Hestonville, PA Train Wreck, Feb 1856

Terrible Accident on the Columbia Railroad.


The express passenger train which left Philadelphia at 11 o'clock on Monday night last, when near Hestonville, met with an accident most painful in its consequences. The Ledger says:

The train consisted of a locomotive, baggage car and two passengers cars, and was going up the grade at the rate of about fifteen miles an hour, when a rail broke into three pieces and threw the front wheel of the forward passenger car from the track; the momentum of the train caused this car to regain its position on the track, but the rear car was thrown off, and the axle breaking, it was precipited[sic] down an embankment of about twenty feet. In the descent the car struck a large tree, which split the car open and enabled the passengers to crawl out of the wreck. This was a fortunate circumstance, as the fire in the stove being scattered about by the descent of the car set the wood work on fire almost immediately, and but for the facility afforded for their escape, some of the wounded would have perished in the flames before relief could have been afforded them.

The uninjured passengers and the attachees of the road did all in their power to rescue the wounded from the wreck, and as rapidly as possible they were removed to the forward car and made as comfortable as the facilities at hand would allow. When all were rescued and the track repaired, the train returned to the city, reaching the depot about half past 3 o'clock, A.M.

There were upwards of 40 persons in the car. One of the passengers, MR. ABRAHAM B. HART, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was killed. He was found with a portion of the car on his neck and breast. When taken from that position he was insensible, and remained so until he died, about half an hour afterwards. Everything that could be done for him, under the peculiar circumstances, was done, but up to the time he died he did not appear to recognize any one, nor complain of his situation. The body was placed in ice to await instructions from his friends in Cincinnati, who were advised of the sad calamity by a telegraphic despatch[sic]. Yesterday afternoon an answer was received from the father of the deceased, who directed that the remains should be forwarded to Cincinnati as soon as possible. In accordance with these instructions the body will be sent on by Adams express this morning. The deceased was a member of the firm of WILLIAM B. HART & SON, merchants of that city, and in his possession were found the evidences of his having purchased largely of goods in this city and New York, and among other papers a ticket for a through passage from New York to Cincinnati. He was about 22 years of age, and is spoken of by Philadelphians who knew him well to be a young man of very exemplary character.

MR. CAIN was with the deceased on Monday evening until a short time before the train started, and advised him to wait for the morning train, but he was anxious to get home as soon as possible, and preferred going in the train which caused his death.

MR. THOMAS S. WATSON, merchant, of St. Louis, Mo., received a severe injury of the thigh and was bruised in different parts of the body.

MR. D. A. FINNEY, member of the State Senate from Erie district, received several bad bruises, and one of his eyes appeared to be injured. Both were much swollen, but yesterday afternoon were better.

MR. E. G. FAHNESTOCK, of Gettysburg, was cut under the right eye and down the cheek to the neck.

NICHOLAS SHEERAN, of Paoli, was slightly cut in two places on one arm and burned about the head and hands.

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