Chatham, VA Train Wreck, Dec 1906 - Two Killed & Two Injured


Broken Flange Wrecks a Freight Train--Youths Were Beating Their Way.

[Special to The American.]

Danville, Va., December 30.--Two persons were killed and two more injured in a big freight wreck on the Southern Railway this afternoon just this side of Chatham, about 20 miles north of Danville.

The killed were:

Grover Franklin, of Danville
Archie Wyatt, of Danville
The injured were:

Phil White, of Danville
Stansberry Mays, of Brutus, Pittsylvania county.
Both of the killed and the injured were evidently beating their way on the train. There are all young white boys.

The two dead boys left the city several days ago on a hobo trip. Franklin was the son of D. P. Franklin, a well-known tobacconist of Danville, while Wyatt was the son of W. H. Wyatt, a local clothier. Mays was brought to the general hospital here to be operated on for an injury on the skull. White's injuries are not regarded as being serious.

The wrecked train was a through freight running from Monroe to Spencer. It was in charge of Conductor R. L. Miller, and Engineer C. H. Chandler, both of Spencer. The train was running at a rate of speed of about 25 miles an hour, and consisted of about 30 cars. Upon reaching the switch south of Chatham, several of the cars in the middle of the train jumped the track. In all eight cars were either derailed or wrecked and were piled up alongside the track in one congested heap.

The cars were loaded with iron, cement, and oil. The cause of the accident is attributed to the breaking of a flange on the wheels of one of the cars. A broken flange is a hidden defect, the railway officials say, and there can be no safe-guards against wrecks when one occurs.

Wrecking crews from Monroe and Danville hastened to the scene. The track was torn up for a considerable distance and the large iron rails were broken into may pieces.

The accident occurred at a sharp curve at about 4 o'clock, the time when a large number of passenger trains were en route South. No. 35 was made up at Danville.

Baltimore American, Baltimore, MD 31 Dec 1906