Greenville, PA Train Wreck, Feb 1901


Erie Train Jumps the Track Rounding Sharp Curve and Five Perish.

Steel Mall Car Telescopes the Smoker Tearing, Killing, Crushing and Maiming.

Sergeant Major Harry Hart and Two Privates on Their Way to Fort Crook Lose Their Lives.

Greenville, Pa. Feb.7. -Train No. 5, The Hew York-Chicago limited on the Erie railroad, was wrecked this morning within town limits. Five passengers were dead when taken from the wreck, several are missing and there are many badly injured. The dead are:


GEORGE W. PATTERSON, Philadelphia, private, company I Tenth United States infantry.

PETER J. CURRY, Cuboco, N.Y., private, company I Tenth infantry age 21.

UNKNOWN MAN, aged 25, supposed to be CLARENCE LEE of Somerville, N.J. only papers on person was a postal card that had been sent to the Adams Produce company, Rushville, Ind. and a ticket from New York to that point. His face was literally torn into shreds.


WILLIAM B. MOORE, Lenox Roard, Brooklyn, compound fracture of left leg and badly cut about head; B.A. MARSDEN, Philadelphia, terribly crushed about the body; IVAN LESTER SMITH, Canasteo, badly crushed; JOSEPH BROOK, Brookfield, Mass. compound fracture left leg, cut and bruised about head and body; private Tenth infantry; WILLIAM F. MACGINNITIE, attorney, Portland Ind., hip crushed, face cut; O.H. SIMONS ,Kent, O., brakeman, compound fracture left leg, right leg badly bruised; C .J. HENRY, Meadville, baggageman, left leg broken, injured about the chest; S.AITKEN,salesman, New York, slightly suffering shock; LEVI F. CAHOON, Gloucester, Mass., slightly injured; CLARENCE LECK, Somerville, N.J. injuries serious; MILTON STANLEY, Newton, N.J. leg fractured, cut about face; CHARLES CORNELL, Elmira, N.Y., slightly; HARRY WELSBURG, express messenger, Dayton, O., crushed; CARMIE COIGUIR and CARMIE GROCCO, Carbondale, Pa., slightly.


Hardly a passenger escaped without some injury. The ill-fated train was composed entirely of vestibuled Pullmans, three sleepers, a day coach, combination smoker and baggage and a mail car, and was drawn by one of the new Atlantic type of engines.

It was on the smoking department that death laid a ruthless hand, for there was not one of the sixteen occupants escaped being killed or injured. This car was completely telescoped by the steel mail car ahead, which went through at as it was paper tearing, crushing, maiming and carrying death. The only wonder is that the occupants were not all killed outright.

The scene of the wreck is on a sharp curve. On one side forth feet below, flows the Shenango river, on the other is a steep curve and before it had gone two car lengths plowed into the steep hill where it fell on its side and was half buried.

The train was running about two hours late and the accident happened at 7:10 a.m., just about the time when the occupants of the sleeper had finished dressing.


After the terrible crash the uninjured passengers set about the rescue of the dead and wounded, surgeons were summoned and dying were being cared for as fast as they could be discovered beneath the wreckage. It was several hours before the victims had been removed and placed in the two rear Pullmans.

The scenes inside the telescoped cars were terrible. The men begged to be released and screamed in agony. They were all heaped in a corner of the car, dumped there by the irresistible impetus of the mail car. The injured were placed on a special train and taken to the Spencer hospital, Meadville, about noon.

Very little was left of the baggage or express matter in the cars and most of it was dumped in the river in order to clear the debris for rescue.

The train was in charge of Conductor SIM RANDEL, with Fireman GEORGE ECKERT. Both the engineer and fireman escaped but jumping, though both were badly bruised. Superintendent BELKNAP and other officers were early on the ground. They were unable to assign a cause for the acident(sic) unless spreading rails can be blamed.

A party of soldiers, nine in number, on their way to Fort Porter, N.Y. to Fort Crook, Neb., in charge of SERGEANT MAJO(SIC) HARRY A. HART of New York, occupied a part of the smoker. Of the number three were killed and two seriously injured. They were under orders for the Philippines and would have sailed in a short time.

The track was blocked for twelve hours the work of clearing the wreck, progressing slowly, and it is believed other bodies are still beneath the debris.

Morning World-Herald, Omaha, NE 8 Feb 1901