Staunton, VA Train Wreck, Apr 1890

A Young Singer Killed.

“The Pearl of Pekin” Company In A Railroad Wreck.

Staunton, Va., April 28.-This morning about 3 o’clock a railroad wreck occurred at the Staunton (Chesapeake and Ohio) Station. The vestibule train, due here from the west at 1 o’clock was two hours late. About 3 o’clock it came whirling on at a speed of seventy miles an hour, the engine having the appearance of a sheet of fire.

A number of persons were on the station platform, and had barely time to escape. As the train reached the passenger station the rear sleeper careened, striking the platform covering, tearing away the iron posts, and demolishing the whole platform structure. It struck eastern baggage house fifty rods from the station, a new brick building, crushing in its front and wrecking the building. The rear sleeper then jumped the track and turned over on its side a few feet from the track, shattering the car into numberless pieces.

There were a number of passengers in the sleeper, among them the “Pearl of Pekin” troupe, on their way from Cincinnati to Baltimore, unconscious of impending danger. The city fire alarm was sounded, the fire companies responded instantly, and went to work at the wreck, assisted by many citizens, to rescue the passengers from their imprisonment. One person was killed-MISS MYRTLE KNOX of Kansas City, one of the opera troupe. She was fearfully mangled. One leg was cut off below the knee, her left arm was broken and her right shoulder dislocated. A piece of wood was buried in her thigh, cutting an artery and causing death from bleeding in a few moments, and before surgical aid could be summoned.

The known to have been injured are:
W.J. KIRKPATRICK, of New York, wound of the leg and head; it is thought he will recover.
L.M. SLOMAN, of Cincinnati, slightly injured.
EDITH MILLER, of New York, leg broken.
MRS. EDWARD WEBB, leg bruised.
EDWARD STEVENS, shoulder sprained.
MISS BERTHA FISHER, concussion of the spine and contusion of the abdomen; considered serious.
LEWIS HARRISON, scalp wound.
MISS JANE DURHAM, sprained ankle.

All of the injured belong to the “Pearl of Pekin” troupe except MR. KIRKPATRICK. There were six coaches, two of which were sleepers. No one was injured except those in the rear sleeper. The engine and other cars rushed on for a mile, when the engineer, on an up grade, got control of the engine. The accident was caused by a brake rod failing, throwing ballast among the air-brake connections, this rendering the brakes useless, and causing the engineer to lose control of his train.

The wounded were taken to the Virginia Hotel, where they are all being well cared for, and the body of MISS KNOX, was taken to an undertaker’s to be embalmed. The young lady was formerly a telegraph operator in Kansas City, and joined the company not long ago, contrary to the wishes of her father.

The New York Times, New York, NY 29 Apr 1890