Bellevue, TX Passenger Train Is Wrecked, Oct 1911




Rail Gave Way When Engine Struck It and Heavily Laden Train Goes Off Embankment.

Engineer GUS CUNNINGHAM of Fort Worth, instantly killed, Fireman W. C. YATES of Fort Worth, seriously and perhaps fatally hurt, half a dozen other seriously and thirty-five or forty more less seriously injured is the result of the dastardly work of train wreckers who last night removed the fish plate from one of the rails on the Fort Worth & Denver tracks at mile post 76, one and a half miles east of Bellevue, throwing northbound passenger train due here at 11:45 o'clock Sunday night, off the track, and down a ten foot embankment.
That scores were not killed or fearfully maimed was not the fault of the train wrecker, but as those who viewed the scene must have though,was the merciful interposition to Providence.
The wreck happened at about 11 o'clock. The train which was heavily loaded with excursionists was moving at a rate of about twenty-five miles, when the engine struck the joint from which the fish plate had been removed. The rail spread out and the engine shot off down the embankment pulling the tender and baggage car after it. The big locomotive fell on its side, striking the ground at the bottom of the embankment with a terrific impact.
Fireman YATES was thrown from the cab, he believes by the escaping steam, and landed about twenty feet from the engine with a broken arm, severe scalds and serious bruises, which may prove fatal.
Engineer GUS CUNNINGHAM, a veteran with twenty years service for the Denver, who a few years ago lost a leg in a wreck at Rhome, was less fortunate and was caught in his cab and crushed to death.
The tender was left leaning upon one end about twenty feet from the engine.
The baggage car evidently held at the front by the tender and forced from behind by the impact of the other coaches broke in the middle and stood almost straight up with both ends resting on the ground. How the baggage man escaped is a mystery, but he is reported not to have been seriously hurt.
The smoker and two day coaches following were on the side of the embankment falling on their sides at the bottom. In these two coaches, containing smoking compartment and the compartments for negroes were most of those hurt. The passengers were thrown from their seats by a succession of shocks and some of them rolled about the coaches as they slid down the embankment, finally resting on their sides. The passengers in these coaches were compelled to escape through the windows on the upper side.
The tampered rail was a little more than a car length west of a culvert over a small ravine and the last two coaches, a day coach and a sleeper, stayed on the tracks and none of the passengers in these two coaches were seriously hurt. The sleeper was left standing directly over the culvert. The front trucks of the day coach ahead of it were raised off of the track.
The dazed passengers some of whom were rendered unconscious by the shock of the coaches as best they could or were dragged out. After this a search was made for Engineer CUNNINGHAM and his body was dug from beneath his engine fifteen minutes later.
When the track was examined it was found that the fish plates had been removed from one of the rails. The plates were found stacked between the rails and the bolts lay on one side and the tops on the other. The threads in the bolts were bright and clean showing they had been unscrewed and not broken off. Several spikes were also pulled from the ties on which the rail was laid, showing that the train wrecker had gone about his work in a deliberate manner.
Following the wreck a runner was sent to Bellevue for aid and relief trains with physicians aboard were dispatched from Wichita Falls and Fort Worth.
The train from Wichita Falls carrying Doctors BURNSIDE, WALKER and JONES, reached the scene about 12 o'clock and the wounds of most of the victims were dressed by the time the relief train from Fort Worth arrived.
The body of CUNNINGHAM and YATES, the injured fireman were taken to Fort Worth while the passengers and the remainder of the injured were brought here -- arriving shortly after three o'clock.
Wrecking trains were sent from Wichita Falls and Forth Worth and at 9:30 o'clock this morning the tracks were cleared and opened for traffic.
More than forty persons were injured, but it has been impossible to learn the names of those injured.
A partial list follows:
J. M. COLE, Dallas, severe cuts and bruises on head.
NANNIE MAE PERKINS, San Antonio, visiting in Wichita Falls, injured internally.
LOLA MATCHETT, Wichita Falls, hurt internally.
H. G. SHELDON, Wichita Falls, injured internally.
W. C. YATES, fireman, Forth Worth, arm broken, bruises and scalds.
W. W. CLARK, Wichita Falls, back sprained -- walked off culvert following wreck.
L. J. RENTON, Orth, Texas, bruises and sprains.
T. S. WILLIAMS, West Dallas, shoulder bruises and sprained.
J. S. RUTHERFORD, Fort Worth, slightly bruised.
J. A. O'NEILL, Dallas, bruises and sprains.
R. L. BURNS, Hope, New Mexico, bruises on head.
T. W. WHEELER, Bowie, sprains and bruises.
MARION PERITT, Abilene, bruises.
WILL KLIBE, Tolbert, slight bruises.
E. W. MACHTRES, Melrose, Texas.
MRS. A. G. SMITH, Wichita Falls.
R. L. JOHNSON, Jolly.
MRS. H. M. BUCKLEY, Tyler.
H. L. WILMERING, Wichita Falls.
MRS. H. L. WILMERING, Wichita Falls.
MR. and MRS. ED McGAUGH, Wichita Falls.
MRS. A. B. BLANKE and DAUGHTER, Wichita Falls.
M. L. LYNCH, Pittsburg.
J. R. THAYER, Dallas.
C. E. PAGE, Keokuh, Ia.
S. M. HAMILTON, Wichita Falls.
N. J. CRAIG, Abilene.
S. W. THOMPSON, Anson.
MERLE TRULY, Wichita Falls.
DELLA HOWARD (colored), Wichita Falls.
EVEREE FREEMAN, Wichita Falls.
ROBERT DAVIS (colored), Wichita Falls.
JAMES WRIGHT, Madill, Okla.
T. H. WHALES, Bowie.
P. L. JOHNSTON, Jolly.
L. R. TAYLOR, Dallas.
WESLEY JOHNSON (colored), Wichita Falls.
BEN GAINES (colored), Wichita Falls.
Those named above whose injuries are not set forth are not believed to be seriously hurt.
A rigid investigation is to be made into the cause of the wreck by the railroad company and the authorities of Clay county and every effort will be made to trace down and punish the person or persons responsible.

Wichita Daily Times Wichita Falls Texas 1911-10-30