened the soil. It has rained almost incessantly for three days, and all the streams are filled to overflowing.

The New York Times New York 1887-07-24