Mt Union, PA Train Wreck, Feb 1917

Train wreckage Starting to remove the wreckage


Bad Air Brake, Mistaken Signals and Fog Caused Mt. Union, Pa., Disaster.


Missed Signals in the Heavy Fog -- Ten Members of One Family on Way to Funeral of Relative Were Among Those Killed

Altoona, Penna., -- Three separate investigations are in progress here in an effort to determine responsibility for the wrecking of the Mercantile Express, with a toll of twenty-one lives, at Mount Union. Officials of the Pennsylvania Railroad, headed by George W. Creighton, general superintendent, were early on the scene, and later in the day representatives of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission arrived.

The railroad company, after hearing the testimony of S. K. Jacobs, flagman on the ill-fated passenger train, and H. B. Thomas, fireman of the freight that crashed into it, is inclined to place the blame for the accident on the engineer of the freight, A. T. Cook, of Harrisburg. Mistake in signals, airbrake trouble and fog are also held by the company to be factors.

All of the dead were occupants of the sleeping car Bellwood and included nine members of the family of CHESTER A MINDS, a coal operator of Ramey, Pa., and a former football star of the University of Pennsylvania. A revised list of the dead as announced by the company follows:
CHESTER A MINDS, Ramey, Pa., coal operator; MRS. CHESTER A MINDS; OWEN MAUDE MINDS, aged 35, Ramey; RICHARD OWENS, 6, nephew of the MINDS, Ramey; DOTTIE OWENS, 6, niece of the MINDS, Ramey; JEAN OWENS, 4, niece of the MINDS, Ramey; M. A. CALFISCH, 20 brother of MRS. MINDS, Conifer, N.Y.; MRS. A SEGUR DELLING, sister of MRS. MINDS, Cleveland, Ohio; FRANK LANDRY, 28, Brooklyn, N.Y.; F. S. WAGNER, Pittsburgh; MILTON HYMES, New York; CHARLES LEVINE, New York; PHILIP B. POLLAND, salesman, New York; C. MEDSKER, New York; PAUL R. FANNING, Plattsville, Wis.; MRS. PAUL R. FANNING, Plattsville, Wis.; F. W. MONTGOMERY, salesman, Bloomington, Ill.; H. A. ROEFLER, Plattsville, Wis.; NATHAN BRIGHT, porter, Car Bellwood, New York.
Most of the bodies were badly mangled and considerable difficulty was experienced in establishing their identity. One of the most pathetic scenes in the work of identification occurred when JAMES MINDS viewed the body of his son and one after another identified those of the other members of the family. They had visited his home the previous day and were travelling[sic] to Utica to attend the funeral of MRS. MINDS'S father. MRS. DELLING was a bride of only a short time.

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1917 train wreck in Mount Union, PA

My family members were the Minds of Ramey killed in this accident. My mother remembers her grandmother (sister of Chester & Maude) saying the day of the funeral being one of the saddest days she could remember, due to all the hearses present in the driveway at the family's homestead in Beulah (near Ramey). Could you please tell me where to find more information and copies of the photos? I'd much appreciate it.This was something that was not talked about and I'd like to find out more. Thank-you..