Lancaster, PA Train Wreck, Oct 1865





LANCASTER, Oct. 15, 9 P. M. -- Yesterday afternoon as the day express train east on the Pennsylvania Railroad was within four miles of this city, an axle of the head passenger car broke, and a part of it striking the bottom of the car, near the front end, tore out part of the bottom, precipitating the occupants off their seats, on each side, to the ground, who were run over by the wheels of the rear truck. Eight persons were killed outright and another died some hours afterwards. Only two others were badly hurt. The train consisted of seven passenger and two baggage cars. The last four cars were thrown off the track, one of which was turned on its side. No one in these cars were seriously hurt.
The accident occurred nearly opposite MRS. KAUFFMAN'S mill, in a cut on the road, nearly midway between Lancaster and Landisville. The passengers were immediately brought to Lancaster, where preparations were made to minister to the wants of the wounded, the entire medical force of the city being assembled at the depot as soon as the news of the accident reached here.
MRS. BARR, one of the killed, was the wife of Hon. JAMES P. BARR, of Pittsburg, Surveyor-General's office, Pennsylvania.
COL. BUTLER, killed, was whiskey inspector in Philadelphia.
W. H. BUTLER, Clerk in the Surveyor-General's office, Pennsylvania.
MRS. WILLET, killed, was the wife of THEO. WILLET of New Cumberland, Pa.
The three children who were with MRS. YETTA (or GETTA) of Milwaukee, state that their father had died in the South, and that they were going to an aunt in Philadelphia, whose name they could not give.
Three females, evidently a mother and two daughters, and apparently Germans, supposed to be recently from California, have not yet been identified. One of the girls may have been fifteen and the other nine years of age. All the bodies, except that of MRS. YETTA and the three not identified, have been sent to their relatives. The others have been temporarily deposited in a vault in one of our cemeteries.
COLONEL ISAAC MOFFET, of Philadelphia, it is supposed, was somewhat injured internally. He is the only one known to have received serious injuries.
The train was running on schedule time and at the usual rate of speed. The breaking of the axle, which was the cause of the accident, appears to have been an unavoidable occurrence.
The officers of the Company here have been active and unremitting in their efforts to minister to the comforts of the wounded. Much difficulty has been experienced in identifying the bodies of some of the dead. The solicitor of the Company for this district has spared no exertion to secure the identification of some of the dead.

The Franklin Repository Pennsylvania 1865-10-18



From the Harrisburg Telegraph.
One of the most horrible railroad accidents that occurred during the present year, happened on Saturday afternoon, on the Pennsylvania railroad, three miles this side of Lancaster, as the Day Express train reached that point, en route for Philadelphia.
The train consisted of seven cars. The front axle of the third car breaking, that end of the car at once fell to the track, and as the train was under full headway, the rear cars ran into the one to which the accident occurred, crushing to death nine persons and maiming a large number of others – rumor says thirty or more. The scene is said to have been heartrending and sickening in the extreme. The shrieks and groans of the wounded and dying were such as to unman the stoutest heart, and cause many passengers to leave the vicinity of the accident to obtain relief from the sad spectacle presented. The following is a list of the persons who were instantly killed, or died within a few moments after the accident occurred:
MRS. JAMES P. BARR, wife of the Surveyor General of Pennsylvania.
MRS. SARAH WILLETT, of New Cumberland, Cumberland county, Pa.
MRS. MAGDALENA ZETTE, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
COLONEL BUTLER, of Lewistown, Pa.
MRS. BUTLER, (wife of the above,) Lewistown, Pa.
WM. H. BUTLER, (known as “BARNEY” BUTLER,) Clerk in the Surveyor Generals office, Harrisburg.
A daughter of MRS. PHILLIPS, aged about 15 years.
Another daughter of MRS. PHILLIPS aged 10 years.
It is said that from thirty to forty persons were wounded – and there is no cause to doubt the truth of the report, as it seems incredible that a smaller number would be injured, when the list of killed is so extensive as the above.
Among those reported wounded are JAMES P. BARR, Surveyor General, and MRS. WOLFINGER, of Harrisburg, CAPT. ISAAC MOFFATT, of Philadelphia, is supposed to be injured internally.
The bodies of the persons killed were forwarded to the West on the express train of Sunday morning. That of MRS. WILLETT was brought to this city, and after being placed in a neat coffin, was sent to New Cumberland.
We are informed that the railroad track was torn up for a distance of a hundred yards or more, and that three of four cars were shattered to pieces. A bar of railroad iron penetrated entirely through the body of one of the men killed. Some of the bodies are said to have been horribly mutilated.
Among the parties wounded some are reported as having arms and legs broken, and others sustained injuries of every conceivable form.
The accident is attributed to defective iron in the axle that broke, the car to which it was attached having been in good condition.

Village Record Pennsylvania 1865-10-20