Tippecanoe City, OH Train Wreck, Mar 1906

DEATH MEETS THREE MEN INSTANTLY KILLED AT CHAMBERSBURG AT EARLY HOUR TODAY RUNNING A SNOW PLOW ON D & T TRACTION LINE WHEN IT STRUCK A HORSE

VICTIMS CAUGHT AND CRUSHED UNDER RAILROAD IRON THAT WEIGHTED CAR - HORSE CAUGHT IN CATTLE GUARD

THE DEAD

ALBERT HOOVER, AUGUST NICHOL, WILLIAM PUMPHERY
all died 20 March 1906

Tippecanoe City, March 20 - The worst wreck in the history of the Dayton and Troy electric railroad occurred at 4:15 this morning, near Chambersburg, when three men, William Pumphery, Gus Nichols, and Bert Hoover, were crushed to death.

At 4:15 this morning a flat car, loaded with 12 tons of steel rails, was equipped with a snow plow, and a work car placed behind it to clear the track of snow. The car propelling was in charge of Motorman Morgan, and the three men who met death were standing on the flat car ahead.

It was about 4:45 when the car neared Chambersburg, and about midway between stop 9 1/2 and stop 10 a horse was seen on the track. It was too late to stop the car, however, and the flat car struck the horse. Instantly the car overturned and rolled down an embankment about 12 feet high. The three victims were buried beneath the steel rails.

The crash was the first the Motorman knew that something out of the ordinary had happened. He applied the emergency brakes and stopped the car before it too had left the track and rolled on top of the flat car.

BOY HEARD CRASH

There is a farmhouse near by, and in the stable adjoining, Russel Hardesty, 16 years old, was milking. He heard the crash, and hurrying down the road through the snow, where he saw the light of the work car, found Motorman Morgan. Morgan asked that he summon help and he ran back home and rang the dinner bell. This, at that time of the morning, served to attract a large number of farmers from the neighborhood, and they joined hands in rescuing the three men. The first body taken out was that of Hoover. He was lying on the side of the bank, nearest the track, and was dead when found.

Swiftly the men worked, removing the heavy rails and tearing away the wrecked pieces of the car. Then the other two bodies were found. All three were laid alongside the track, and in the meantime someone had telephoned to Chambersburg and Tippecanoe City for physicians.

Dr. Riley of Vandalia, Dr. Loy of Tippecanoe City, and Dr. Kendal of Tippecanoe City, hurried to the scene of the wreck in a special car. It was just beginning to get daylight and they could see the scene of the wreck from some distance up the road. Their car had hardly come to a stop until they were kneeling beside the three men's bodies and almost as one man the three announced that death had been instantaneous.

Then the bodies were placed aboard the car and taken to Tippecanoe City, the home of the three men. Word had already reached that place that the men had been killed, and when the car arrived there, several hundred people were at the station to see the men or learn more of the wreck. The bodies were removed to the undertaking establishment of James Coppock, and there prepared for burial. Not for some time after the accident was it made known to the wives of the three men that their husbands had met death.

HORSE WAS FASTENED

The horse which was the direct cause of the sad accident Tuesday morning was the property of John Gabel, a farmer residing west of Chambersburg. He bought the animal at a sale a few days ago. Monday evening when he turned it out to water, it left the farm, apparently starting back to its old home.

Just where the accident occurred there is a culvert, and this is protected with a cattle guard. The horse had evidently taken the track and reaching the culvert, became fastened in the cross pieces. It was impossible, Motorman Morgan claims, for him to have seen the animal over the heads of the three men on the flat car and the pile of steel rails, and the first he knew of an accident was when he felt a jolt and then heard the crash of the car.

The horse was literally torn to pieces and blood spots and bits of flesh were scattered about the east side of the track, while alongside the steel rails and the wrecked car the snow was stained with the blood of the unfortunate men. The car was shattered, almost all of the iron work torn away, and the rails piled into the pike nearby.

THREE SADDENED HOMES

The scenes at the homes of the three men here cannot be described. Each of the men had two children, and none of them are of age. When they learned the news their heart-rendering cries could be heard fully a square from each house. They insisted that the bodies be brought home immediately, and only through the efforts of kind neighbors were they refrained from rushing directly to the undertaker's office to take charge of the bodies of their loved ones.

Pumphrey was to have quit the employ of the traction company next Saturday. He, with his wife and two children, visited his aged father and mother Sunday and then and there they made arrangements to give up their home here and go to the farm to live with the old folks. This the wife referred to when she learned her husband was dead, and that all their future happiness had been despoiled.

MOTORMAN BROKEN UP

Motorman Morgan is all broken up over the accident, and is, as he says, the most unlucky man on the road. But a short time ago a car which he was driving, struck and killed a man near Troy. He has, it is said, had more fatal accidents on his car than any other man in the employ of the Dayton and Troy.

CORONER KLINE CALLED

The scene of the accident is in Montgomery county and Coroner Kline was summoned from Dayton by telephone. He responded promptly and went directly to the undertaking establishment in Tippecanoe City. Examining the body of Nichols he found both arms broken and one side of his head crushed. He was hardly recognizable. In the case of Pumphrey and Hoover there were no marks and it was apparent that they had smothered to death beneath the wreckage. Pumphreys had one leg broken.

The coroner, after summoning a number of witnesses, visited the scene of the tragedy. There he was joined by several farmers, who reside in the neighborhood, and who were among the first at the scene. These will be used in the inquest, which will probably begin Wednesday morning.

A. E. Bay, the conductor in charge of the snow plow, who was riding in the car behind at the time of the accident, makes no statement as to the wreck, declining to be interviewed.

PIQUA DAILY CALL, Piqua, OH - 20 March 1906